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Strategy and Program Planning

While we would agree that "strategic" is arguably the most overworked word in the business marketplace, there is no substitute for good planning.

Determining the best direction to take in planning a speech or brochure can often be achieved through a short conversation and an email or two. But complex marketing initiatives require a more thorough planning process.

In larger organizations with diverse interests and agendas, using a coordinated planning exercise can make all the difference in the success or failure of a new marketing initiative. This is especially true in the creation of a corporate website.

Beginning to understand how such a process should proceed is often best determined through a brief survey process engaging both departmental level and senior management. A number of important questions will need to be answered, then reconciled to a shared vision of what needs to be achieved. Among them:

  • Who will the site serve?
  • Will the site serve multiple areas of interest beside that of the company, such as vendors, customers and allied organizations?
  • What role will the new site (or sites) play in the day-to-day life of the company?
  • What are the expectations of corporate and/or divisional leaders with regard to the utility of the site in its "first state?"
  • Will the site be content rich, highly transactional, straightforward or graphically rich?
  • In mapping out the design of the new site, who are the stakeholders whose needs determine its content areas and functional role?
  • Now, or in the future, will the site need to have "hooks" into real time supply chain or customer management applications?
  • Will site development services, such as design and coding, be provided by the client or vendor?
  • Will current design considerations support future site development plans, so that site enhancements can be implemented with reasonable ease?

It is vital that senior management, as well as line and departmental managers, engage in the pre-development planning process. While implementation leadership usually resides at the department level, the CEO or CMO is often the arbiter of a website's look and feel, as well as functional issues.

Another issue is the willingness of organizations to "process the process" of site development. Candidly, we favor a developmental approach that allows for the reality of the day-to-day to penetrate the work, so that wrong directions and false deadlines are avoided.

Sorting out complex marketing options with a seasoned, knowledgeable marketer who brings a working knowledge of media and methods to the table often yields unanticipated benefits.

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Copyright 2002, 2014 The Golden Group.
The Golden Group is a marketing, creative and Web services firm located in the Metrowest area of Greater Boston, Massachusetts.

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