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Strategic Planning – Execution Before Strategy?

Strategic Planning

With over 23 years of business with so many different companies, we’ve seen a lot of great, and we’ve seen a lot of not-so-great. One of the keys to success that is great, is when we see Strategic Planning for Growth. The context for this is usually growing or adding a business division or initiative that has some level of sales increase for contribution margin. And with the work Sound Press does in e-commerce, sales, and marketing, we usually and heavily planning in those areas, but able to speak to other connected pieces such as operations, HR and staffing, and financial modeling. Here are four areas we’d like to highlight on those topic.

Execution Before Strategy?

We ended up cleaning up a lot of things at Sound Press. One of the most common areas where we clean up is when there have been efforts running with no strategy. We see this with marketing managers trying to dip their toe into paid digital marketing campaigns, where there are NO tracking efforts for ROI. We see this with social media efforts that are done ad hoc with no long-term planning, no tagging, tracking, or reporting to know what is of value. We see this with e-commerce efforts where we get phone calls to improve some effort that a company has had hanging out there that just hasn’t moved the needle.

We are all for trying things out, piloting programs, and rapid prototyping. Absolutely. But even those efforts need strategy, planning, support, budget allocation, and time allocation of people and resources. For example, taking on a project to build out a specific program to serve a customer could turn into something that could be leveraged into a new line of business. Finding a pilot program successful can turn into a rollout of a great working business model. Having a rapid prototype, especially in software builds under an agile methodology, can be hugely valuable for knowing what should continue, or change while preserving the financial efficacy of being able to change things before they are further down the road. It’s a lot easier to change a room on a blueprint than changing a room after the house is built.

Generally, though, execution before strategy is not the best idea. One of the most important pieces of success is measuring outcomes, goals, and ROI. In digital marketing in B2C e-commerce, that could also be literally measuring ROAS, or Return on Ad Spend – to know if an effort is profitable when all is said and done. That success tracking or measurement is often a main piece that is missing when we see execution before strategy. When doing ecom B2C it’s vital that efforts, either human capital or financial investment, are tracked. When doing brand promotion and content work, knowing how to look back and measure results, traffic, views, engagement, and all those metrics, those provide guidance on what else should and could be continued.

A last aspect of this execution before the strategy topic to mention is the failure of accountability. If there are no metrics, goal tracking, or ROI reporting, there is also often no accountability for efforts. If no one cares to look at reporting, it can make those doing the executing either feel like there’s nothing inherently wrong with anything they are doing, so they continue, or it can make them feel like it may not matter what they are doing. We’ve seen efforts go stale, and we’ve seen some frustrated people being tasked with what is perceived as not having much value but is necessary.

Help your team members and stakeholders by looking subjectively with care at the people doing the work, and objectively by looking at the effort and its ROI. Execution before strategy is rarely a great idea, so if you have found things in this bucket you think we can help with, give us a call. We see this very often and come alongside and help pivot these efforts into something fruitful. Or we might take it around the back side of the barn and shoot it. Either way, happy to discuss as needed.

What Distributors Are Doing Right

Basic Digital Footprint – Why Digital Marketing and an Online Presence are Crucial for Automotive Distributors

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the automotive industry is no exception to the rule that businesses must adapt to thrive. As automotive distributors, your success hinges on your ability to connect with customers effectively, and that’s where digital marketing and an online presence come into play. Digital marketing allows you to extend your reach far beyond your physical location. By leveraging online platforms, you can engage potential customers locally and globally.

Traditional marketing methods like print ads and billboards can be costly. Digital marketing, on the other hand, offers various free or cost-effective options such as social media advertising, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and email marketing.

One free option for increasing your digital marketing footprint is to create and maintain a “Google My Business” profile. Google My Business helps you appear in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find your business when they search for automotive distributors near them. Your Google business profile also allows for customers to leave good (or bad) reviews. Positive reviews on your Google business profile can significantly boost your reputation and attract more customers.

Ensure your Google My Business profile contains accurate information, such as your address, phone number, and business hours. This helps customers know when and where they can reach you. You’ll also want to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews to help build your online credibility.

