Tactics aren’t strategies, tactics NEED strategies

Good marketers have a true passion for the programs that they develop and deploy.  Seeing the TV spot you developed on air, the coupon you helped to create in the local circular, or the redesigned website finally go up can be highly satisfying, as can tracking what are hopefully the positive business results that these programs deliver.  However, with the rush to meet deadlines and get programs out the door, fully utilize budgets, and meet all of the various business goals, it’s important for marketers to step back and ensure that there is a clear and focused strategy in place that is driving all of the tactical marketing executions.

Whether it’s a focus on executing with excellence or maybe even the lack of a strategy in the first place, marketers can sometimes confuse these tactics for actual strategies.  Here are 10 examples of potential tactics that might be confused for strategies…if you aren’t careful.

  1. If the words coupon, rebate, or discount are used, it’s likely a tactic.
  1. If it’s something that can be cut and/or added to a marketing plan, chances are it’s a tactic.
  1. If a consumer can opt in or unsubscribe, then…tactic.
  1. If you’ve uttered the phrase “can we make it viral”, it’s pretty much a tactic.
  1. If it involves building an app, ummm…tactic.
  1. If the words corrugate, pantone, or hot stamping are used, then yep, tactic.
  1. If it can be measured in GRPs, eyeballs, clickthroughs, retweets, or open rates, then tactic it is.
  1. If you’ve used a copywriter, then it’s probably a tactic.
  1. If there has been a creative review, or multiple rounds of reviews, then you’re reviewing tactics.
  1. If it involves checking a celebrity’s Q-score, you’ve got yourself a tactic.

Basically, the easiest filter is if it’s seen by consumers.  Consumers don’t see strategy, only execution.  So if you find yourself amid a bunch of tactics, be sure to step back and ensure that there is a clear and thoughtful strategy guiding your executions.  And that your tactics aren’t your strategy.

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