As we prepared to launch Plan Canvas, a bootstrapped passion project led by subject matter and technical experts, none of who had a clue about marketing and public relations, we began thinking about how to truly position ourselves in the market.
Plan Canvas’ origins are in the book Business is ART (Articulate, Revise, Track), which makes it clear that there is a distinction between strategic planning and strategic management.
How to differentiate
So, from the start, Plan Canvas has never been about “develop a one-and-done business plan” even though the prevailing sentiment erroneously assumes that is exactly all a business plan is – one-and-done. Instead, Plan Canvas has always been about executing to and revising the plan as you move along. That is where the real benefit of planning is realized.
So rather than being a simpler business planning tool in a saturated market, we knew we had to position ourselves differently because we are genuinely different.
As an unknown startup with limited means to reach large numbers of potential customers, we were excited (and somewhat shocked) to accept an invitation to meet with representatives from technology research firm Gartner, who had come across Plan Canvas through our humble and limited content marketing efforts.
Should Gartner decide at some point to review Plan Canvas in greater detail, it would be a tremendous honor because Gartner is a major influencer.
A Eureka Moment
In the meantime, they provided us with the perfect answer to our question – how do we position ourselves in the market?
The answer is that Plan Canvas fits into an emerging market of Strategic Execution Management, or SEM, tools. At a very high level you can think of SEM as the bringing together of business/strategic planning and project portfolio management (PPM) – with a focus on communication and the achievement of measurable results.
From Gartner’s perspective, SEM tools support the process of ART-ful strategy execution in several ways, including, but not limited to:
- Visualizing the organization’s strategies, goals, missions, objectives, plans, projects, etc – Articulate
- Prioritizing any continuing, upcoming and in-flight investments relative to strategies – Articulate, Revise
- Continuous planning and project investments – Articulate, Revise
- Capturing actual metrics – Track
Plan Canvas does this and more, including the additional elements of Gartner’s definition of SEM.
We’re getting there
And so we carry on with our journey to put Plan Canvas in the hands of those who stand to benefit from its use – but now with a renewed sense of who we truly are.
Step 1: Build and validate the product – CHECK!
Step 2: Determine the market position – CHECK!
Step 3: Determine appropriate market messaging and introductions to influencers – WORKING ON IT!