The following is an excerpt from the Amazon bestseller 42 Rules of Marketing by Laura Lowell.
After much observation and questioning, I have come to classify marketing people into two groups: Planners and Doers. This may seem a stereotype, and it probably is, but bear with me. Most people I talk to can definitely place themselves into either one camp or the other.
The Planners: You know these folks. They are endearing for their need to always “have a plan.” They think, analyze, request more data and then reassess their assessment. Then something changes—ugh! After a moment of panic and deep breathing, they get to work. They go back to the plan and test their assumptions, review their contingencies and are quite proud to report that the plan is still workable “with a few tweaks.”
These folks plan and plan and plan but actually don’t do very much. Planners are important and we need them. Without them the Doers would be running around like chickens with their heads cut off! Remember the hit series Friends? The character Monica, played by Courtney Cox, was the epitome of a Planner. She had her life planned out from the time she was 12 years old. Not only did she plan her life, but her friends’ lives as well. Everyone loved Monica because she was practical and you could always count on her to “have a plan.”
The Doers: These folks, on the other hand, must be doing something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what they do as long as they are “moving the needle” and “making progress.” They have great ideas, and are excited and energetic. They are generally fun to be around. Because of the infectious spirit of the Doers, others jump on the bandwagon and everyone starts doing things.
The issue is whether the Doers are doing the right things. Are they consistent with the strategy and business objectives? Are they integrating with other activities going on? Are their activities repeatable? Can they grow over time? Back to the Friends example—Phoebe, as opposed to Monica was the quintessential Doer. She did whatever came to mind, whenever it came to mind. Everyone loved Phoebe because she was spontaneous and full of energy.
The point is, you need both Planners and Doers in order to get things done. Not everyone can walk the tightrope between planning and doing. And that’s the biggest issue—the lack of balance between strategy and tactics. Thanks to the Planners, companies can develop brilliant strategies— on paper at least.
Thanks to the Doers, companies can spend a lot of time and money without much to show for it. What the lucky ones quickly learn is that developing a strategy is very different from executing one.
When companies try to implement their strategies, they run into obstacles such as channels, partners, technology, infrastructure, competition, or lack of resources. The reverse is also true. Companies can spend so much time executing that they lose sight of the business objective.For example, they might end up with an awesome website, but no incremental sales (See Rule 2.) To be valuable, strategy must be practical, and tactics must be integrated.
Planners and Doers tend to have difficulty connecting the dots between their plans (strategies, objectives, etc.) and their actions (tactics or activities). Lots of time, resources and money get wasted. This is a luxury of days gone by and one that business today can’t afford.
My Mom used to tell me “if you slow down, you’ll go faster” and she was right. How many times do you wish you’d just taken a minute to think something through before you jumped in? How about you? Are you a planner or a doer or maybe a little of both?