Advice and Insights From A Practitioner

The Importance of Strategy in Tumultuous Times

The economic upheaval over the past several years has caused a few of the more successful companies from the past to lose momentum making them vulnerable to the competition.  This is particularly true in the financial services sector where several of the large, “too big to fail” companies and TARP fund recipients have been over reacting in the short term by retrenching, selling off assets and in many ways stumbling forward without a very cohesive long term strategy. Smart companies recognize the old Chinese adage “where there is crisis there is opportunity” and are investing (instead of retrenching) in the pursuit of an improved strategic advantage and a unique value proposition. They are also very mindful of the impact that their short term decisions will have on the company over the long term.

Last October I came across an excellent article called “Sound Long-Term Strategy is Key, Particularly in a Crisis: Harvard’s Michael Porter” (who is my hero on the topic of competitive strategy).

There are a few excerpts from the article that I found profound:

“It’s times like these when tremendous success can be achieved. It’s times like these where companies can shift positions in the marketplace. It’s time like these when leaders can become followers, and followers can become leaders, because we are in a period where everything ins now going to open and unfreeze.”

He further states that, “In an economic downturn, you have to be clearer about your strategy than in normal times.”

He emphasizes that in these trying times companies have more flexibility in making unprecedented moves and investments that they otherwise would not be able to make because they aren’t under as much scrutiny as they are in normal times.

Bringing Clarity to your Organization’s Strategy

As a student and practitioner of competitive strategy, I have developed a proven approach to developing a Strategic Marketing Plan and would be happy to share an outline of my recommendations with you if you email me at bill@strategicmarketingplus.com or visit my web site Strategic Marketing Plus.  I’d be glad to share with you so you can redefine and clarify your company (or divisional) strategy. And finally, one of my favorite business quotes:

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” — Peter Drucker

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Categorised in: Change leadership, Strategic Plan, Strategic Risks, Strategy

7 Responses »

  1. Bill,

    Great job! From the creative prospective of Strategy I utilize these very basic “Top 10” elements to start the process of a producing a product that will deliver the best possible results.

    1. Visually Engaging
    2. Creates Interaction
    3. Provides Personalization
    4. Quick Register of Offer
    5. Cause for Action
    6. Provides Tracking Mechanism
    7. Communicated the Product/Service Story
    8. Adheres to Product/Service Branding
    9. Will work well for HTML conversion
    10. Achieves response rate goal

    Once we have determined that our creative delivers on these strategic items we then must focus on the remaining factors that can impact results. Data, List Management, Mailing/Delivery Dates, and “Truly qualify the Offer”.

    Keep up the campaign, it is truly needed in today very challenging Direct Marketing times.

    TM

  2. Bill,

    Great job! From the creative prospective of Strategy I utilize these very basic “Top 10” elements to start the process of a producing a product that will deliver the best possible results.

    1. Visually Engaging
    2. Creates Interaction
    3. Provides Personalization
    4. Quick Register of Offer
    5. Cause for Action
    6. Provides Tracking Mechanism
    7. Communicated the Product/Service Story
    8. Adheres to Product/Service Branding
    9. Will work well for HTML conversion
    10. Achieves response rate goal

    Once we have determined that our creative delivers on these strategic elements we then must focus on the remaining factors that can impact results. Data, List Management, Mailing/Delivery Dates, and “Truly qualify the Offer”.

    Keep up the campaign, it is truly needed in today very challenging Direct Marketing times.

    TM

  3. Nicely done Bill. Thanks for including me.
    Best,
    Ethan

  4. So often, marketing gets caught up in just keeping a process “going”, multi-tasking with several endeavors at the same time, and thus, mired in the details without keeping an eye on the big picture, strategy.

    With every effort, I remind my clients to stop and look at the big picture. How does this campaign fit within the overall strategy. In fact, my thoughts are summarized in this quote that I love.

    “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
    Sun Tzu

    Stephanie

  5. Bill, this is excellent stuff–and it translates well to sales. Your most recent blog, with just a few tweaks, is an ideal roadmap for building out a corporate benefits “business” plan which, more and more, I believe, will be key to consultative selling and long-term business retention.

    Hope all is well with you.

  6. Thank you for including me Bill. Very good, smart read. Having spent much of the last 10 years on the client side after spending the previous 12 on the agency/service bureau side, I can only add that a common “fatal flaw” from the client side is a lack of willingness to put the necessary time, effort, energy into strategic planning with ALL of the right people within the organization. Usually its’ only a few people with the “big titles” going thru a “hurry up to get to tactical execution” exercise. Additionally, another “fatal flaw” occurs when all of the “big titles” think that they know everything — and aren’t open to actively seeking “outside in” perspectives on their organization. Unfortunately, too much “inside only” approach results in just throwing pencils up at the ceiling in hopes of something sticking.

    Keep me on your distribution list.

    Regards,

    -Brad

  7. Bill,
    Very informative and well presented. Well done!
    Ken

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