Three Must-Dos of Strategic Planning

strategy diagramAs a business grows in size and complexity, the executive management comes to understand that to continue the growth curve they need to make certain that the company’s strategic market planning is operating at its optimum effectiveness and efficiency, particularly given today’s difficult business climate.

The question becomes, How you can be certain that your strategic plan will produce the outstanding results you need in this environment? Based upon our field research and customer interviews performed with both for-profit and non-profit organizations, you need to focus your efforts on “three must-dos” that will drive your organization to its next level.

Know your clients’ needs. In today’s tough economy, knowing exactly what a client needs is the number one essential best practice you can employ. This means that you understand your clients’ needs as well as or better than they do so you can offer them real-world, practical advice on how to solve their toughest challenges.

Here’s an example in action: Your company meets monthly to identify the top trends in a client’s market so you can offer specific recommendations on how that client can implement solutions that will solve the identified challenges.

Know your competition well. When the economy gets tight, outbound sales representations are multiplied. This means there are more people and companies competing for a finite number of projects. So instead of simply plowing ahead with what makes sense to you, how about examining what your competition is saying and doing in your marketplace to determine the optimum positioning and strategic messaging possible?

Example:
A digital printing house found more commercial printers offering digital printing in its geography, so the company needed to amplify its marketing efforts through the use of open houses, digital print webinars, and offering digital marketing services to stay ahead of the traditional printers in its area.

Know your core strengths.
Companies in a panic often stretch their services offerings to keep current with the competition. This is rarely a good idea as it pushes the company out of its knowledge zone. It’s almost always preferable to find new services that augment your current offerings that could be added without having to retrain your staff to provide them.

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Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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