Effective Marketing Strategy Planning Sessions

At Walker Sands, we appreciate how important marketing strategy is to your company's bottom line.

A calculated marketing strategy can drive sales, increase market presence and enhance your brand's overall value to customers. But we also know how quickly market strategy sessions can devolve into tactical discussions.

Marketing Strategy Versus Marketing Tactics

We don't have anything against tactics. In fact, tactics are an important part of the strategic process because they represent the tangible expressions of strategic insights.

But the introduction of tactical conversations into marketing strategy sessions inevitably derails the process and produces fatal outcomes for your marketing efforts.

How to Keep Marketing Strategy Sessions On Track

In our strategy sessions, we use a systematic model to keep tactical elements out of the marketing strategy mix.

  • Education. Our marketing strategy meeting facilitators frequently begin marketing strategy sessions by explaining the differences between market positioning, goals, strategies and tactics. Even though most of the people around the table should already understand the distinctions, it's a good reminder and it establishes a framework for the conversation.
  • Goals. After we have established a foundation for the conversation, we build on it by reaching consensus about business and marketing goals. It's impossible to talk strategy until everyone agrees about where the process is headed.
  • Market positioning. Next, we attempt to reach consensus on market positioning. By determining where the brand will position itself in the marketplace, we help our clients get a bead on their strategic marketing options while maintaining the distinction between strategy and the techniques they will use during its execution.
  • Redirection. Inevitably, someone will drop a tactical suggestion into the conversation. At this point, the strategic process runs the risk of going completely off-course, especially if others pick up the ball and run with it. To maintain focus, the facilitator records the tactical suggestion on a master list and redirects the conversation back to marketing strategy.
  • Follow-up. Follow-up meetings are the appropriate venue for tactical discussions. Set a separate time for the group to reconvene to talk tactics, but be careful to evaluate each tactic according to its potential to achieve the goals and strategies that were developed in previous sessions.

Walker Sands has been recognized as a leading Chicago marketing firm. We have a strong track record in creating and implementing marketing strategies that deliver results. If a new or improved market strategy is on your company's horizon, give us a call and let our team of consultants help identify the strategies -- and tactics -- you need to succeed.