Quality checking your strategy can save you from investing in a flawed plan. Or, if you're executing a plan and results are less than expected, the checklist could help in the troubleshooting process.
Quality control (QC) is highly accepted and expected in manufacturing, software development and many other organizational functions. Six Sigma, checklists, benchmarking and production sampling are all examples of QC. The concept is not as familiar in the world of strategic planning or marketing strategy. In this post I review a checklist that will help you assess the quality and logic of your business strategy or marketing plan. The elements of the checklist are straightforward and build on the work of Victor Cascella in Quality Progress
- GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: Are desired levels of accomplishment clearly specified and quantified over specific periods of time? For example, volume growth in units, margin targets, profit levels, customer counts. Are objectives based on analysis and assessment of capacity, challenges and opportunities?
- SCOPE and breadth of strategic effort is clearly defined. What is the scale of the efforts required to achieve objectives? How big is the market you wish to address? Who is the target audience (users and/or buyers)? What specific segments (size!) are you going after?
- SOURCES OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Positioning and competitive differentiation are clearly identified and based on intelligence and market realities. How do we deliver superior value? What unique competencies do we have? Are we superior to competition in any elements of our marketing mix?
- ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES: Have you clearly and realistically allocated people, time and money? Are those resources aligned with the priorities of your goals and scope?
- SOURCES OF SYNERGY: Does your strategy take advantage of or leverage relevant elements of your firm’s broader capabilities? For example, does a business unit have strengths that can be used by another group? Does your employment brand have superpowers to help in other areas?
In my next post, we’ll review quality control for marketing implementation.