Is your tactic killing your strategy?

Tactics might become a tornado for companies, and by tornado I mean they can destroy the core foundation of your marketing efforts, overwhelming your strategic intents.

We all talk about a strategy, a plan, a road-map to success, but in reality, finding the right mix between tactics and strategy is easier said than done. Strategy is, like a business plan, once you wrote it, it might be rendered obsolete.

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The problem begins when we stand on top of our managerial pedestal and forget that someone has to implement the plan. You gave the marching orders, but do you walk the walk? Can you make your crew to walk it with you?

Check the next 5 points to avoid the wreckage of overspreading you and your team. Do I have to begin with: Have your strategy written down! I’m not even going to bother with that point.

Establish your measurements

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” – established Edwards Deming.

When we create an outreach plan, a marketing plan, even a sales strategy, we rely on outcomes, numbers, data. This is the same as with Big Data (you can read my previous post on the Trap of Big Data here), identifying which are the important factors to measure is as important as your strategy. Kevin Hillstrom has great insights on how to work on your measurements on his blog.

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will vary, widely, and it all comes down to your strategy and where your customers are on the funnel (yes – I don’t believe the funnel is dead – go to point 3). If you don’t select which data means something, you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of numbers which might or might not mean anything.

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Communication, communication, communication

What makes a great manager is the ability to communicate clearly that plan to her team. My point here is that we tend to care much more about how we communicate to the outside audiences, and we don’t make the same efforts with our inside crowd. We allow the tactics to become the strategy for our team, because that is the tangible asset, those are the easily measurable items. We pound our team to have a strategic approach, but demand the tactics to deviate from the strategy, to generate immediate results.

If we are able to communicate what we want, how we wanted, and how far along our team can pivot from the immediate rewards/revenue, we’ll have a better and more motivated team.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Don’t forget the funnel

The funnel is dead they say? I disagree – I think the funnel is more alive than ever. Those who say its dead might base their opinion on the complexity of the current funnel.

Customers and clients don’t follow the traditional funnel anymore. They can get into our radar anywhere – maybe they no longer need to be ushered from lead to prospect, they may already be customers, but how to know? Using a CRM, tracking their interactions, rely on technology. If you don’t have the resources to do it – go back to your KPI’s those are will give you some information on your tracking efforts.

The sales funnel might look as neuronal network instead of just a funnel.

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where are your personas?

There are good and bad news if you already have your personas. The good part: if you have them, you already have them. You don’t need to invest more time or resources in figuring out who they are.

The bad news: Maybe your personas are inside someone’s drawer, or computer, or the Cloud. I’m all in favor of saving paper, and trees, but you have to have them where everyone who’s selling and doing marketing can see them.

An important point – update your personas often. Don’t let your personas age throughout the strategic plan. If you see that they are changing, they are using different media, they are moving to other websites, re-target and re-name them.

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 Pivot and align – then align and pivot

When you have your strategy ready, try to stick to it. The danger of tactics will remain, it’s inevitable. Let’s remember D. Eisenhower’s words: “…plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. The mere action of telling your team the plan, establishing a course of action and adjusting it to the environment will help you to be better prepared to satisfy your customers, to fulfill their expectations. Remember, they are your business, that’s why we work so hard.

Plan

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You are not ready to pitch yet

​Imagine yourself at a bar, hundreds of people around you, celebrating, talking, toasting, and having fun. Among the entire crowd, you see a potential investor. You are ready to deliver your pitch, you did the research, and you have the facts, what is your next move?

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Pitch like a sir?

We’ve read it several times; we need to have our elevator pitch ready for when it comes in handy. Is better to be safe than sorry. But the problem doesn’t stand in the speech you prepare day in and day out. That is only the end of the road. If you are lucky enough to deliver the message, you’d better be ready to do it – and you are probably not aware of how wrong that could go, if you don’t understand what you say is only 30% of what you are really saying.

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I’m pretty sure that you’ve come up with that stat: 70% of our communication is non verbal. You might be wondering: what should I do with that information? During a workshop, ​Merrel Geana showcased a three step process you can follow to make sure you can deliver you message appropriately: Observation-Interpretation-Evaluation.

The strategy that Geana proposes is stepping back ant taking a pause when we are sending or receiving our messages. By becoming more conscious of our communication, we need to set pause buttons to understand we are not letting our emotions overflow and ruin our message. That moment is where we observe our body sensation, our flow of thoughts and the way we are judging the situation.

The second step is to interpret. You can use a wide variety of non-verbal and facial cues, since most of us don’t have that training, you can interpret your own signs. The advice from Geana is to remember that we interpret according to our cultural background, to our norms. By understanding your body reactions, you can deliver a better message and be calmer.

Cal Lightman

We can’t all be experts at micro-expressions

Finally, you need to evaluate. This is the key to success. The following list is a set of questions that you can practice in order to know how your communication is being perceived and how you were transmitting your message:

·         How did I get to the evaluation?

·         Is there something that I a doubt?

·         Would I have made another observation, interpretation or evaluation at another time, or in another mood?

·         Can I come up with three other reasons why this happened?

·         What are the underlying thoughts and worldviews I have that made me come to this interpretation?

Imagine yourself at a bar, your speech ready, you have practice this thousand of times.  You know 70% of what you are going to say is non-verbal, you are conscious about it. Now go in, and get that deal done!

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