Melissa Stanz, a local marketing consultant,guidedour start-up company (Trusted Sharing) through a strategic marketing process. Her method usually involves two in person half-day sessions leading team members and advisors through a series of questions to help the group come up with the basic elements of a plan. In the first session, they articulate a Vision, Mission, and a set of Core Values; and in the second session, they identify the Target Market Groups, Benefits and messages for each market group, their Competition, and key Marketing Strategies.
WHAT We engaged in a series of online marketing conversations before and after an in person conversation with a smaller subset of the online group. Our consultant setup two online sessions with 15 advisors prior to and after a seven-person day-long conversation.
WHEN Fall, 2015
WHERE Asheville, N.C.
WHO A local consultant Melissa Stanz, working with Trusted Sharing.
Our company liked this approach and suggested we add a Trusted Sharing flex-time conversation before each live session, and she agreed to try that. Together we designed the two asynchronous conversations so that each set of questions (e.g., related to Vision, Mission, and Core Values, etc.) was contained in a separate section of the conversation called a Host Post.
Everyone contributed valuable ideas in the asynchronous conversations and the consultant’s skillful questioning guided the group through the process in each section. Her 20 years of experience with strategic planning elicited the kind of information necessary to generate an effective marketing plan. It was also very helpful to invite participants several days before the start of the Trusted Sharing conversation, and then to remind people on the starting date. We made a point of allowing enough time for the group to answer each new set of questions, and to come back and read others’ replies. In our case, we allotted 3-4 days for each type of questionplus a couple of days at the end.
On the day of the half-day live session following the first Trusted Sharing conversation, 7 people showed up -- team members and advisors – including 1 advisor participating by video from the West Coast. And of course, we included all of the contributions made by the larger group during the asynchronous Trusted Sharing conversation. Melissa then guided us through a very effective process which combineda wide range of contributions from the asynchronous Trusted Sharing conversation, and then grouped those and came up with a final draft for our Vision, Mission, and Core Values.
We then repeated the process with a second Trusted Sharing conversation and follow-up live session working on the next set of questions related to target markets, benefit messages, competition, and key strategies.
We also posted and discussed the results from our live sessions in an asynchronous feedback conversation so those that were not able to attend the live sessions could comment on the finished product.
Results and Benefits:
Our group observedfive main benefitsfrom adding a Trusted Sharing conversation prior to each live group session:
This is a great example of how Trusted Sharing can add valuebefore, in-between and after same-time group events.With Trusted Sharing’s new “Template” feature it is very easy for a facilitator or consultant to replicate a successful conversation by saving and re-using the same basic structure and process for a new set of clients.