I was talking with a friend who has owned a small business for a long time. Because he knows that I work in digital marketing, he asked for some help to get started with Twitter and business blogging and expressed a desire to create a viral video so that people could learn about his service.
He was surprised that I began to ask him questions about his company’s values and mission and that I wanted to understand how his new digital marketing program would fit into the overall marketing strategy for his company.
Although I think the world of my friend, it quickly became clear to me that he had not given much thought to how these digital marketing tactics fit into an overall digital marketing strategy or how that digital marketing strategy fit with the rest of his marketing or how he would define success for the tactics he was eager to try.
To help him, I started by talking with him about the purpose of marketing, namely, to identify the needs of his clients and find ways of satisfying those needs to create revenue and profit.
I asked him whether he planned to increase profit by adding to his customer base, changing his pricing to get more revenue from his existing customers, or increasing the number of transactions he did with existing customers.
He wasn’t sure. He said this his largest competitor was doing a lot of digital marketing and had created a video that was getting a lot of views and that he felt like he should be using those tactics to grow his business. He was afraid that he was missing an opportunity by not using these tactics.
It became clear to me that he did not know the difference between strategy and tactics, so we talked about that. In the simplest terms, a strategy is how you are going to win the next period. Tactics are the day-to-day activities that support that strategy.
Although, as marketers, we know the difference, I am continually surprised by the number of successful businesspeople who became caught up in tactics without thinking about goals and strategy. Over the course of a series of conversations, I helped my friend to think more strategically about his digital marketing.
I helped him figure out how he was going to grow revenue from his existing customer base and helped him define the objectives and key performance indicators that would chart his progress toward the goal. I helped him figure out which actions to take and why.
It turned out that neither Twitter nor video was the most effective marketing tactic to get him to his marketing goal of increasing the average order size from his existing customers. Once he thought more clearly about the strategy and the desired outcome and how to measure progress toward the goal, he became open to a variety of tactics to get to the desired outcome.
If you would like help in thinking about your digital marketing strategy and how to select the appropriate tactics to get to your goals, BFO would be delighted to help.