The importance of good planning and execution seems obvious. A good strategy that is well customer-centric and executed has the ability to positively impact a market, competitive position, or business model.  Developing and implementing growth plans and strategies designed to increase revenues for the business often fall within Marketing’s domain. It is Marketing’s job to identify, quantify, and drive new products, new market opportunities, and new process initiatives as well as direct aspects of the organization’s marketing policies, objectives, strategies, and tactics.

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A solid growth plan is grounded in your company’s strategic plan. Strategic planning needs to be a core part of your growth development process. Strategic planning revolves around allocating the resources of money, time, people, and capital to engineer a more profitable business. The process analyzes an organization’s core capabilities and weaknesses, the market size, market share potential, and competitive factors.

A strategic plan generally addresses a one-year or multi-year time horizon. It details everything from product launches and infrastructure investments to brand position and pricing schemes, all aimed at outmaneuvering competitors. A good strategic plan never takes its eyes off the prize of building long-term customer value. Good strategies are customer-centric. At the same time, it must be capable of undergoing continuous refinement to drive real impact quickly.

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Employ 3 Steps for Strategic Planning

Employ a 3-Phase Process for Customer-Centric Strategic Planning

  1. Gain customer and market insight. This phase requires gathering key information about the needs and values of customers and the market, especially the high-value groups. Questions often addressed in this phase include: How much are different customer groups and market segments worth and what are their potential values; which customers/markets drive your business today; which customers/markets offer the highest potential return for driving your business tomorrow; and what are their most important needs? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then conduct the necessary research to gain the answers. Data, processes and metrics are needed to ensure your strategy achieves the desired results.
  2. Identify Strategic Opportunities. This phase involves analyzing the market, competition, and trends. The kinds of questions typically addressed in this phase include: How large is the market? Are there enough of these customers out there to justify investment? Are their numbers growing or declining? What channels do they use? How likely are their needs to change in the future? How well is the competition meeting these needs? Consider incorporating scenario analysis into your process.
  3. Develop the Plan’s Strategic Initiatives. In this phase, identify and selects initiatives that will enable your organization to achieve its objectives. Initiatives can include product launches, operational maneuvers, marketing campaigns, pricing changes, and so forth. They are determined according to a number of criteria: What are your core capabilities? How do they stack up against the needs of the valuable customers you are trying to acquire? What can financial models around each initiative tell us about the likelihood of success?

Better to have a good strategy and no written plan than a written plan built on a bad strategy. Failure is expensive and wastes precious resources.  Whatever role you play in whatever size organization, success hinges on using market and customer insights to leverage market opportunities and make strategic decisions.  Most companies find using an outside resource to facilitate the strategic planning process extremely helpful, especially if the outside resource can help with the research phase. Also check out our workshops to leverage proven processes.

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