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3 Must-Ask Questions This Planning Season

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Wherever you are in your brand planning cycle, and whatever your role, you spend some of your time talking strategy.

Question for you: Have you ever been in a strategy meeting and someone speaks up, saying something like this:

Under this new normal, it’s important that we get alignment on the most synergistic touchpoints of the omnichannel customer journey so our brand’s value prop authentically leverages…

Say WHAAAT! Does that even make sense? Is the rest of the group getting this? Maybe I’m not strategic enough ☹

No, my friend. We don’t know exactly how strategic you are BUT if you’re not getting this, it’s because it’s gobbledygook. It’s the sound of someone TRYING to sound strategic versus really BEING strategic.

You’ve probably read the Einstein quote: If you can’t explain it simply, you probably don’t understand it well enough.

That goes for strategy too. It doesn’t have to sound like this. We’ve led lots of strategy sessions for Marketing leaders and simply put, here’s what strategy is: making tough choices on how your company will utilize the finite resources it has to achieve goals and ambitions.

Tough choices are made about WHAT you will do and even harder, what you will NOT do.

These choices help everyone figure out how to use their time and energy most productively.

It’s really as simple as that.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself during this year’s planning season:

1. Outside of our “everyday, keep the lights on” activities, where must we focus our finite resources to get disproportionate return? Put another way, where must we focus 20% of our effort to unlock 80% of our growth. Ground this in facts – when you look at results over the past year and look at what’s ahead for the industry and the world at large, where must you place your big bets?

2. What are all the ways we can rally our people to invest their time and energy in the right stuff? Consider how you can involve the right stakeholders in the process and at what stage it’s best to involve them. Be sure that strategic priorities are clear, specific, and widely communicated.

3. What are we NOT going to do? This is a tough one AND that’s exactly why it’s so important to declare what’s off the table. Without direction, people will make their own choices on how to spend their day and you’ll lose the advantages of focused effort.

Moving into a new planning cycle is kind of like New Year’s Day: it’s a chance to reflect on the year behind, the year ahead and the most effective way to reach your goals in the coming years. Do it well, and you set yourself and your company up for a more successful year ahead.

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