It’s the last quarter of the year, and if you haven’t done your planning for 2010, I’ve got two things to say to you: 1) you’re late (you undoubtedly know that), and 2) you’re not alone.

But whether you’re in the middle of developing your 2010 plans, directing planning input from multiple sources, or reviewing plans for clarity and consistency, this blog’s for you.

Working with many different clients over the years, I have worked with many who have been given responsibility for planning who are not themselves trained strategic planners. This means that many of them have a limited understanding of the basics of strategic planning. Oh, they know their stuff and are often brilliant marketers, but some come from the technical side, some come from sales, some from communications – you get the picture. I will see the words “Objective”, “Goal”, “Strategy”, and “Tactic” used interchangeably. A stated “Mission” will have the hallmarks of “Vision”; a “Threat” is labeled a “Weakness”, etc. This makes me crazy, as these are all very different things, and they have very different meanings and functions.

In response I have prepared a primer of sorts that covers the basics of strategic planning terms and explanations for the many who are not trained strategic planners. I share its essence here, knowing that some of you will find this a tad didactic and below your level of operation. I would suggest that you can view this as a refresher. Overall I have the belief and fervent hope that others will certainly benefit from it.


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Have you ever experienced or observed marketing styles that might be fairly described as high-octane, fast-paced, or perhaps, so hopped-up on Red Bull® or some other energy drink, there is simply no time for meaningful collaboration, much less careful, proactive, strategic thinking or planning? Perhaps a fun, exhilarating experience, but what are the consequences?

If you have, as you might know first hand (or at least imagine), this style can seriously compromise valuable intellectual property rights and protection. You know when the trademark attorney gets the call if this style controls, right? Immediately upon encountering a serious and unfair competitive threat. But in many instances, this will be long after a coherent strategy might have been created, well after packaging is designed and introduced, well after marketing materials are finalized and distributed, long after websites have been launched, and well after all the unknowing, but self-inflicted damage is done. In some cases the resulting damage is manageable and can be repaired, other times it is not, and legal claims that might have been strong and viable suddenly have turned dead-on-arrival.


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