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Strategy in general is defined as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”.

Military Strategy

Military Strategy is defined by Carl Von Clausewitz as:

“the use of an engagement for the purpose of war”

Carl Von Clausewitz was no Marketeer, but had he been born in our times and not served in any army, he would have been one of the best ever.

Nevertheless he became (together with Sun Tzu) one of the best military strategist ever. His deep study and analysis of war made him create “On War” (probably the best book on military planning ever made) that has influenced not only Military Generals but business planners, marketers, teachers, psychologists and intellectuals of all kinds.

on_war_von_clausewitz

The author defines War as “an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will“(Von Clausewitz, C. (1831) On War) and these acts of force occur in the form of engagements.

When several engagements of a similar nature occur in a short timeframe, we talk about campaigns (sounds familiar).

Are Engagements and Campaigns enough to win a war? No. A bunch of engagements with no purpose, with no long term impact, are just that, engagements, clashes with the enemy without a higher end.

What gives “sense” to campaigns and engagement in a war is the Strategy.

Strategy is the How.

Goals are *easy*: Winning.

Whatever it is: a battle, a war or a market. The goal will be always the same, and anyone can set it. How to achieve that goal, well, that’s something else.

A good Strategy plans the road of success. Will identify the weaknesses and opportunities, maximise the own resources and deploy the best possible engagements and campaigns minimising losses (cost).

In short, a good Strategy will shape the future, not react to it.

Strategy in Business

In our business, just to be clear, we are not fighting a war. Although we use a very militarised vocabulary (campaign, goal, scenario, tactic, target, strong weapons, intelligence, etc..) it’s not a conflict we are fighting and most surely you shouldn’t think about your business like one.

In Marketing Strategy there’s no enemy (not even our competitors) and, definitely, there’s no use of force. That being said, Strategy is still required to achieve the purpose of war, which is in our world, achieving our goals and the business vision.

As Frank Cespedes states:

Strategy is the movement of an organisation from its present position to a desirable but inherently incertain future position

The Strategy in Business and in Marketing is used to make big ideas happen. To plan the details of how a given vision will be accomplished, or how a problem will be solved. How are we going to internationalise our business? How to win in Digital? How to beat a competitor?

Conclusion

If a brand is a promise. The Strategy is the plan to accomplish that promise, and we need an strategy as long as we need a vision to fulfil.

The strategist is the one that creates this plan, based on the experience and the analysis of the own resources and data available, and this strategy needs to be flexible enough to admit changes and pivots

To create a winning strategy we need a strategist. Regardless of the position this person has in the company, it’s the person that has the experience, vision, confidence and ability to plan ahead and anticipate the future.

Want to learn more? Visit the Strategy Academy or check out the Strategy Case Studies section.

Featured picture by 7th Army (CC BY 2.0)

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