Holy Strategic Plan…a temptation for marketers

How many times have you sat down to write out a strategic plan for a company? Or an annual plan that carefully details your strategy for the year and every marketing dollar you’re going to spend? Depending on the size of your marketing department, this focused and intensive project likely took you away from other things. However, you told yourself, like every other good Stephen Covey reader, that the task was important, but not urgent, and you were making the right choice.  

But, were you?

Sometimes, we get stuck in a planning bog and cannot escape because our plan needs to be perfect. As a writer by trade, I have fallen prey to this many times–rewritten a white paper so many times it becomes irrelevant, waited for the perfect blog topic so long that the audience gave up, edited so thoroughly that the original voice was completely lost. (Right now, I am fiddling with the font so that the look is perfect, but I am going to get back on point so that there is a point here for you soon.)

You have to execute–it’s time to do! In the new digital economy, you can’t form a committee to debate every option then wait for the outcome. You must train your team then expect them to perform aligned with the overall vision of the strategy. (Now, I am not saying let the intern loose with your Twitter account. Maintain accountability and management structures, but also realize that the CEO does not need to micromanage every tweet.)

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Strategic Planning is Dead, but I would advocate for a long-term vision with short-term strategy and a structure that empowers leaders with accountability and responsibility.  

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