“What’s your marketing strategy?”
“We’re on Facebook and Twitter.”
When clients visit with me, this is what I hear all the time. While Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous in marketing circles, and for good reason, it is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.
Not sure what the difference is between strategy and tactic? Keep reading!
Any marketing campaign has to start with an objective (goal). What is it you want to accomplish? Is it brand awareness? Store or website traffic? Promote an event or sale? Pick one, i.e. website traffic. You may actually gain the benefit of more than one, e.g. in this case website traffic and brand awareness, but focus on one only. Simply stated, your objective is your destination.
Strategy is how you get there. It includes market research, analysis of that research, and a “map” to arrive at your destination. It requires an assessment of how your brand is different and unique versus the competition, how to leverage that differentiation, what are its key benefits, who most benefits, and a focus on the right product/service/promotion mix to achieve growth and profitability. And it most definitely includes a budget to adequately and successfully support the strategy. The promotion mix might combine traditional media (TV, radio, print, billboards, direct mail) with new media (Search Engine Marketing, social media, email and inbound marketing). Notice that these are all media/promotion categories, not specific media outlets.
Tactics are the tools employed in support of the strategy. Here’s where a media plan drills down to specifics. If the strategy includes TV, the media plan would identify specific programming on certain television stations. If social media is recommended, a determination of whether to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn as well as all the other social platforms out there, or some combination of them, is required. Every medium or tactical tool has its pluses and minuses. It just depends on who you’re trying to reach and the time frame in which you need to reach them.
Objective – where you are going. The next street, town, state, country?
Strategy – how you are getting there. Walk, bike, car (electric, hybrid, gas, diesel), train, plane?
Tactic – the specific mode of transportation to be used. If it’s an electric car, are you driving a Tesla, BMW I-3, Chevy Volt?
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