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Strategic Planning…the process to determine a company or brand’s large-scale objectives (particularly about target customers, product benefits, and sales/profit goals) that lead to the articulation of your business strategy

Every year, thousands and thousands of professional marketers and business leaders struggle to put together a comprehensive strategic plan for their brand or business that will effectively guide their tactical programs and grow sales.

For some it’s hard to pull back up from the tactics to see the strategic landscape they need to tackle while others struggle to distinguish strategies from high level tactics. There’s another group who just can’t be certain that the strategies they’ve laid out will drive the sales growth they need to achieve. Regardless of where they find themselves, the fact remains that strategic planning is often a very arduous and unfulfilling exercise.

Whichever situation you may find yourself in, the fact remains that a strong strategic plan is critical to determining which tactics to move forward and which to leave behind. The strategies you define will help you determine the steps you must lead targets through to turn them into buyers and, ultimately, long-term customers.

You’re not alone.

If you’re struggling to get the results you want, you may be questioning whether your strategic plan is right. While there are many reasons a clear strategic plan doesn’t translate into the sustained long-term growth you’re reaching for, one reason shows up as the culprit more often than any other … ineffective positioning strategy – a positioning strategy that lacks the specificity, clarity, and relevance necessary to attract and hold customers better than your competitors do. So, when you are looking to refine your strategic plan it makes sense to start by examining your positioning strategy first.

To use an analogy, positioning strategy is similar to determining where you will go on vacation. Without defining your destination, it is impossible to determine how you’re going to get there and what to pack in your bag. For instance, if you decide on a warm island vacation what you pack in your bag and the details of how you’ll get there will be significantly different than if you decide on a ski vacation.

Neither destination is right or wrong but, instead, a matter of determining which gets you the result you desire. Defining a positioning strategy also has many options with no absolute right or wrong, but is instead a destination that achieves the goal you desire.

To come back to our discussion of strategic planning, in our analogy the plan you develop is the determination of how you will get from where you are today (the status of your brand in the competitive market) to your vacation destination (the goal you require of your brand). In short, a strategic plan lays out the directional steps necessary to get from home to vacation (i.e.; transportation to the airport, a flight to the island, beach front hotel, etc.).

When you consider the analogy, you can clearly see how defining the destination is critically important to identifying the steps necessary to get you there. Without a clear destination a random set of steps are equally likely to take you to the wrong place as they are the right place. And so it is with strategic planning. If you have not set a clear, relevantly-differentiating, and competitive positioning, the chances your strategic plan will fail to get you where you want to be are exceedingly high.

Creating and implementing a positioning strategy that connects your business or brand to a targeted set of customers better than your competitors, not only acts as the tangible foundation of your strategic plan but is also the lens that focuses all of your promotional effort and dollars into an efficient business growth machine.

But developing an effective positioning strategy, one that creates the right balance of relevance and differentiation, takes some effort and experience. It often takes someone pushing you to think about your business and your customers in a different way; in ways that you may be too close to see.

We have worked with major corporations and brands around the world to do one thing … create positioning strategy that grows their business. And, since 2000 we have done exactly that for hundreds of clients in dozens of industries and categories.

If you want to know more about our approach, CLICK HERE

If you want to see some of the clients we’ve worked with, CLICK HERE

If you would like to talk a bit more about your business to see if we’d be a good fit for each other, CLICK HERE, and drop us an email so we can get in touch with you.