3 Questions You Must Answer

Strategic planning is essential to any marketing and communications initiative.  When working on a new initiative, we always start by asking three basic questions:

1. What Are You Trying to Achieve? – Many groups don’t have clearly defined goals, or have ones that are loosely tied to their mission.  Clearly articulated, mission-specific SMART goals are essential.  Rather than a goal of “helping the homeless” we greatly prefer “enacting a law in 2010 that creates 10 new homeless shelters” or “raising $50,000 in 2010 for temporary housing.”

2. How Will You Achieve Your Goal? – Strategy is like a  road map.  There are many ways to get from point A to B.  Which will you take?  Defining your route ensures prevents costly and time-wasting detours and dead ends.  Just make sure your strategy actually leads to the achievement of your goal, unlike what happened to Hillary Clinton in 2008.

3. What Will You Do? – Once you have a goal and strategy, what tactics will you employ?  Will you start a blog, buy advertising or start a newsletter?  And what can your customers do to spread the word?  As with strategy, make sure your tactics actually achieve your goal and don’t run counter to your strategy like John McCain in 2008.  Media coverage might make you feel good, but if it doesn’t achieve your goal of increasing sales, why bother?

Strategic planning is a critical first step in any campaign.  By developing an integrated campaign along these lines you can significantly increase your chances of success.

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