Several years ago a friend, who also happens to be a law firm consultant, wrote that amid practice synergies, profits-per-partner and a preoccupation with size, shared aspirations was the (often missing) ingredient most central to a partnership realizing its full potential.

A few years later, in the midst of significant change in the legal industry (where I spend my professional hours), I’m wondering why it never dawned on me that shared goals and values might be the missing link in otherwise strategically sound marketing and business development plans.

In my experience, the specific goals of a marketing strategy can vary widely – from measurably better brand recognition, to an increase in the value of shareholder equity this year, to a quantifiably higher client loyalty score.Which goal is most important depends on who is setting priorities.How to evaluate various goals and set appropriate properties is a worthwhile discussion…but the subject of another post as opposed to the discussion at hand.

For purposes of this discussion the difficulty comes when factions of a marketing organization either don’t agree on or don’t have a clear understanding of the definitive end game.

When understood, the job of every functional area of a marketing organization becomes clear.And so does the criteria for success.

By contrast, a marketing communication team might create award-winning materials that completely miss a high-priority target.A client feedback program can yield glowing reports of satisfaction while never assessing client loyalty – and prove of little value when “satisfied clients” move their business.Without understanding the role of data and research, a CRM or CI team member may believe their job is about policing data or emptying a research queue.

Never mind the disconnect that occurs when one member of a management team is focused on twelve months hence while another’s highest priority is this quarter’s bottom-line.

Effective marketing strategies insure that before we begin, we understand where the plan is designed to take us.