There are two main reasons why businesses should take the time to develop their strategic plans. The first one is in the preparing of the strategic plan will force you to make hard decisions and the second reason is to question these decisions, in other words, to break bad habits.
Instead, most have the idea that a strategy emerges as events unfold or declare the future to be unpredictable and thus, doesn’t make strategic choices until the future becomes sufficiently clear. And, as we’ve seen in the last ten years, no one can make a safe bet on the future.
Worse, strategic planning is nearly impossible because it is not part of the marketing communications team. Instead, it is with the market research or product development group with a dotted line to the VP of Marketing. Thus decisions that require cutting off possibilities and options can be unnecessarily complicated, biased and time-consuming.
For this post, we bring you our top offenders as to why companies don’t have a strategic plan.
Budget Planning Based On Last’s Year Plan
Probably the biggest offender is using the same old system of adding a percentage to last year’s budget and calling this the strategic plan for the upcoming year. However, this approach is personal, rather than an analytical approach; it’s like buying more clothes for the ‘favourite child’ or which department yells the loudest gets the funding, rather than funding tactics that need to develop the most and why.
Strategic Planning As A Fixed Plan
A strategic plan is organic and needs to be continually updated. So why do it, you ask?
You need to see the Strategic Planning a guiding tool and one that helps to make the daunting decisions easier. Most importantly, strategic planning is based on revenues and not costs – this puts the customer at the centre of all planning. Which brings me to the most important point, disruptors.
Hiring Planning Based On Who You Know
When will we see companies hiring Disruptors? Most seem to believe the manager’s role is to defuse conflict and think that an agreeing team is a winning company.
I’m not saying that conflict is good for a company, especially when egos are the primary source of the problem. However, as a marketing leader for a small business or a large enterprise, your role is to question assumptions, scout for disagreements and ask why.
Strategic Planning needs Disruptors and people who question the status-quo. Most of the time we see a marketing team that loves jargon, acronyms, and works towards keeping their bosses happy. When you meet someone who says, “As long as my boss is happy, that’s all that matters” there’s probably no strategic plan in place.
Presentation Planning Includes The Word Strategy
Have you been in a meeting where everyone adds the word “strategy” and “plan” together, for example, sales strategy plan, social media strategy plan, public relations strategy plan? Then this is followed by a list of to-dos. A Strategic Plan is not a template.
Marketing Campaign Planning That Replaces Strategic Planning
Oh, how marketers love their campaigns. Marketing, public relations, brand development campaigns will be the first thing we ask each other – “What campaigns have you created lately”?
Here’s the thing, campaign planning is popular with large enterprises who need to meet their quarterly financial numbers. Thus these companies are more interested in reaching short-term goals than in the long-term goals, which are strategy focused.
I’m going to close this post with one last tip. Start simple. You don’t have to have a five-year plan, rather build on it. Remember, a strategic plan is not perfection but a working tool.