In addition to a healthy Google business profile, a well-designed website is your digital storefront that allows visitors 24/7 accessibility. Potential customers can browse your products and services at any time, even outside regular business hours. A professional website also instills trust in potential customers. It’s often the first place they go to learn more about your business, its history, and its offerings. A website can also allow you to showcase your automotive inventory with high-quality product images and detailed descriptions. This can also be a powerful tool for attracting and informing customers.

The automotive distribution industry is undergoing a digital transformation, and to stay competitive, embracing digital marketing and establishing a strong online presence through a website and Google My Business profile is essential. These tools not only help you reach a broader audience but also build credibility, trust, and engagement with your customers.

Shift your digital marketing into high gear and embark on the journey towards digital marketing success for your warehouse – Sound Press can help. Call us today!

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Car Parts Warehouse and Digital Marketing in the 21st Century

Car Parts Warehouse, boasting 20+ warehouse locations in the Cleveland OH area, is a shining example of what digital marketing in the 21st century should look like for an automotive warehouse distributor.

In the fast-paced world of automotive parts distribution, staying ahead of the competition is crucial. Car Parts Warehouse (CPW) has been a leader in forward-thinking digital marketing practices and success since Tony G Di Fiore, son of CPW founder Tony Di Fiore Sr took over marketing in 2,000 and later took over as CEO/president. In recent years CPW has improved and transformed its marketing efforts, achieving increased online visibility and traffic through a strategic combination of website, video, and B2B e-commerce marketing.

First impressions matter, and CPW knew that their website was often the first touchpoint for potential clients. They invested in a custom website design that not only showcased their extensive product manufacturer range but also conveyed their commitment to high-quality parts, fast delivery, and customer service. The new website was built on the WordPress platform which offers many SEO-friendly features and is easy to edit. The website’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for customers to browse the catalog of parts, access monthly promotions, find the nearest warehouse, preview the brand line card, log into various e-commerce portals, and have access to other valuable resources. The sleek and responsive design boosts brand credibility and makes navigation a breeze.

Understanding the power of visual content in the digital age, CPW has also fully embraced video marketing. With the help of an experienced production team, CPW produced high-quality video content showcasing customer case studies, employee testimonials, and manufacturer relationships. These videos not only serve as valuable resources for their customers but also help in SEO efforts, as video content often ranks higher in search results. With engaging videos, CPW connects with its audience on a deeper level, building trust and loyalty.

CPW recognized the growing demand for seamless online ordering experiences among their mostly B2B clients. They implemented a proprietary B2B e-commerce website, through Sound Press’ “Hometab” program, that allows customers to log in, view personalized product recommendations and view current promotions. The portal streamlines the ordering process, reducing direct phone or retail sales and saving customers valuable time. Furthermore, the website’s traffic analytics provide valuable insights into customer behavior, enabling CPW to tailor their marketing efforts more effectively.

CPW’s success story serves as a testament to the transformative power of modern digital marketing strategies. By investing in an updated and custom WordPress website design, engaging video content creation, and a user-friendly B2B e-commerce website, they not only improved their marketing efforts but also strengthened their position as an industry leader in the Cleveland area. CPW is a prime example of the importance of staying innovative and customer-centric in today’s competitive automotive business landscape.

Did You Know?

Adam Smith - Founder of Sound Press

Adam Smith Adam Smith is the founder and principal of Sound Press, a Digital Growth Agency employing a full life-cycle marketing approach when partnering with their clients. Sound Press, founded in 2000, is a leading Cincinnati-based marketing agency building brands and executing digital strategy for companies ranging from $10M to $2B+ and Fortune 500 class.

Adam is called on as a guest speaker to business leadership groups presenting on business growth, and the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. Sound Press is known for creating brands and brand strategy, digital strategy & advertising, e-commerce strategy and execution in B2B and B2C, marketing campaigns, and web application development in B2B, manufacturing, automotive, and multiple other industries. Sound Press’s larger clients include General Motors, eBay, Icahn Enterprises, Canadian Tire, and TriHealth. As an entrepreneur, he is a consultant to start-ups and accelerators, a ten+ year Vistage veteran, and is an active private equity investor and member of Keiretsu Forum.

Also a classically trained musician, Adam leverages creativity by blending creative and technical aspects of business growth. His most rewarding music performance was being able to perform in Carnegie Hall with his daughter. He lives in Cincinnati OH with his wife and two children. Adam serves on corporate, advisory, and non-profit boards.

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