Strategy is fundamental to the success and sustainability of all organizations; It is about seizing opportunities and knowing which not to pursue, all while mitigating risk, develop a Marketing strategy that stands the best chance of delivering on your current and FUTURE performance, productivity, and profit targets.
A good strategy is designed to drive long-term growth and profit. Creating a strategy requires understanding your company, industry, customers, and competition. Members of the C-Suite recognize the value of developing and executing on a strategy and market performance.
The business environment is fluid with technological, social, and political change occurring with increased frequency. Successful businesses realize that achieving growth while adapting to the rate of change and staying in tune with the market requires staying strategically nimble. There is no mistaking the growth mandate facing the C-Suite. The CMO Council and Deloitte study found that 70% of CEOs expect CMOs to lead this effort. Yet according the study, just 1 in 6 of the 200 participating CMOs reported spending a lot of their time teaming with leadership executives on global business and strategy. As a Marketing leader, if you’re not participating in the conversation about strategy, you’re not filling the requirements of your role.
Strategy: The Most Important Choice Your Business Will Ever Make
Entrepreneurial resource Gaebler suggests good business strategy should inspire company expansion and enable you to explore business opportunities outside of your standard business practice. Customer insights, competitive intelligence, market research, and a clear understanding of your ecosystem, are all important considerations in strategy development. Armed with insights from your research, experience and expertise in the market and with your customers, you can explore new ideas for your company that enable you to find, keep, and grow the value of your customers and maintain or increase your competitive advantage.
Your strategy is the backdrop against which you determine which opportunities to pursue – or just as importantly, which not to pursue; which operations to develop or streamline; and what skills your organization needs. Organizations develop strategies designed to protect and/or gain market share and to identify the opportunities that will yield the greatest return. Formulation of your strategy requires you to be acutely aware of, and prepared for, changing customer needs and potential shifts in your market.
For most organizations, resources are finite. Your strategy dictates what resources, offers/services, operations, and capabilities are needed. When well-formulated, your strategy is an engine for increased productivity. Without clarity of strategy, your team is at risk of aimlessly moving from one activity to another.
How to Bring Your Strategy to Life
A common output of your strategy is a strategic plan. Typically, a strategic plan outlines how the strategy will be achieved and specifies how desired results are expected to be achieved. These are often referred to as the strategic initiatives. The strategic initiatives are the basis for your organizations business outcomes.
The plan clarifies the vision and increases the alignment across the organization. It serves as the reference point for decision making and the foundation for each of your functions’ outcome-based measurable plan. It is our belief that a strategic plan is one of the most valuable efforts and assets for every organization. Your strategic plan focuses on your future. It is about what you will proactively do to create, deploy and measure your success.
The Roadmap to the Best Strategic Plan
In the mid-1990’s, Arthur Andersen conducted a survey which found that companies with a written strategic plan had 63% higher revenue growth and 100% more profit than those companies without a plan. A more current study by The Alternative Board (TAB) reported that three-quarters of the businesses surveyed believe that a written strategic plan causes their business to perform at a higher level. Ready to start planning? Check out our two-day interactive session Planning for Profitability workshop to develop your strategic plan.
Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc., a recognized leader in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics to facilitate marketing accountability. Laura’s newest book, Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom: www.racombooks.com ), is a useful primer for improving marketing measurement and performance. Visit: www.visionedgemarketing.com
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