How To Tame The Strategic Planning Beast: An eBook
Posted on April 28, 2014
Let’s talk about strategic planning and its importance for your company. We’re going to cover this and in the process go over some of the key points in an ebook recently released by the people at insightsinmarketing.com.
First of all, what is strategic planning? In essence it’s the process of creating a long term strategy for managing your customers and their needs as consumers. Strategic planning revolves around adapting to changing market needs ahead of others and doing so in a way that covers long term goals, resource investment, a clear understanding of what constitutes success and a knowledge of competitors, customers and your company’s role in its target market.
In fact, you can solidify a strategic planning solution for your business through five key steps that also answer five crucial questions:
- What’s the current environment for your company, competitors and consumers?
- What do you need or want to achieve as a company?
- What’s your vision of success and how do you plan on reaching it?
- How will you invest your resources to find that success?
- What progress are you making in achieving the goals defined by your vision of success and which course corrections might you need to make?
Answering these crucially important questions can be achieved by following through with five strategic planning steps that the ebook outlines in detail. Let’s cover the key take-aways from these one by one.
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Before we go further, understand that the process outlined is not a one-size-fits-all system. It is meant to be tailored to your specific circumstances. Instead, look at it as a guideline for making you and your team think more broadly about your long term strategy and how it will be affected by consumer insights.
The Most Crucial Component: Taming the Strategic Planning Beast
What does taming the strategic planning beast mean? More than anything it’s about avoiding the trap of being a reactive company that not only fails to fully understand its customers’ needs and tastes but also doesn’t adapt quickly enough to market changes that let it stay ahead of the consumer and its own competition in the marketplace.
Avoiding this trap consists more than anything of using a forward thinking strategy through consumer insights information that will lead to:
- Increased Collaboration: insights about consumers that lead to more cohesive relations between your company and its customers.
- Fast and Easier Buy-in: creating a well-rounded strategic plan that employees and company founders can all buy into easily and quickly.
- Thoughtful dialogue: Using communication to maintain a clear understanding of what matters most to customers and prioritizing based on these insights for the sake of improving the company bottom line.
You can also use a checklist to more finely tune your strategic planning process down into a series of metrics that you can then focus on piecing together.
Once you’ve gone through the checklist and collated all your necessary planning information that will let your company become a better organization in terms of long view planning, you can also start assessing what other information may be missing in the further development of your strategic plan.
This is discussed in the ebook and followed up with a 6 part game plan for using consumer insights to make your strategic plans more efficient and much better at anticipating consumer desires.
The bottom line that you can take away from all of the above is simply this: Using good information and analysis to create ideal timing for your customer strategy will drastically improve how your business succeeds on the marketplace.
Creating a Consumer Information Roadmap
Once you’ve better developed your company’s strategic planning process and have a better understanding of where you want to take your company in relation to your customers, you can now dive much deeper and start creating a roadmap of what is called consumer insights information.
This means really digging into understanding your consumers and performing what is called a consumer insights audit. By doing this you will see where you’re running blind and where you can dig up a lot of data insights. Some of the information you should be looking to collect includes:
- Habits and practices
- Awareness and usage
- Brand image/perception
- Advertising awareness
- Purchasing dynamics
- Consumer satisfaction
- Marketing strategy mixes
- Effective pricing
- Market structure.
Again, the ebook goes into much further detail on all of these steps in chapter two but for now, the bottom line take-away for you is that your strategic planning process depends absolutely on deep consumer insights on your target market and that these insights need to be updated regularly.
Finding the Right Customer and the Right Benefits for them
The most important question of all consumer insights planning and almost all strategic planning in general is finding out what your consumers really want.
This means knowing them and their needs and characteristics deeply and even intuitively after a long time spent researching these customers.
Research parameters for knowing your audience will include:
- Consumer segmentation
- Social media and social media habits
- Levels of loyalty to your Brand
- Product use habits
With these customer familiarization parameters deeply covered, you can star discovering what the key benefit is that you need to deliver to your customers. This means finding out what the chief thing is which will make them absolutely perceive your product as valuable enough to buy.
Creating a Consumer Insights Culture
Having grabbed a hold of the strategic planning monster and converted it into something you can concretely rely on to deliver consumer insights and bottom line results, you can now implement a strong culture of consumer insights into every level of your company.
This means creating habits in your employees that cause them to live and breathe the process of knowing their consumers intimately and thus responding to their needs ahead of the game in a way that beats competitors. You and your company team should be able to use this culture to consistently deliver insights that matter to you and your consumers.
Again, the ebook covers implementation of this culture in detail, with step-by-step strategic steps.
Seeing Success in your Strategic Planning
Having learned all you can about the strategic planning process and having started to use it to really deepen your knowledge of your consumers at all levels, you can now hopefully start looking for signs of initial success that you will develop into a powerful competitive edge as you and your team fully internalize constant strategic planning through deeply researched consumer insights.