Friday, December 9, 2016

Strategies before Tactics



I get a lot of my blog post ideas from interacting with clients. I was recently reminded again how important it is to approach brand management and marketing at a strategic level before identifying and executing the supporting tactics. 

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, change brand perceptions or behaviors, introduce the brand to new market segments, increase the perceived value of the brand, create more emotional connection to the brand, move the brand more upscale, extend the brand into new product or service categories or something else? What are you trying to accomplish?

Bosses who want marketers to jump right into "actionable" tactics without providing the strategic direction first do the brand a great disservice. 

Run in the other direction if you hear any of the following requests outside the context of a specific brand management or marketing strategy (or, better yet, ask what objectives or strategies these are intended to support):

  • I want you to run some ads in [a specific medium].
  • Come up with some "out of the box" marketing ideas and execute them.
  • Create a new marketing campaign.
  • Start advertising on Facebook.
  • We need to start using QR codes. 
  • We need to come up with a new logo. This one has been around for too long.
  • Just do something different. The other stuff hasn't been working.
  • Create a campaign for Millennials. Baby Boomers are starting to die out.
  • I'd like to see some big outdoor advertising.
  • You need to decrease your marketing budget by 30%.
  • I would like you to run an ad featuring me. Work me in somehow.
  • I got a great deal with the [call letters] radio station for some advertising. Reach out to them to buy some ad time.

You may laugh at some or all of these or maybe you have experienced one or more of them yourself. Either way, make sure that every brand management and marketing plan or action is based on some carefully thought through objective. 

This may seem basic, but I am surprised by how many organizations seem to jump straight to the tactics before thinking through what they are trying to accomplish with the tactics. 

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