We talk a lot about marketing strategy, but what is it really?
Put simply, marketing strategy is how you interact with your audience and your industry to further your business objectives and goals.
So how is that different than tactics? The simplest way to explain this is you want to get in touch with an old friend.
The tactics are how you do it; phone, mail, email, social media, postcard, etc. The strategy is why, how to approach the person, what is the background, why are you out of touch, where is the person likely to be, when is the right time. The strategy will recommend tactics, and also how to approach the person by saying given your past, you should lead with X, or tread lightly, etc.
I used to have a sign on my office door that said:
Strategy is not a tactic.
It confused people. Strategy is the underlying, overarching plan that guides all the tactics and their implementation. Think of it like the the blue print to build from.
The strategy takes the vision from the business plan, the architectural model, and researches all the details, builds the specs, proposes the options, suggestions and directions, and formulates the direction for the tactics, voice and design, and the overall KPIs to determine and track success.
(Note, and this is important, the overall strategy does not DEFINE the Creative nor the Copy, it just sets the direction. In the same vein it does not develop the technical requirements or specifications for the digital or offline tactics. Tactical strategies are then undertaken, either formally or informally throughout the implementations.)
“I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.” ~David Ogilvy
Today you can search online or have your social media platform of choice deliver articles, snippets and stats to your fingertips to allow you to market better. What I have found, however, is a good deal of that information is either wrong or incomplete.
Marketing can be overwhelming. Despite the changing media platforms and channels, the fundamentals of marketing have not changed: Communicate your message to effect a desired response.
Without guidance and support, new marketers and overwhelmed businesses are getting shorted, and end up following suggestions that are too generic or inappropriate for their brands.