The road to a Strategic Marketing Plan


I once read that the difference between a weekend fisherman and a professional fisherman is that the professional fisherman writes down things like the date, water temperature, time, size of fish, the exact spot where he dropped the line, the weather conditions, etc…  Whereas the weekend fisherman will move from spot to spot, try new lures, buy new equipment and wonder why can’t catch many fish.  How does this related to a strategic marketing plan?  Simple.  The professional fisherman tracks and analyzes his results and is therefore able to make better decisions the next time out.

Although the example above is very simple, the solution is rarely that easy.  Now, in order for you to really, completely, fully understand how we at eBoost create strategic marketing plans there are three key elements you will need to know:

1. eBoosts Strategic Methodology
2. eBoosts Strategic Concept
3. One of eBoosts Strategic Tools

First up, we have eBoosts strategic methodology, also know as our strategic problem solving methodology.   In order to solve a problem we have to first have a problem, and we always formulate problems in the form of a question.

Problem:  How does our company increase sales?

Before we can even begin trying to answer this question we need information.  Information is the bread and butter of our strategic methodology and until we have enough of it, we keep collecting it.  So, what is enough?  Enough is 70% Data to 30% Critical Unknowns and Assumptions.

Date – Data is anything we can quantify.  Numbers, percentages etc…
Critical Unknowns – Critical Unknowns are always in the form of a question and questions that make this list are things we absolutely have to know before we can even begin trying to formulate a marketing plan.  For the example above,  a critical unknown would be how many sales do we have a month or year.  This is critical because we can’t accurately increase sales if we don’t know how many sales we currently have.
Assumptions – Assumptions are things we feel or think.  An assumption for the example above might be “I feel like our sales team could be closing more deals”.

An important thing to know is that when we quantify Critical Unknowns and Assumptions they become data.

After we have collected enough information we move to eBoosts Strategic Concept, Theory Focused Planning.  TFP uses Data, Critical Unknowns and Assumptions to help bridge the gap between where we currently are and where we’d like to be.  The chart on top of this page illustrates it much better but imagine a dot in the middle of a large circle.  That dot in the middle represents the perfect answer, the only thing is, it’s unreachable.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t get close to it and that is exactly what we are trying to do.  Why do you think that dot is unreachable?  Because of the ever changing Internal and External Factors that influence it.

Internal Factors
–    Strategy
–    Operational Activities
–    Resources
–    People
External Factors
–    Public
–    Micro Economic Forces
–    Customers
–    Competition

It’s also important to note that when we are collecting this information we are collecting it from the past and present so that we can better plan for the future, only makes sense since we make marketing plans for the future.  To illustrate this we use a Time Continuum and the past is 20/20 hindsight, present is 20/20 insight and future is 20/20 foresight.

The last piece to the puzzle is one of our Strategic Tools, the 3C Model.

The 3C Model was discovered by Kenichi Ohmae, a partner of McKinsey and Company in the mid 1980’s and what he did was study successful Japanese businesses to better understand how they worked and what made them so successful.  What he discovered was that each one of these successful Japanese businesses had perfect balance between their Company, Customers and Competition.  This is where we get the 3C’s and the perfect equilateral triangle.  The triangle itself represents complete balance, that’s why it’s exactly 60 degrees on each side.  Kenichi said that when a company has this perfect harmony and balance between the 3C’s, then and only then can they sustain a competitive advantage.

So how does this tie into how we formulate strategic marketing plans?  Since we have compiled a lot of Data, Critical Unknowns and Assumptions up to this point we can now take that information and see where it falls into the 3C’s.  We might find that we know a lot about our competition and we might be doing things well within our company but we don’t really know our customers so then we know what we need to focus on.  We would then collect more information about the customers, we would test those Critical Unknowns and Assumptions to get data.  If for example you are collecting information and you notice a lot of Critical Unknowns related to your customers then that would be a pretty clear indication that the 3C triangle might not look like a perfect triangle at all.

Now that we collected all this information using our Strategic Methodology and Strategic Concept and have evaluated our current 3C Model to find areas where we can improve, we can finally formulate a sound Strategic Marketing Plan to help us achieve our goals and help balance out our 3C Triangle to ensure our business has a sustainable competitive advantage.

– Marko

Leave a Comment

    • HNB
    • September 12, 2012

    What do the 3 hashmarks represent next to the S? Great graphic — great approach

      • eBoost
      • September 14, 2012

      The three hashmarks represents the initial hypothesis, which is the solution built off of 70% facts and 30% assumptions and critical unknowns.

    • Micha
    • August 12, 2009

    Nice post Marko! The image is awesome also, its great to see the different tools simplified and combined into one image.

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