20/20 Vision: Marketing Strategy

Traditionally, marketing strategy is planned in a linear fashion: a timeline that starts now and continues to a predetermined date or financial goal. This approach is based on what is known today, and possibly what we anticipate will happen in the near future. It is simple and straightforward and provides a tidy checklist of tactics to execute. In contrast, a recent Harvard Business Review article by Amy Webb of the Future Today Institute proposes a conical approach for framing strategic thinking. This, Webb argues, allows organizations to incorporate a longer-term vision to guide their plan and helps executives to better navigate uncertainty in the market.  

Most organizations’ vision is an aspirational statement about what they want their business to be. Yet, according to the HBR article, the vision that businesses should be focusing on, and incorporating into their strategic plans, is the future of their industry.

Tactical Versus Visionary

A strategic marketing plan typically focuses on shorter-term 1-3 year goals with specific tactics assigned to each week, month, or quarter. Checking items off the tactical to-do list is important. However, it is even more important for organizations to constantly assess if what they are doing today will help set them up to be successful when the market evolves 5+ years down the road. In other words, will they be able to successfully navigate changes and challenges and take advantage of opportunities?

A New Decade Is Dawning

As we enter the 4th quarter of 2019, and look to a new year – and a new decade – healthcare business leaders are embarking upon their annual strategic planning process. Healthcare executives are used to uncertainty in the industry, and it seems the coming decade will follow suit. Technology, consolidation, government regulations and new payment models will continue to disrupt and force healthcare to evolve.  Status quo strategic planning will not drive impactful, long-term growth.

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