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We see this all the time 'running around like your hair is on fire.' Sometimes companies get so caught up in one everyone else is doing that they just start reacting to the competition and totally ignore the customers! It takes a great deal of discipline to keep laser focused on your customers while keeping a peripheral view of the competitive landscape. Ironically, if you focus on your customers and exceed their expectations all the time, everytime, you'll have to worry less and less about what your competition is doing.

I like your analogy, Joe. We were talking last night at a round table presentation about a live consulting projects the MBA students I coach are working on. Their client has no idea of who the company's customers are. Before everyone gasps in shock, I confess I've heard that more often than I can remember.

The whole business gets set up to find new customers and gives less and less thought to their current ones. Yet, over and over, we find that there's where a business sweet spot is - with its customers.

Hi Valeria,

"Strategic planning" in marketing, advertising, operations or any other function isn't a rolling resource budget applied as evenly as possible.

Like trying to get a tablespoon of peanut butter on a loaf of bread, budgets get spread too thin, resulting in less-than-great sandwiches (products). What if there was guidance as to what the clients wanted, and larger portions of peanut butter (budget) applied to fewer slices of bread (projects)? THAT would make GREAT sandwiches (products).

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