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Strategic Planning – Execution Before Strategy?

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 Manufacturers Are Doing Right

The Importance of Promoting Your Brand

The Importance of Promoting Your Brand – Why Automotive Manufacturers Should Embrace Online Brand Promotion

In the dynamic landscape of the automotive industry, building and maintaining a strong brand presence is essential for success. Today, the digital realm offers a unique opportunity for automotive manufacturers to connect with their target audience and achieve brand growth. Here’s why promoting your brand online, both directly and through distributors, is a strategy you can’t afford to overlook:

By promoting your brand directly online, you can reach a global audience without geographic limitations. Direct online promotion ensures that your brand message and image remain consistent across all digital touchpoints. This consistency helps build trust and recognition among your customers. Your website can serve as a comprehensive showcase for your entire product range. High-quality images, detailed specifications, and informative content can help customers make informed decisions, driving sales and brand loyalty.

Through social media, email marketing, and other online channels, you can engage directly with your customers. Responding to inquiries, addressing concerns, and actively participating in online conversations can enhance your brand’s reputation and customer satisfaction.

Additionally, partnering with distributors who sell (and ultimately promote) your brand online can significantly extend your reach. Distributors have customer bases and often have established online networks that can amplify your brand’s visibility. Distributors will have a deeper understanding of local markets and customer preferences. Leveraging their expertise and connections can help tailor your brand promotion to specific regions and demographics effectively. Targeted promotions can include monthly or quarterly sales goals or specific product category specials for your distributors’ clients.

The automotive industry’s digital transformation underscores the importance of online brand promotion. By promoting your brand both directly and through distributors, you can maximize your reach, maintain brand consistency, engage with customers, and leverage local expertise. Embracing a holistic online promotion strategy will not only drive brand growth but also solidify your position in an increasingly competitive market.

In The News

Defeat Emission Guidelines - End up in Jail - Read and Beware

From idahonews.com  – A company installed some diesel defeat devices, got fined, and could be going to jail. Take a read and be aware and warned.

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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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