Mistakes are a way of life and sometimes we can not escape them. This sometimes includes strategic planning mistakes that results in organisational failure. M Porter, the marketing author and expert , argues that organisational performance is due to ineffective strategy execution. But before poor performance results , there is poor strategy formulation. Your organisation is in total control of your strategic formulation processes and below are mistakes that your company should avoid making.
1) Timeframe of your plan is too long.
Marketing strategy plans should be focused on accomplishing priorities in a timely manner. While long-term planning provides a business with long-term vision, shorter operational plan horizons allow your company to utilize valuable current information and to remain engaged in delivering current milestones. Time frames that are too long make you lose focus, are exhausting for your staff, make your company less competitive and responsive to on going and changing customer needs.
2) Too many marketing strategic goals
Many organisations end up with a long wish list of goals that they want to accomplish without the time, resources, and knowhow to accomplish them. You should be disciplined to narrow down your list to goals and priorities that will give you the most economic mileage and those goals that will be achievable.
3) Goals are not tied to measurable outcomes
Your marketing goals should be constructed in terms of outcomes that mean something to your customers, your employees and the markets in which you are doing business. Goals should propel specific actions and achievements from your organisational members.
4) Employees are not aware of your goals
When the corporate marketing planning process does not recognise and involve the people who are going to be implementing the plan, breakdowns happen and desired outcomes will not be achieved. By side lining employees in your marketing planning you are failing to recognise the implementors of the company’s plan.
5) Key vendors and partners not considered.
By communicating organisational goals to key vendors , distributors, suppliers and partners, much-needed support and assistance can be gained. Making partners part of your planning process makes it easier to ask for discounts, distributor concessions, and favourable supplier terms.
6) Job descriptions not aligned to strategic outcomes.
Job descriptions and responsibilities should be aligned to what your company wants to achieve. When responsibilities and job descriptions are distributed and agreed, the individuals become tuned in to what they need to do to achieve your company’s goals.
7) Performance measure not aligned to company results.
Your company must set marketing performance measurements and incentives for staff and the resultant incentives should empower all staff to measure and manage effort towards achievement of the plan. When staff do not see how the company’s reward system is aligned to their performance, you will have disgruntled and underperforming staff on your hands.
8) Overlooking your company culture
Company culture plays an important role in implementation of your marketing strategy. Successful companies are those that recognise that everyone in the company is a marketer. It is therefore impossible to fulfill your marketing plan without an enabling culture as this will determine how successfully your plan will be implemented.
9) Overlooking operations
A marketing plan should be implemented with the whole company in mind. All departments should be able to input into the plan as all departments will be required to implement it. When the plan is produced by senior management, the business owners or the marketing department, the rest of your company employees may decide that those people who gave the input are the owners of the plan and they will not be motivated to execute.
10) Misalignment of the company marketing strategy with its environment.
When you fail to understand your environment , you will inadvertently draw up a strategy that will not work. You may end up with the wrong products, targeting the wrong customers, having wrong pricing models and not being able to promote your products to your target market segments. Inadequate environmental analysis also prevents you from understanding the competitive forces that are affecting your business.
11) Attempt to grow into market segment that your business does not understand.
When you try to expand into market segments with inadequate information about those markets, your company will have little chance of success. This also includes expanding into product portfolios that you have not fully researched.
12) Wrong demand projections
Erroneous projections of the size of your market and customer base will result in over /under supply and may lead to you lowering your prices and operating at a loss.
13) Inadequate budgeting
Financial projections form the basis of your marketing strategy, because they forecast how much you will need in order to carry out your plan as well as how much money you are going to make from your marketing and sales effort. When these projections are wrong, your company may suffer from under capitalisation and low sales.
When we may make mistakes in our marketing strategy plans, we need to quickly recognise that the plan is faulty and take corrective actions before too much damage is done . This will enable your company to minimise the impact of your mistakes. Many companies wait until the next quarterly strategic review before taking action. This may be too late.