How not to leap into tactics when so many bright, shiny, cool ones are within your reach

Like today’s consumers, today’s marketers have more choices at their fingertips when it comes to tactics. At a click of a button, it’s easy to tweet, post, share or broadcast your message to the world. Some people may find the urge to share, pin or publish difficult to stifle. With so many tactics around, it’s easy to dive right in without thinking about strategy. “Why does it matter? It’s cheap. It takes minutes. It’s instant,” some might say. But strategy matters in today’s world, just as much as it did 25 years ago.

While one-off tweets and posts may meet immediate objectives, it’s important to start with the goals first, strategy next and then move on to the tactics. Why? While a given online tactic may be relatively easy, quick and cheap to do, marketers have to stop and think. Ask a series of questions: “What do I hope to achieve? Is this the best way to meet my objectives? Am I trying to generate loyalty, drive awareness or drive revenue? What is the content that will be most appealing to my audience that will also meet my goals? What is the right mix of strategies and tactics to meet those goals with the resources we have? How can we plan and execute on them so that they work together to help us get the most impact from our marketing resources?”
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Convinced and ready to get started? Here are a few tips to start with strategy in mind:

      1. Start with the objectives. What are the top 3-5 business and marketing objectives for your organization for the next time period? If you have more than five objectives, take another look. You need to prioritize and determine what is the most critical for the time period you are planning for.
      2. Consider the strategies. Determine how you’re going to achieve the objectives at a high level. Ask yourself: “Now that I know my objectives, what are the best 3-5 strategies to get us there?”
      3. Finally, identify the best tactics that will support your objectives and that will work together to make a bigger impact. These are the social plans, content pieces, lead generation efforts, offers, etc. that you do every day. Even if you are working on a large team, develop your plans as a team and ensure that creative, timing, messaging and content are working together across multiple tactics to help meet the goals.

      It’s not easy to plan this way — especially in larger organizations where you may be able to execute on some tactics more quickly than you can collaborate on a plan, but working together on a strategy with supporting tactics will pay off. It’s the marketing equivalent of Aristotle’s quote: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

So take the time early, start with the goals, determine how to achieve them (through strategy) and then develop content, creative, messaging and offers that can be extended across multiple tactics. The hard work that you do up front will pay off and might make you a better marketer, too.

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About the Author

Jaynie Degnan, Customer Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Hewlett-PackardJaynie Degnan is a tech marketer focused on the SMB, consumer and education audiences. She loves working on small teams and finds that her breadth of marketing experience allows her to wear a lot of hats. Jaynie has her MBA from the University of Washington, Foster School of Business and is always eager to learn about the latest marketing and strategy tools and techniques. When not working, Jaynie enjoys all that Austin has to offer from the outdoors to listening to live music as well as spending time with her family and cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Connect with Jaynie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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