Archive for the ‘Strategic Planning’ Category

Looking Ahead to a Successful New Year!

Monday, December 28th, 2015

With the new year approaching, the thoughts of many turn to New Year’s resolutions. It’s an annual tradition of setting goals for the coming year that dates back millennia, according to Oklahoma State University’s “Newsline.” However, while a 2013 article from Forbes estimates that roughly forty percent of American’s make a New Year’s resolution, only eight percent end up keeping that resolution! We think we can beat that number. (more…)

Marketing Planning: An Ongoing Process

Friday, September 4th, 2015

In an industry like marketing that’s driven by having its finger on the pulse of cultural trends and attitudes, a major fear is becoming stale, outdated or thought of as “yesterday’s news.” At the same time, there’s a very real danger in being too quick to move away from the tried and true, especially in established businesses and industries. So, with the obvious need to strike some sort of balance, the clear question becomes, “How often should I update my marketing plan?” (more…)

Don’t Create Strategies or Tactics Without These Critical Insights

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

by Linda Pophal


So, you’re in the market for a strategic marketing professional. You’ve screened hundreds of applicants, and it’s down to the handful you’ve picked to invite in for interviews. But this is an inherently creative position, and cookie-cutter interview questions about an applicant’s past experience or about their evaluation of their own qualifications might not give you enough insight to pick the right man or woman for the job. (more…)

The “Big Rocks” of Effective Strategic Plan Implementation

Thursday, August 6th, 2015
Strategic planning is one of those activities that is often looked upon with either fear or disdain. Why? Because all too often business professionals who have been engaged in what can be a very long and arduous process are disheartened when the plan never really seems to reach fruition. It becomes a document based on an exercise that can take an inordinate amount of time (but doesn’t have to…).
In our experience working with a number of different organizations on strategic planning efforts, and conducting research on strategic planning when writing “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning,” there are a number of reasons that even the most carefully created plans fail to be implemented as planned, let alone serve to achieve the desired results.


How Do You Monitor Your Business Performance?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

by Linda Pophal

One of the most important elements of successfully implementing a strategic plan of any size (whether a business plan, an annual company plan, a marketing plan, etc.) is establishing benchmarks or objectives that are specific and quantifiable and that will be tracked throughout the planning period. The use of dashboards is a great way to visually—and simply—convey information on how the organization is doing. (more…)

Community Outreach Best Practices

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Supporting the local community can be expensive. Even large organizations have to be careful about how and where they lend their time – and money. Is there value – beyond personal satisfaction – in supporting local events and activities? Which ones? How can you say “no” graciously to the many requests that come your way? (more…)

What’s in a SWOT? Exploring an Important Input to the Strategic Planning Process

Monday, February 9th, 2015

A SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – is a critical element of a strategic plan, if done correctly. Far from being a “silly exercise” (and I’ll admit in the early days of my career I sometimes felt that it was…) the SWOT is an important input that leads to the development of strategies. It can be a determinant of whether or not you will be able to successfully achieve your goals and objectives. But, it has to be done correctly to deliver that value. (more…)

From Brand Awareness to Purchase: The Consumer Purchase Funnel Process

Friday, December 26th, 2014

How many times throughout the week do you see a company logo slapped onto a billboard, incorporated into the name of a sporting event, or even plastered on the back of a boxer? These are classic examples of brand awareness strategy. With brand awareness, companies are simply making the consumer aware that they exist—that’s about it.

While brand awareness is generally of little use on its own, it’s an important first step in a process known in marketing as the purchase funnel. (more…)

5 Competitive Forces That Should Be Shaping Your Strategy

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Every MBA student or undergraduate in an introductory business strategy course has encountered Porter’s Five Forces. The concept, outlined by Harvard economist and professor Michael E. Porter in 1979, has been a foundation of business strategy in both academia and the business world for decades.

Professor Porter revisited the topic in a recent article in Harvard Business Review, appropriately titled “The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy.”

For those unfamiliar with the five forces, they are: (more…)

Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? You May Be Surprised!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

I worked in a healthcare organization for about 10 years from 1996-2007. Back at that time the transition between referring to patients as “customers” was just emerging and it was fairly controversial. Marketing and administration favored the approach and logically it seemed to make some sense. But I can recall the debates, conflicts and consternation from clinical staff — physicians and nurses — about the use of this terminology.

At the time, I was firmly on the side of using the term “customer.” After all, I had come from the marketing world with a background in the investor-owned utility industry and a private educational firm, in addition to experience growing up in a family-owned business, so the concept of “customer” was one I firmly identified with.

In hindsight, though, (more…)