The Big Picture: Strategy

President's Letter

Over the past few years, my associates and I have provided consulting services for many publishing companies and association publishers. Companies ask us in to analyze the revenue producing parts of their businesses and to make recommendations on a specific subject area, such as digital or print sales, or integrating marketing assets and packaging those assets for sale. As we delve into the assignment, we often see that an essential component of advertising sales success is missing: a brand strategy.

Merriam-Webster defines “strategy” as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” So, before a brand strategy can be created, there must be a crystal-clear goal or objective for the brand. As a former media planner trained in the art of strategic planning, I always look first for the objectives, then for the strategies.   

In my opinion, it is not possible to have a meaningful digital, or print, or event strategy without an overall brand strategy that evolves with changes in the marketplace. Each marketing element must take into account the existence of the others, and it is vital that tactics be reviewed periodically to ensure that they continue to be aligned with the strategy. Yet we often encounter lone groups within organizations executing tactics that no longer support the brand strategy.  People originally tasked with these tactics then go off in search of a strategy.

For example, whole departments are created to do digital work without a full understanding of how digital components will support the brand’s strategic objectives. In the absence of a compatible strategic view, personal opinions proliferate.

We will be doing a series of articles on strategy over the next few issues.