Marketing is one of those tricky fields. It bridges the gap between strategy and execution. It’s equally at home either in the Boardroom as an outgrowth of strategy, as it is in the Human Resources Suite, as a compliment to internal culture, and of course, in the Business Development group as a business acquisition plan.
Strategic Marketing Vision Leads to Success
To be successful in marketing means that we have to have vision and foresight, where others may come up short. The best marketing professionals have strategic marketing vision, the ability to take an abstract concept and see it clearly enough that they can imagine a concrete product, fully manifest. The nebulous product idea has to become “real enough” to a marketing professional that we can imagine it in use, know who it will have appeal to, who will be the early adopters, and envision it fully implemented in everyday life.
In short, we have to see it BEFORE anyone else can. But dreaming alone isn’t sufficient either. As marketing professionals, we have to also be individuals of action: establishing plans, publicity, and sales channels, all before it’s actually real. True marketing takes place in those moments of strategic marketing vision.
To really be able to see the strategic marketing vision is often a talent marketers are born with. But it is also a skill that can be honed to ever-greater degrees of refinement.
Enhance Your Strategic Marketing Vision
One of the best ways to enhance your strategic marketing vision is to focus on to seeing farther. To understand what’s happening in the world, helps you to understand what’s happening for your product. To do this, check out futuring sites and pay attention to their findings. (The World Future Society, for instance.) These sites will help you understand the larger context and to frame future trends.
But most of all, you have to contemplate, as Laurens Van der Post artfully describes it:
“The not-yet in the now, the taste of fruit that does not-yet exist,
hanging the blossom on the bough.”
~Laurens Van der Post
To enhance your strategic marketing vision, you have to pay close attention to that “not-yet in the now”. To take Mr. Van der Post’s analogy, we have to extrapolate from that moment when you first notice the cherry blossom on branch, and know that your marketable product, cherries, will appear in just a few short weeks. You have to be able to look at the blossoms and actually taste the cherries. You have to know that they will make an outstanding pie, and that the person(s) you need to be able to sell them to will want to create that pie. You have to understand that to reach the piemaker, you’re going to have to have a message that triggers memories of the most amazing pie they’ve ever had. That the piemaker will frequent fruit stands in the upcoming months, looking for fruit worthy of their pie. And that the piemaker will be plugged into the local Master Gardener’s group in an attempt to source the very best fruit. Finally, your strategic marketing vision will tell you that you will need to advertise in the Master Gardener’s summer issue with an ad promoting cherries for the most luscious pie ever made. That’s what the “not-yet in the now” means. It’s your strategic marketing vision painting the future.
No question, strategic marketing vision takes practice, but if you’re willing, and paying attention, you will be able to create a promotion plan, to buy media, and to create advertisements that will sell those cherries at a premium, when there is no more evidence of their arrival than flowers on a branch. So pay attention to those moments of the not-yet in the now and practice extrapolating your marketing plan, continually doing so will improve your strategic marketing vision.