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Best-in-class (BIC) marketers excel at alignment and accountability: They know to align with the business outcomes that matter to the C-suite, and they know what to accordingly measure. (To learn about the research behind that claim, see results from VEM's 2015 marketing performance management study or view the summary.)

Just about five years ago, marketing consultant Simon Sinek introduced his concept of "The Golden Circle," which has three rings:

  1. Why: This is the core belief of the business. It's why the business exists.
  2. How: This is how the business fulfills that core belief.
  3. What: This is what the company does to fulfill that core belief.

Sinek posits that most companies do their marketing backwards: i.e., starting with "What" they are going to do (events, content, etc.) and then moving to "How" they do it (what channels they use). His primary point: start with "Why."

And we wholeheartedly concur. BIC marketers start with business outcomes, because business outcomes answer the question "Why?"

With so many marketers in the thick of marketing planning, now is a good time to revisit how to apply both the Golden Circle and the best-practices of alignment and accountability to ensure your 2016 marketing efforts make a difference for the business.

How to Apply the Golden Circle Concept to Your Marketing Plan

1. Start with Why

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM