When did we forget about strategy?

Does anybody on the digital media scene pay attention to strategy?  Or, are we so determined to lead our clients into social media nirvana that we dance right over that little detail?

Joseph Jaffe, a regular on Mitch Joel’s wonderful Six Pixels podcast series, recently provided a passionate argument for his point that digital agencies seem to have abandoned the idea of strategy.  He would know. He recently served as a judge for a national digital strategy competition and said it was an exercise in picking the least bad submission. “There was nothing there,” he said. “No strategy. No meat on the bones at all.”

This reflects my experience with many clients too. Somehow we got caught up in plastering the world with Facebook pages and lost sight of the true purpose of our business: Create shareholder value through a differentiated — and truly strategic — business proposition.

How are you trying to create strategic competitive advantage?
  • Cut costs?
  • More advertising?
  • Work longer hours?
  • Create a Twitter account?

All of these tactics might provide short-term gains … but they’re not really strategic.  You can’t cut your way to success or even tweet your way to success and your competitors are probably trying to do the same thing, aren’t they? So if they are, how is this going to create ADVANTAGE for YOU?

There is only one way to create competitive advantage in the long-term:

Listen to your customers more effectively and respond more rapidly than your competitors.

That’s it.

I’ve just saved you a ton of money on business books and consultants because every successful business strategy is based on this idea. Every great product innovation has this concept at its foundation.

And it is a continuous process!  Don’t ever assume you know what’s going on with your customers with the speed that the market can shift.  Embrace your customers. Keep listening! Keep responding! Keep innovating! That is the core of strategy.

What has your experience been? Is your company really focused on strategy or quick fixes?

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