As we close in on the end of 2015, I wanted to speak to my fellow entrepreneurs who are putting the final touches on their 2016 strategic plan. The success of your company in 2016 has less to do with what your strategies are for increasing sales, expanding product offerings, or market expansion. It’s about delivering exceptional value to your customers!
I know that may seem obvious, but if I were to look at your strategies would I get the feeling your company is more important than the customers? Will I see more about lead acquisition, sales goals, closing techniques, and competitor analysis than building a culture that is customer-centric and market driven?
Craven wrote in his book Strategic Marketing 9th Edition, “the underlying logic of market-driven strategy is that the market and the customers that form the market should be the starting point in business strategy. Importantly, market- driven strategy provides a company-wide perspective, which mandates more effective integration of activities and processes that impact customer value”.
Simply stated, your strategies should be built from the customers’ perspective. What are the values that motivate your customers to purchase, what are your company’s unique capabilities in providing those values, and what are your measures to determine how well you are meeting those values?
It is too easy for us to get caught up in building a successful company and forget those who actually facilitate the growth. A good measure is to look at your strategies and see if you included customer retention, customer relationship management, and monitoring social commentary. If not, take a step back, create a profile of your customer, and ask if each strategy will enhance their brand experience and loyalty.
Cravens. Custom book for Ashford: Strategic Marketing, 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill Primis Custom
A well-crafted strategic plan can produce a masterpiece of creativity with world-changing solutions contained therein, but if it’s the company’s best kept secret, it will do little good. One of the most crucial aspects of attaining the goals set forth in your strategic plan is communication; making sure your organizational goals are clear to your employees, suppliers and stakeholders. So, how is that done?
Goals need to go beyond good ideas to being actionable by everyone in the company. Meet and discuss your goals with your management team and employees. Define roles and responsibilities, accountabilities, milestones and deliverables, but be sure to seek input from those on the front lines who are most able to identify real-world roadblocks. Also, when your teams have a clear understanding of how they can directly affect achieving organizational goals, their buy-in and job satisfaction will be significantly higher.
There is a verse in the Bible that says “if the trumpet makes an unclear sound, who will prepare for battle?” This is true for any organization.
Planning and communication are Siamese twins for organizational effectiveness. If you start with a solid strategic plan, communicate its goals clearly to your organizational teams, and then get feedback from them to address potential hurdles, you should see great forward progress in your business.