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.

tornado

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.

not idea

 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

You never like a marketer….until you need one

There was a time where marketing was only selling. Those were the times that we all remember of door-to- door salesmen. They tried to outwit and outsmart the consumer with cheap tricks and mumbo-jumbo, they also used a lot of psychology to make the sell – i’m not taking that away from them. Nowadays every text I read regarding Marketing and Sales is stating that the consumer has evolved. They are getting smarter, now they can screen the most elemental tactics for selling them. Nevertheless that is not the point of this entry, today I will state a truth that most of us marketers face every day: people don’t like us.

We are not that bad

We are not that bad!

When I say I’m a marketer I get “that” look: spiteful, judgmental. I don’t have that when I say I was in film production (check my IMDB profile) or even when I tell people I write erotic narrative! I just took a look at the following chart that gave me a profound insight on  how society value our job.

This is part of a slide presentation by A.C. Ross for Marketing Analytics course in Hult International Business School San Francisco

This is part of a slide presentation by A.C. Ross for Marketing Analytics course in Hult International Business School San Francisco

We are even below politicians – and I think we had it coming. For years, marketers have been perceived as deceitful and tricky, thus extending that definition to the different areas covered by the discipline: advertising, branding, product placement, even PR, among others. The only answer I urge you to consider if you are one of those who don’t trust marketing is: we also make your life better. If we did our segmentation properly, the information you are going to receive from us is valuable and useful. But it’s not an easy job, it is a mixture of science, sociology, behavioral psychology, and communication science.

Love me now!

Also I firmly believe that managers should reconsider the use of marketing. We are not miracle workers, we do not have the ability to get consumers get into a trance and make them buy. As I see it, us marketers work within a string theory universe, where numbers and statistics merge in the same time-space continuum of people and behaviors.

Really

The next time you rush to cut your marketing budget as option number one, that next Youtube ad that you are going to dismiss without even watching once remember that you never like a marketer, until you need one. And if you ever get to really, really, really need someone to correct your sales or pivot your brand, we are always here to help. As lawyers are there to bail you out of hair situations – we are the same: you’ll eventually need us.