Most people agree it is important to get your Internet marketing strategy right first before then working out your detailed action plan. However no one seems quite clear on what constitutes a strategy. It sometimes seems as though executives scatter the words, strategy and strategic, throughout a planning document in order to give more credibility. A mere Plan has no pizazz about it. An Action Plan is better: presumably something is going to get done. However call it a strategic plan and it takes on a whole new aura. This is the kind of planning that is done by Commanders-in-Chief as they wage wars.
So there are countless gurus to help those leaders. Michael Porter is perhaps the best known. Intensive analysis and decision-making are required. Elaborate techniques are suggested to thoroughly explore the ‘field of battle’. One such is SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities). This thoroughly explores the world ‘out there’ to ensure the strategy is well-founded. The problem is, as Larry Bossidy has pointed out, that very often the strategic plan causes no change in the way the business is conducted.
Whether or not this outward-looking strategic view works in practice, there is an important ‘core’ thinking that must go on in strategic planning. This deals with the very nature of the business and whether it is viable. It determines the market Niche that will be served, the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that the company’s products and services offer for this Niche, and the Bottom-Line that this NUB combination can deliver to its owners. You can find more on this approach in “The NUB of your Marketing Strategy“.