How to Perfectly Represent a Marketing Strategy
The marketing world is full of buzzwords: “omnichannel,” “integrated advertising,” “customer experience,” and the list goes on and on.
“Strategy” has also become one of those buzzwords. There are strategies for social networks, influencers, SEO, etc. Strategy is essential, but it has become a dangerous term to use because different people interpret the word in different ways, and this is a word that shouldn’t be open to interpretation. The excessive and inappropriate use of “strategy” has created a web of confusion that can ultimately be detrimental to business.
Building a strategy can be a simple concept. In fact, a good plan (one that is well-defined and understood) should serve as the basis for concrete action. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you transition smoothly from strategy to tactics.
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Make sure you have language alignment
Start by making sure everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to terminology. Language matters; words have power. Suppose you want your marketing team’s efforts to be unified. In that case, you need to ensure that basic terms like “objective,” “strategy,” and “tactics” are used consistently and associated with clear definitions.
What are the differences between these terms? Let’s analyze them:
- An objective is intended or sought; in other words, a goal. It’s where you want to go.
- A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve an overall objective. It’s the plan to get you where you want to go.
- A tactic is a carefully planned action to achieve a specific goal.
It is a concrete action that brings you closer to your destiny.
Think of it this way: on a road trip, you have a destination (your goal). You have a route to get there (your strategy). And you take specific actions along the way, like refueling (your tactics). Easy.
Build contextual links between your objectives, strategy and tactics
With a clear understanding of these terms, the key is to build a contextual connection between the three concepts, working from the top down. It all starts with clear business objectives. Make sure you have SMART objectives, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.
Once you have clear objectives, you can link those objectives to viable strategies and specific tactics. Therefore, your goals are contextually related to your system, which is contextually linked to your tactics. The beauty of this process is that you eliminate misaligned strategies and tactics. That is, if there is a great idea that doesn’t fit with your overall goals, you don’t have to explore it further.
Below, we show you an actual application of these principles in the world of retail:
Objective: Increase sales of backpacks to university students in Madrid by 25%.
Strategy: Use Facebook ads to reach your target audience.
Tactic: Use video and carousel ads to show close-up images of backpacks.
Everything is contextually connected, from the high-level goal to the retailer’s specific tactic.
Use your strategy to drive the choice of tactics (and not the other way around).
There are a lot of innovative marketing tools available today. However, your choice of tactics should always be determined by your strategy. Allowing your strategy to be driven by your tactics is counterproductive. Don’t pick up the chainsaw when you need a scalpel. Think carefully about which tool would work best for your action plan, then use it.
Proactively communicate your strategy to drive alignment within your organization
Suppose goal-oriented marketing is the fuel that keeps your company’s engine running. In that case, proactive communication is the oil that keeps the gears lubricated. The fact is that many marketers need help to clearly communicate their strategy to the broader organization. However, you must have everyone in your company (or at least all key stakeholders) on the same page if you want your strategy to be successful.
The best way to communicate your vision to others is to use the abovementioned framework. Direct your audience to the specific tactics you use to achieve that goal. By doing so, you’ll show how your efforts contribute to overall business goals, and you’ll be able to justify your preferences for specific tactics over others.
Constantly update your strategy to reflect industry/market changes
Strategy is not a static concept; it is dynamic. Industries change; markets change. You must continuously audit your strategy and adjust it to reflect current reality. A strategy is not an end state but a framework within which your business can operate, grow, and adapt as needed.
In short, the key to smarter marketing is alignment. If you keep the above tips in mind as you develop a new strategy (or adjust an existing one), you’ll be more likely to set up your brand for success.