Common But Useless – Don’t Get Trapped In These Strategic Planning Wormholes


Avoiding common but useless strategic planning activities can be easier said than done.

First, only talking about strategy in your annual strategy retreat. Vennli couldn’t agree more. One of our major tenants is that strategic planning should be an ongoing activity that requires regular updates on customer needs and competitive positioning.

Second, using a generic SWOT as your foundation. This information is useless unless looked at within a specific context. First, you need to determine the opportunities for growth in your market, and only then can you identify your strengths and weakness within that segment. Play where you can win. We at Vennli believe overall growth happens by creating initiatives focused narrowly on enhancing value for particular customer segments.

So, what do you think? Have you found yourself falling down these wormholes?

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Is The Social Media Party Over?

Social iPhone

Social media is officially in its adolescent state, and with that, comes much more research and understanding of its marketing benefits. Its infancy saw a lot of experimentation while we all got our feet wet in the social landscape. We cringed at the #gettingslizzerd post blunder by the Red Cross and at the outcome of the not-so-thought-out McDonald’s #mcdstories where Twitter users posted their horror stories using the hashtag.

Many studies show that more than half of content marketers view social media as their most effective business strategy. However, business executives, now playing the parent role, are focusing more on social business goals and success measures.

The question becomes now becomes how do the kids win over those in the executive suite?

Vanessa DiMauro answers that question in her roundtable session How To Excite Your Executives About Online Community And Help It Deliver More Value.

Why Is LinkedIn Sticking With Existing Growth Strategy Despite Losses of Nearly 25% YTD?


Although LinkedIn, the business networking website, showed losses of nearly 25% year-to-date, the total number of users on the website increased. Jeff Weiner, CEO, cites statistics like this as a reason why LinkedIn plans to continue moving forward with their existing business growth strategy.

In addition to a growing user base, Weiner mentions the importance of focusing on the core value propositions and company identity to continue growing the go-to professional networking platform. One core value prop is that LinkedIn serves as the professional branding tool for all professionals. Weiner said “Invest in your profile, investing in your professional identity is absolutely critical to your success. It’s the way, increasingly, [how] people are viewing you.”

Click here to read the full article where LinkedIn CEO reveals the company growth strategy.

Why You Need To Know And Understand Your Strengths

Super Kid Understand Your Strengths

How well do you really know how your product stacks up compared to your largest competitors? What are your strengths – Price? Quality? Service? Which one do you emphasize? Do some of your customers view your product significantly differently than others – who is your target and do you tailor your messaging accordingly? These are important questions!

Your points of difference compared to your competitors are only meaningful to customers if they provide value to them. Know your strengths. Click here to read Louie Bernstein’s take on this subject here.

Start Slow, Develop An Impregnable Strategy, And Finish Strong

Finish Strong

A great American orator once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Unfortunately for some, Ricky Bobby isn’t the smartest character in cinematic history. Startups tend to believe the key to success is being the first one on the scene to provide a service or product. Yet for one organization application startup, Springpad, being first was the worst thing they could’ve done. Described as “Pinterest two years before Pinterest entered the market”, Springpad allowed users to find and organize recipes, movies to watch, home improvement projects, and interior design projects. They were ahead of the curve- anticipating market needs and creating a user-friendly app way back in 2008.

Tragically for Springpad, they were actually too early to the market. Mobile apps had not yet blossomed into what they are today, and because of this, Springpad struggled to monetize their product. Officially closing its doors this past June, Springpad was unable to foresee customer buying habits and willingness to pay.

While stories like this don’t come around too often, it just goes to show that just having a strong product is not enough. For long-term success, a company needs a strong foundation with a solid business strategy. It’s tough to sprint marathons, so start slow, develop an impregnable strategy, and finish strong.

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