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  • Writer's pictureJoel Alpert

How are you thinking about "strategy" and your business? Is your strategy a "Generative Engine"?

Part 2 of 7:

"2023: Gain These 7 Powerful Insights On Strategy & Branding"

Strategy > Branding > Business Infrastructure > Website, Social, Promo

“Come on! Let’s go! Time’s a-wastin’!”

Many well-meaning entrepreneurs and executives want to develop and start selling their products and services, before laying out a roadmap of what these do for their prospects, and how to go about positioning and selling them in the marketplace.

The instinct to do move forward is a good idea… but the foundation must be set up for it to be successful. You don't want your sales efforts to bleed on the battlefield. You don’t want chaos in your systems, or AWOL leads and sales.

If you’re moving ahead quickly — but don’t quite know where you’re going — you’ll get somewhere fast. Just remind me…where are we going? Strategic Planning should include a bit more, with a shift in focus. You need to lay out your plan.

When you think about it – and please do! — strategic thinking is not a “fill-in-the-blanks” exercise to “solve a problem” in the fastest way possible

It’s about creating results.

Most obviously, your strategic thinking should result in producing leads and sales. But there's more to make it work..

So you want to include in the components of your thinking ALL the relevant components of success, when it’s done.

Yes, you'll want your spiffy new logo (which needs to represent a strong business machine), and a new website that’s useful to prospects… but also key components such as smooth back-end processes. Trained CSRs. Happy customers. You don't just want to focus on your product launch.

Why do you do this? Because you just don't want your launch to fizzle.

We introduced a new strategic initiative for a telecom provider with a Direct Marketing program that was launched in 17 cities. It had hundreds of crafted partner offers to encourage participation of its cellphone users, providing customers with value and encouraging loyalty. What's so bad about that? What could go wrong?

Well, in checking out the back-end, to make sure our response mechanism were lined up with their processes,, we realized the client just wasn't ready for processing responses, and the CSRs hadn't even heard of this major program. We suggested to upper management that they hold off a few weeks until they could get their ducks in a row, and we expected they would. They wouldn't. It was scheduled to launch. What happened? The lead generation program was very successful, with raving testimonials. But within a few weeks, the program fizzled because the back-end just wasn't ready. Gimme a break.

The reason you do strategic thinking... is because you don't want your business efforts to fizzle!

There are any number of places your plan could misfire. You might not have a good process for delivering results. Your products or services might have problems that need to be addressed. Could be your capacity can't keep up with sales. But there's more.

Those are now the actual goals that are part of your “Desired End Result.” They are not add-ons, and they don’t get produced in a vacuum. You’ve considered them, they’re important, and you want to create a pathway to get there. That’s the strategic compass point you want to follow.

Is your "strategic plan" sitting on a shelf in a a binder?

You don't want your strategic planning or strategic thinking on any program to sit on the shelf and become useless 3-ring binder babble. It should be a do-able Action Plan. You want to refer to this plan often. You want this thinking to be clear, with next steps which your team understands, and uses to create success.

In one unusual example, when Covid gave a client pause, we worked actively for 3 months on re-inventing a mobile repair business. “How” we will do business will be radically changed.

That new “How” that affects all strategic thinking we have done — business strategy, branding and positioning, website and online presence, marketing strategy, staffing, equipment, recruiting, training, back-end processes, and more.

All produced materials would have been different before this caffeination of our strategic thinking. That’s not using strategy as an add-on… that’s using strategy as a compass point…an effective bridge to a successful future.


So what makes for good strategic thinking?

Well here are some questions to consider for good strategic planning and strategic thinking that address key company issues.

  1. It's objective, are you clear about the goal and the starting point?

  2. Is it quantifiable... do you have steps towards the goal. and measurements?

  3. Are you taking into account all that's relevant within the big picture?

  4. Are you solving a problem… or creating what you really want?

  5. Is it really a "goal" or a process to get there?

  6. Does it focus on long-term goals, and use an action plan to get there?

  7. Can leaders and team understand and explain it?

  8. Is the intended audience impacted by it in a good way?

  9. Do people know their jobs, where their work fits into the big picture, what's next? (call this "controlled autonomy")

  10. Will you have reasonably clear criteria for when any process goal and the Desired End Result is completed?

And there may be additional — or different — criteria that figure into your business.




Next installment of:

"2023: Gain These 7 Powerful Insights On Strategy & Branding"

Insight 3: "We can add branding later… right?"



Want a CEO-level "strategic thinking challenge" that's different from anything you've ever explored?

Why so many business efforts of all kinds fizzle (and why it's not even their fault!) This quick video will describe a remarkable phenomenon…these 8 minutes will shake up the apple cart!

Bonus Video: "Struck Inside The Strategic Thinking Matrix"?

The Sowgrow Marketing Council hosted this online meeting of experienced marketing professionals... Joel Alpert presented this insight, explaining why so many efforts fail across branding, marketing, HR, management…


Joel Alpert is Chief Lightbulb at MarketPower. Explore the site and discover why the work we do in strategy, branding, and targeted marketing and more… has high value to your company.


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