Think SPS

Those who succeed understand the strategy of the game... name is Stuart. In 25-plus years in the marketing/communications industry I have seen a lot change.

I have played a role in businesses that have seen great successes, and I have played a role in businesses that have failed, or at least failed to meet or address huge opportunities right in front of us. I think it is important for my clients to understand that I have seen and learned valuable lessons from both sets of experiences. What many people in my field do today is only preach what TO do and not place an equal emphasis on what NOT to do, or let happen.

My quick backstory is that I've always been a designer/artist at heart, so that is why I gravitated toward a study of graphic design and illustration in college. As a graphic designer I found myself creating brochures and materials for my employer's clients that looked great, but had no chance of actually producing sales/results of any substance. The look was on, but the messaging was off. It wasn't long before I started making recommendations and "how about this instead" suggestions to our clients that made an impact on the effectiveness of the promo-piece, and their bottom line. I learned a lot from these early experiences and it shapes much of how I work today.

In the present, I find myself in more of an art director role when working with designers by supplying a Tactical creative "blueprint" of what needs to go where for the client's print, web, broadcast and other collateral materials. And my role is more of a coach and "marketing architect" that pulls all of the players together into a more cohesive and focused team in order to run the plays that will get us all across the goal line, or as a conductor that gets all the musicians playing the same song...with feeling.

I am a firm believer in and teacher/facilitator of these two core principles:

1. Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan. You must start/re-start with a Strategic Plan that is inclusive of a Tactical Plan. In short, a plan/structure that defines WHERE you want to go with an outline of HOW you are going to get there. To put it another way, once you know where you are going it is much easier to pack for the trip and pull out of the driveway excited and with purpose.

2. Content is King. Your message is what makes the matter what it is you are selling. Your message forms and leaves an impression that you will either build upon, or find yourself fighting to overcome. Like it or not, It defines you. How do prospective customers rank you among the competition? Do you unknowingly come off as wishy-washy? Do you look and read as competent in your field? Doing it right can be tricky, and doing it wrong can be disastrous.

So why did I name this company "Strategic Planning Specialists"? The primary reason is because a Strategic Plan and approach should be the FIRST concern of every business; before marketing, sales, advertising, communications...anything. Anything less is placing Tactics before Strategy and that is dangerous ground to tread. Remember that approximately 80 percent of new businesses fail and I'm betting this is a primary factor in many of those failures.

Is SPS a one-man show? It can be, but that is rarely the case. In my years I have developed a comprehensive range of associates who all have specialized skill sets and play well-defined roles. If a client's need calls for their particular expertise, then I will add them to the team. In the typical agency model, the client will be charged an overhead percentage to cover the salaries and associated costs of having specialized talent on-staff - whether the client needs them or not - and may very well mark-up their hours again before the invoice goes out. In the SPS "virtual agency" model, subject matter experts are called upon when needed and their fees are not marked up one or more times. In the end, this is much more cost effective and allows the client better access to more qualified assistance.

So, that's a little of the "About Us" backstory for Strategic Planning Specialists. If you believe SPS can provide a level of assistance for your company or product, just drop an e-mail to me at your convenience and let's talk.

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