To use a dog analogy….marketing is not the head of the organizational dog…..but it’s not the tail either. Which means marketing strategy FOLLOWS or supports the overall business strategy not the other way around.
To start the marketing strategy process you first need to know what the key business goals and strategy is for the company. To know that means the CEO or executive team, depending on the size of your organization, has articulated what the strategy is in terms of business objectives and strategic imperatives. Without that information a good marketing manager can’t reasonably put together a marketing plan/strategy that supports the overall business.
Marketing managers can’t operate in a vacuum. There MUST be a free flow of information from the top down in order to ensure the operational groups are all aligned to where the CEO wants to take the business. To use another analogy, the crew of a sailboat can’t effectively trim the sails and set a proper tack if they don’t know where they’re headed. No more analogies, I promise.
For new or inexperienced marketing managers/directors it can be a daunting task to ask the CEO or management team for this direction, if it’s not readily available, but it’s a critical piece of information that all the operational teams need.
Once you have a good understanding of the strategic imperatives you can craft a plan that supports them. Otherwise you risk developing a plan and having it shot down because it’s “off strategy”. Making sure your marketing efforts are tightly aligned to the business priorities is a key success factor.