Strategic Planning Doesn't Have to Be Painful
November 16, 2016 Scott Patten Strategy
As a professional who has chosen marketing strategy as a career discipline, I must admit that I still have a tendency to cringe at the word “strategic” as much as anyone. The word “strategy” is so often misused to represent everything from tactics to a dressed up budget to lofty, but impractical corporate vision statements. Add “strategic planning” to the mix and you will literally have an endless number of descriptors for what exactly the term means. This is one of the reasons that “plan” can end up feeling like a four letter word when those annual planning meetings start to pop up on your calendar. But trust me, it doesn’t have to be that way. Planning doesn’t have to be painful.
What exactly is a “strategic plan?”
I’ve seen numbered lists labeled “strategic plan” hanging on poster boards in the hallways of corporate offices. I’ve received Excel spreadsheets with a budget and a few half-sentence notes in my inbox displaying the same title. I’ve seen (and have been begrudgingly involved in the creation of) 100+ page strategic planning documents that are created over weeks, delivered, then never referenced again. Part of the hesitation around planning is that we seem to all have a different definition of a plan.
For our team at LaneTerralever, a plan is a high-level guide for our decision making throughout the course of a campaign. Yes, this includes a budget, timelines and tactics. However, the purpose of a plan is to guide our activities and decisions throughout the year. Not to document every possible outcome. The key to proper planning is to deliver an integrated, understandable plan that includes just enough information and no more. Prior to even compiling a plan for a client, the LaneTerralever team roadmaps what that plan is composed of. This allows the client to see, first-hand, the marketing plan's framework and what the strategic planning team will be diving into.
What are the right elements of a marketing plan?
Without a clear framework for creating a strategic marketing plan, you may end up with a budget document, a set of tactics, or a creative theme delivered as the plan for the year, the campaign or the product launch. For us, a marketing plan is a collection of the following elements, delivered in the simplest possible format that achieves a clear, common understanding between all stakeholders:
And you’re done. Planning doesn’t have to be nearly as hard or painful as many organizations make it. Our strategic planning team at LaneTerralever simplifies this process, ensuring that it is done in a timely and efficient manner that will deliver just the right depth of plan to align all parties and reach your goals. If you are interested in talking to us about your next marketing plan, drop us a line here.