This is the third follow-up to my post Trick question: Are you a marketing planner or a marketing doer?, which touched on the basic requirements of a strategic marketing plan:
- Establishing objectives and goals
- Defining audiences
- Creating strategies and tactics
- Setting priorities
- Establishing how success will be measured
This time around, I’ll be looking more closely at strategies and tactics – the core of a marketing plan. This is where the rubber meets the road!
First, let’s establish the difference between the two. Strategies should be thought of as the various broad approaches – the paths that can be taken – to meet an objective. Those defined strategies then lead to tactics, which are specific actionable steps.
Example: A strategy for business growth is to introduce my company’s service to an entirely new target audience that can benefit from it. Let’s say the audience is physicians. A tactic to support that strategy is to secure a speaking engagement at an upcoming physician conference.
Arriving at final strategies can often be about picking and choosing. Just like there are multiple routes to get to the store or the gym, there are typically of number ways to address any particular objective. The trick is to get there in the best way possible – using the most effective combination of routes. Bonus for selecting ones with the fewest potholes.
When we do planning work at Reuben Rink, we typically work to get strategies nailed down before entertaining tactical applications at all. This keeps things focused. Once there is consensus around strategies, it’s time to get down to brass tacks.
Marketing plan tactics come in all shapes and sizes – one-time vs. recurring, down-and-dirty vs. elaborate, time-sensitive vs. evergreen. An assortment is typically a good thing. Our approach is to capture all tactical ideas, eliminate those that don’t align well with agreed-upon strategies, and then work to refine the list based on priorities, budget, etc. (the next step in the planning process).
One helpful tip during this phase of planning is to be sure you have a number of folks involved who can bring different perspectives to the table. The best results will not come from one individual. In a corporate setting, this is likely to include executive management members who oversee various areas of the business. In an agency setting like ours, it will involve planners, writers, designers, PR specialists, and more.
Hopefully, this brief post about plan strategies and tactics has gotten you thinking further about your own marketing planning efforts. Keep an eye out for further posts on the key components of an effective plan – the next one is about setting priorities and implementing the plan.
Developing strategies and tactics for an overall marketing plan is one of the many capabilities Reuben Rink provides as a full-service agency. Contact us today to explore how we can help your business develop a thorough marketing plan!