The Fun Of Strategic Thinking And Planning

by Jason Falls |

There’s a 96-inch long white board in my office. It is where I collect my thoughts for specific projects as I’m writing, planning or producing them. It is currently full of lists and reminders for a client’s digital marketing and social media strategic plan. I go through notes from client meetings, make lists of potential strategics or tactics, throw broad concepts and ideas up, enumerate client concerns, brand values and relevant research and then I study the board for a while.

As I was doing so last night I realized a picture of the board might be helpful for those of you out there working on strategic plans for your organization. No, we don’t all think or process information similarly, but when I see how someone else does it, I always get an idea or two. So here’s my board:

Jason Falls's White Board for Strategic Thinking and Planning

For obvious reasons, I made the image small and even blurred some of the words, but look at what you can read:

When I see the image, the first few things that pop off for me are these words:

  • Goals
  • Target
  • Business Goal
  • Primary Concerns
  • SEO
  • Insights
  • Core Values
  • Content
  • Needs

No, you can’t read all those because of the resolution of the image, but those are the items that pop off the board to me. There are other ideas and concepts there, tucked away in the greens and oranges and blues. (No, there’s no system to my color coding other than to separate ideas from one another.) But the important things I think about have little to do with blogs or Facebooks or even monitoring solutions. I’m focused on the task at hand: what are the client’s goals, who are they talking to, what do they want to say and what does success look like for them?

Whether or not analysts, social media bloggers or even my friends on Twitter think my client work is innovative or pioneering or even good at all matters not. The only person whose opinion does is the client. This is what I focus on when I’m writing strategic plans or thinking about overall strategies for the people I work with as a digital marketing consultant.

What about you? What do you focus on? How do you think and process? Do share. We’ll all be better for it.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).