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Why Strategy Comes First

Strategy: Plain and Simple

StrategicMarketingPlanningWe’ve written many times about the importance of good strategy coming before marketing, and it’s more true today than ever. The problem with strategy is that it is a broad word, and one which confuses many people.  So they often skip doing strategy and just dive in and start churning out marketing….websites that don’t connect, ads that don’t create a defined brand….channels that seem to not be reaching anyone who’s listening.

So we’re going to give you a clear outline which comes right out of our slogan at Tenato: Think forward. Move forward.


Think Forward: What Problem Do You Solve?

It begins with “Why am I here?” as a company. It’s essential to think about the key problem you are solving. For example, any of these are problems a company might wish to solve:

• Daycares are too big and impersonal.
• Downtime often occurs when drilling for heavy oil.
• Companies can’t get the skilled accounting talent they need.

So the “Thinking forward” aspect involves envisioning a service or product that really solves the problem, and then structuring an innovative offering that delivers the best possible resolution to that problem…with some real, noticeable innovation. For example:

• A child care service that is personal and small. (Fewer kids? Shorter shifts? Recruiting “grandparents”?)
• A tool that forewarns of possible downtime before it happens. (Remote monitoring to a smart-phone app? Field service team? 24/7/365 response?)
• A solution to find and fit accountants to the companies who need them. (Build a talent pool of all the accountants? Create a firm that outsources the talent? Train the talent?)

Then, you’ll select pricing based on what solving that problem is worth to those people. You’ll select targets based on who needs that service most, and who is willing to pay for it. You’ll create messaging to tell a story your customers will relate to, from problem to solution. And, you’ll select communication channels where those people will hear your story. Strategy!

Move Forward:  Implement!

Once you have a strategy,  you can put it into action – and of course, measure it. This will mean executing on messaging (creating a brand/designs and creative to get the message across clearly), selecting channels, and monitoring your results. Then it’s measure, correct, measure, correct – until your strategy and action hit your “bulls-eye”!


Now that it’s clearly laid out, would it not seem ridiculous to put a website up, or any bit of advertising at all, without knowing what problem you are solving for people – and being able to explain why they should select you to solve that problem?     Truly, with the cost and effort marketing takes today – a good strategy will not only save your money on ill-conceived marketing, it will make you the kind of money you deserve, from clients who will truly appreciate what you’re about.

Do you have thoughts or experience with good or poor strategy?  We’d love to hear them!   Drop us a note or comment below.  Thank you for reading!



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About the Author - Jacqueline Drew
Jacqueline M. Drew, BComm, MBA is founder and CEO of Tenato Strategy Inc., a marketing research and strategy firm with bases in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. With over 25 years' experience in all facets of marketing strategy, she is a business consultant, trainer and speaker who loves to use her superpowers "to help the good guys win."