Bottom Up vs Top Down
It's a great philosophical, business debate when "bottom up" and "top down" thinkers argue the relative importance of
Tactics vs Strategies. Thousands of market strategists are graduated
from business schools each year carrying forth "big picture, top-down thinking." Let's face it... no one goes to B-School
to become a "bottom-up" thinker, or tactician.
So, if the best schools teach "top-down" thinking, it's understandable how other people must view it as important.
I agree that it is necessary. But, I think that its importance is situational... more by industry than philosophy.
As a once "top-down" thinker who has been rounded by business realities, I'm now a Tactical Marketier(tm), consulting from
the "bottom up."
Today, I live by simple truths: The First Truth is...
The best strategic plan, unexecuted, is worse
than the worst strategic plan, well executed.
This is true because humans, with all of their intelligence, are still iterative beings that seldom, if ever,
"get-it-right" the first time. Therefore, they must learn from their failures. In business, as in life, the test
is often given before the lesson.
So, if... "Practice Makes Perfect," then "Execution Makes Excellence!"
Companies do not fail because there is no dream, vision, goal, or strategic plan -- however defined. The established
and entrepreneurial business world abounds with these sugarplums. Nor do firms fail due to poor execution.
Companies fail due to no execution... at all... in critical areas.
This leads to my Second Truth...
There's a fatal flaw in the maxim,
"Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan,"
if one works only what is planned.
Referencing our First Truth, we know that the act of doing corrects the act of planning. It must... This is the
essence of discovery. And it's always costly. Ironically, the discovered "laws" are usual quite simple once the
core knowledge has been uncomplicated by experiential insight. This has been true for the launch of flight as it has
been for the launch of products. And the validation of this statement is the number of yearly product failures... despite
billion of dollars having been spent in market research.
This leads to my Third Truth...
One can't "armchair" marketing. It's a full-contact sport
which requires a seller to open the buyer's wallet during an
exchange of value... not just their minds in a focus group.
The scorecard of strategic growth reflects the successful execution of this tactical play...
Over... And over... And over.
"Marketing Tactics Make Corporate
It's Not Vice Versa... Period!