Using Insights to Tame the Strategic Planning Beast

Competitive Advantage

With the proper planning and strategic thinking, a competitive advantage is something that your company can definitely create in today’s dynamic and fast moving marketplace of business niches.

Furthermore, your business can become particularly competitive in capturing those magical areas of competitive advantage if you can learn how to really understand your consumer market and the desires of your customers. Luckily, this can be done through the application of a more modern approach to strategic planning as we’re about to cover now.

The rewards of going through the strategic planning steps we’re about to cover cannot be understated. By learning to truly understand your customers and use that knowledge for planning your business strategy, you’ll be able to outpace your competitors, improve your brand image and develop client loyalty in a dramatic way that improves your bottom line.

Fortunately, for those who are really interested in this kind of consumer centric planning strategy, there is a detailed and highly informative new ebook I ran across from the people at Insights In Marketing which is packed with practical advice. Here is an overview of that advice.

Strategic Planning in a Nutshell

In essential terms, strategic planning involves taking advantage of expansive customer and market research to gain insights on your overall market, your competition and, most importantly, your actual customers. With this information, you can then build a thoroughly fleshed out strategy for staying ahead of the curve in terms of delivering the right products to its best possible customer as often as possible.

Strategic planning involves asking yourself some probing questions about where your business is headed, how you think it should get there and then using the answers to these questions for achieving the goals you really want to see come to fruition.

The Value of Serious Customer Research

The core of truly effective strategic planning lies in researching your customers in deep detail and really getting to know them. As the strategic planning ebook explains, there are many aspects of the research your company is going to have to do if it wants to really make an effective competitive advantage come to the fore.

The most crucial part of this data gathering will mean finding out as much of the key information about your customers as you possibly can and then using it for product development, better customer service and improved brand development.  You need to find your customers drives, desires and real passions as they relate to your niche in the marketplace.

This process really starts off with something called a consumer insights audit, which helps you understand the following essentials about your consumers:

  • Their general habits
  • Their most often used media and communications tools
  • Their awareness of ads and their habits for viewing them
  • General buying and browsing habits
  • Where they consume content most often on the web
  • Their use of your particular brand and how aware they are of you
  • The perception your brand and product offering creates

Finding the Ideal Offer for the Ideal Customer

Through the kind of deeply targeted research of your customers that we just listed, and by applying its insights to your existing business and consumer market, what you can really hope to achieve is the holy grail of effective business promotion. This holy grail consists of finding your ideal, “perfect” customer and delivering to them the offer they absolutely perceive themselves to need for solving their problems and doing this better than any of your competitors is capable of achieving.

If you can pull this feat off, you have the effective equivalent of a secret weapon working for you. Why? Because customers who really feel like you understand them and are serving their needs will be extremely loyal to your brand for the long run and for any new offers you develop.

Furthermore, these kinds of customers will spread the word on your behalf to others who are in the same situation as them. This is the kind of marketing and promotion that’s worth a lot more than any paid advertisements and it goes a long way towards making you immune to competitors.

Developing the kind of consumer insights culture that deep research of both needs and customer psychology applied regularly will help you outpace your competitors. You don’t want to be in a race to the bottom with your competitors. Instead, you want to beat them by knowing your customers and winning their loyalty through that knowledge.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, you can check out the details in this ebook by Insights in Marketing.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.