Gap analysis is a very useful tool for helping marketing managers to decide upon marketing strategies and tactics. Again, the simple tools are the most effective. There's a straightforward structure to follow. The first step is to decide upon how you are going to judge the gap over time. For example, by market share, by profit, by sales and so on.
This will help you to write SMART objectives. Then you simply ask two questions - where are we now? and where do we want to be? The difference between the two is the GAP - this is how you are going to get there. Take a look at the diagram below. The lower line is where you'll be if you do nothing. The upper line is where you want to be.
What is Gap Analysis?
Your next step is to close the gap. Firstly decide whether you view from a strategic or an operational/tactical perspective. If you are writing strategy, you will go on to write tactics - see the lesson on marketing plans. The diagram below uses Ansoff's matrix to bridge the gap using strategies:
Strategic Gap Analysis
You can close the gap by using tactical approaches. The marketing mix is ideal for this. So effectively, you modify the mix so that you get to where you want to be. That is to say you change price, or promotion to move from where you are today (or in fact any or all of the elements of the marketing mix).
Tactical Gap Analysis
This is how you close the gap by deciding upon strategies and tactics - and that's gap analysis.