Do you really have a strategy?
We’ve taken a look at the strategy statements from press releases of actual companies that include:
“We’re adopting a customer first strategy.”
“Our new strategy is taking a different approach to cloud services.”
“Our strategy is to focus where we have differentiation.”
“We’re following a global strategy.”
These statements of intent are just that – sadly, not strategies.
So why is that, surely there’s nothing wrong with customers first, or global? As statements, no, there isn’t anything wrong with them, however, a strategy has a number of component parts.
When setting out your strategy (this is the difficult bit) it pays to be as specific as you can. This way, other key roles in your organisation can follow the strategy and prioritise accordingly.
If we go back to the origin of the word strategy, derived from the Greek word Strategos and originally associated with military operations we are reminded that to have a strategy is to have an action plan.
The key parts to a sound strategy are:
What will do you?
First, set a very clear objective – we check this against a SMART model – so make sure it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and has a time frame.
Where will you do it?
Be as specific as possible, if it’s a single region, what is the size of your audience? Are there tiers of audience and will each tier require different messages, materials etc?
How will you do it?
Be really clear about your product or service, the level of delivery and the customer experience. Will each audience require a direct or in-direct sales model? Do you need to educate first and consider greater PR with more on-line activity at a later date? What’s the mix of communication? It won’t all be evenly split.
Differentiate. How will you stand out from others doing the same thing?
A value proposition is essential. In a competitive world, winning is a direct result of knowing and expressing your differentiators. This competitive edge isn’t the “natural” output of anything. Differentiators are conscious choices executives have to make that will give your team the tools they need to out perform your competition.
Activities. Who, how and when will you execute actions to get results?
This is your project plan to success. Sequence your activities and make sure everyone involved knows who is doing what and when – then you’ll develop a well-tuned orchestra that will deliver for you.
Results. What return on investment are you looking to achieve?
The most successful strategies have a very clear view on the need for profit creation. This may result in having to review your product or service to ensure that it stands up to the demands of the results.
None of these steps is in isolation of each other; they are mutually interdependent and become the essential cogs in your marketing engine.
How does your strategy stand up?