December 2010


Building a Strategy for Your Function

For many companies, this is the time of the year that the Business Strategy is reviewed and updated. Therefore, the start of a new year is the perfect time to update the strategy for your function — be it HR, IT, Finance, etc. Don�t have one? Than it�s even a better time to create a strategic plan for your realm. Either way, I�ve found that the following 5 Step process is the best way to create a strategic plan that is integrated across the business and establishes a roadmap of initiatives that supports the overall business strategy. (For those of you familiar with Six Sigma, you will notice that this is a take-off from the DMAIC process). I find it to be very effective process that combines aspects of proven continuous improvement, project management and change management principles.

  1. Define — Build the business case for the strategy. Confirm the business driving force, goals, and measures of success and the requirements and expectations the business has of the function. Complete a stakeholder analysis. Begin drafting a charter.
  2. Measure — Assess the present state of your function. Gather stakeholder feedback on the value and effectiveness of the function, review the history on key measures, and determine your total spend in time and money. Assess the function�s capability to handle the change that may be required of the strategy.
  3. Analyze — Based on the define and measure outputs, create the future state of the function. Look for gaps. Generate and analyze options. Prioritize strategic initiatives.
  4. Implement — Build a capability roadmap with priorities, accountabilities, time-frames, resources and expected results. Build the financial plan or budget to support the Plan. Create the final version of the charter. Develop and implement a communication plan covering all the stakeholders identified in the Define stage.
  5. Sustain — Create a plan to sustain improvements. Capture and communicate the value generated through measurement and tracking. Review progress for continuous improvement opportunities.

The Measure step usually takes the most time. Beyond that, the other components can be completed in well-designed and focused discussions with the right people in the room. Whatever the time investment, you will most likely see a clear return based on the increased impact you function has on the business.

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Talent Resolutions for the New Year

As the economy begins to warm, resolve to move your talent management strategy forward in 2011. Here�s my Top Ten List of New Years Talent Resolutions.

  1. Define or revise your talent management strategy (See Building a Strategy for Your Function above)
  2. Revise your leadership competency models to reflect changes in the organization�s direction or strategy.
  3. Measure the capability of your organization�s talent to achieve the 2011 business plan.
  4. Look for ways to differentiate the application of your talent management tools, based on the segmentation of your talent, like an accelerated development process for High Potentials.
  5. Implement an annual review of your organization�s talent tied to the business planning process. If you already do a Talent Review, push it deeper in the organization.
  6. Add a critical talent management objective to every leader�s 2011 objectives.
  7. Assess the potential talent management derailers for your organization and develop a plan to address at least one threat (Click here to learn more about potential Talent Management Derailers)
  8. Develop training or coaching to improve the discussion between managers and key talent at all levels of the organization.
  9. Measure employee engagement as a leading indicator of your organization�s performance. If you�ve measured it in the past, repeat it to track progress or identify new opportunities.
  10. Improve the business impact of a long-standing training or development program. (For some remedies for low-impact training, click here.)

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Mobile Advertising 101

By Taylor Abbett
President, Tailored Marketing, Inc.

It is hard to believe that not long ago many companies did not even have a basic website. At my first advertising agency job I suggested we design and develop websites for our clients. It was a learning experience to see our designers create elaborate designs for websites that were handed off to a technology team who struggled to bring the designs to life. Today, you can go to many retail stores and buy software that allows you to create a website right out of the box. Businesses initially used the web for things that today we would find simplistic. Fast forward today, people spend an enormous part of their day surfing hundreds of websites for either personal or professional reasons. With the advent of cell phones, it was only a matter of time until web technology caught up to give users the same capabilities they enjoyed on their computers on their phones.

The next evolution is how companies are connecting with their existing and future customers through mobile devices. If you recently shopped at Target this holiday season, you probably had a chance to engage with them using your mobile phone. In the near future, cell phones will have almost all the capabilities as a computer. To meet this new demand from consumers and businesses, organizations of all shapes and sizes need to include a mobile marketing strategy — both internally and externally.

To get a better grasp of mobile there are three major categories that all businesses should consider adding to their overall marketing and communication mix:



  • Works on any cell phone and gives the advertiser the ability to send up to 134 characters.
  • Good for sending out reminders, event tips, updates
  • Can be managed from a computer
  • Cost, depends on number of text sent, but average only costs a few cents per text
  • Has a higher response rate than emails or direct mail pieces


  • Permission based
  • Short simple message
  • Not graphical or engaging

Mobile Web:

  • Works on any cell phone with a data plan
  • Can offer the same features as a full website
  • Good for giving information to customers on the go
  • Costs, comparable to the investment for a professional website and increase depending on the amount of customization

Mobile Apps:


  • Works on any cell phone with a data plan
  • Offers a more visual messaging option


  • Consumers are still learning to use the technology
  • Costs, Can be expensive based on the amount of customization

Finally, keep in mind that the three mobile platforms can work together. For example, you could text a client and prompt them to go to a mobile website or application. The usages for mobile continue to grow and it is estimated that mobile advertising will be a $2.3 billion a year industry by 2014. If you haven�t yet thought about how you might use this exciting new media, the time is now.

Taylor Abbett
Tailored Marketing, Inc.
Celebrating 10 years if creative marketing solutions
[email protected]

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