What Is Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

In the last post, I explained that a strategy was a set of objectives, a plan that could be distilled down into executable tactics for each operating unit of the company. But, let’s go a little deeper.  There are characteristics of a “strategic plan” that make it unique from, say, a business plan. A strategic plan has a longer term horizon – at least three to five years.  The key characteristic of a strategic plan is that it lays out a plan for your company’s success in its market, defines what makes it distinctive from its competitors, and what tactics you will deploy to ensure that you win! A strategic plan is different from an operational plan in that it specifies what customers must be targeted and secured, what products or services must be developed or expanded, and what geographies to target for expansion.  An operational plan provides tactics for running the company.  The strategy articulates how your company does this better and differently than your competitors. According to Michael Porter …

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So I need a strategy? What exactly does that mean?

Good question!  Many business people won’t ask the question out loud because they are too embarrassed to admit that they aren’t sure what it means.  The logic goes like this:  ”Having a strategy is very important, so how could I admit to being unclear about something so important?”  What I have learned is that identifying and articulating strategy is not as simple as it might seem.  ”The strategy” was something in our CEO’s head, in my early years at FedEx, and I wanted a way to extract his vision and direction for the company without having to spend hours prying it from his mind.  Fortunately, I knew he was an admirer of Michael Porter (Harvard Business School management guru), and felt Porter was the expert on Strategy.  From that important information, I was able to develop a team within my marketing group whose only role was to define and articulate “the strategy” for FedEx.  Yes, it was actually possible to put Fred Smith’s complex thinking into a plan that could …

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What is Calade Partners?

Relevant strategy. Precise direction.   I’m asked, “What is Calade Partners?”  That’s when the elevator speech kicks in, and I quickly explain that three marketing executives from FedEx decided to take the voluntary buyout so we could go it on our own, and Calade Partners is our platform for helping companies rejuvenate their marketing process. If we had a few more floors to go, I’d add that we are a catalyst for clarifying strategy and market position, and our services range from diagnosing your marketing capabilities and prescribing the solution, to acting as your marketing team in the absence of that capability within your company. The Calade Partners have a combined experience of over 50 years managing complex marketing challenges. We have led product development, branding, advertising, sponsorships and events, campaigns, customer experience design, social media, digital and interactive marketing, website design and optimization — the full gambit in a best of breed corporation. We bring our expertise to the challenge, bring clarity to the solution, and apply the assets …

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