YA Strategic Planning Sets Path for Our and Our Clients’ Success

by: Chris Behrens, President and CEO

As YA enters its fourth year under my leadership, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together in such a short time. One of the keys to our success has been our strategic planning process. It serves as a strong foundation and guiding light that allows our team to align around key priorities to meet client needs and to grow our business profitably. With that strong foundation, we can prove that we aren’t just talking about being a leader in digital promotional marketing…that we’re living it every day.

Our philosophy is to take a fine-tuned approach to understand our clients’ marketing needs and requirements. Our goal is to do everything necessary to remain relevant and offer solutions that help them meet their marketing objectives. To ensure we’re doing that, we take stock of where we are with ongoing client feedback through annual market studies and stay on top of market trends by being active in our industry and conducting proprietary consumer research. Our clients appreciate our culture of continuous-improvement which ensures we are helping them stay ahead of the competition.  By staying on top of market changes, and by communicating our commitment to ongoing improvement we become a business partner and remain relevant.

Strategic planning

As I write this post, we are closing in on the end of 2016 and have completed our 2017-19 strategic plan. That process begins with our annual client market study, conducted in May and June. That study is the foundation of our client-centric approach, and helps drive our ability to offer practical, executable solutions that continue to meet our clients’ needs. Armed with the results of that study, we begin our strategic planning process with the entire management team and their direct reports. Together, we define our strategic initiatives that will support our strategic plan for the next three years, with a specific emphasis on the upcoming 12-month period. The focus of those initiatives is tight, with a final selection of the top five or six initiatives that will allow us to scale our business profitability and meet our clients’ requirements.

Tying goals to budgets

As the year progresses, we closely track our progress against stated goals for the year and refine our objectives and initiatives for the next year as we gain a clearer picture of the success we’ve had and where additional focus is needed. This culminates in November as we finalize the strategic plan, supporting initiatives and operating budget. It’s important that our budget is directly tied to work defined in the strategic plan.

Thought leadership

While all this work certainly helps ensure our team is grounded on achieving the same priorities and focused on the top initiatives, it has significant benefit for our clients as well. Our continual market research and benchmarking, positions us as experts in our field which means we can deliver thought leadership that our clients can look to for a better understanding and solutions to their business and vertical market needs, as well as more broadly based understandings of the promotional marketing landscape in general.

It’s just one more reason why so many Fortune 500 brands trust YA to help them achieve their marketing objectives. If you’d like to learn more about partnering with industry-leading YA, please contact me to begin the conversation.

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