Untangling Marketing Goals, Strategies, and Tactics

Today, I have a confession.

I’m a serial hobbyist poser.

I have whole closets full of squash rackets, glue guns, guitar music, and other must-have items that I bought before figuring out what I really wanted to spend time doing. I’d see a Martha Stewart article about paper quilling and run out immediately to buy specialized tools.

Do you find yourself with all of the “trappings” of marketing, but no results to show for it? I’m talking about that time you signed up for a Google Analytics account and then never looked at any of the data. Or that time you started a monthly email newsletter and it only went out for three months.

Without a clear marketing plan, you will run from idea to idea, or tool to tool, with no roadmap. Even if you have success, you won’t know how it happened, or be able to repeat it in the future.

Your marketing plan must dovetail with your overall mission as a business. Untangling those priorities and putting them in the correct order is crucial to your business success.

untangled marketing

Start with the Mission, Work your Way Down

So what comes first? It’s your Mission. Why does your business exist? Not a prefab paragraph you concocted, but why you get up in the morning and go to work.

Once you know your Mission, you can use that to come up with some marketing goals. Once you have marketing goals, you can determine your marketing strategy and tactics. Somewhere within your arsenal of marketing tactics, you can include some social media tactics.

See how that worked? We zoomed in several levels before we got to anything like “make a Facebook page” or “create a Vine video.”

Sorting out Goals, Strategies, & Tactics – An Example

Let’s use a concrete example that will help clarify. I like to use the American Red Cross, because hey, they help people!

Their stated Mission is “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”

Here’s my sample made-up marketing goal for the American Red Cross:
“Promote 100 blood drives in the State of South Carolina in Q1 of 2014.”

How can we achieve that goal? We need a strategy (or a few strategies).

For example:
Strategy 1: Increase sharing mechanisms for current donors.
Strategy 2: Create content that demonstrates the value of blood drives.
Strategy 3: Build up number of donors who subscribe to text reminders.

You could use all sorts of tactics to support these strategies. They might run the gamut from buying billboard space next to a donation center, to collecting Twitter handles during the donor registration process. They can be traditional tactics, or they can involve social media.

Let’s break out some potential tactics for Strategy 1, to illustrate:

Tactic 1: Collect Twitter handles during the donor registration process.
Tactic 2: Invite current donors to participate in phone banks to encourage new donors.
Tactic 3: Set up a video sharing station at blood centers to facilitate Vines, Instagrams after donation.
Tactic 4: Offer an “I donated” button for social profiles.
Tactic 5: Give out Red Cross t-shirts or other branded materials to donors.

The final step is to analyze the possible tactics according to your own criteria for success. What resources would be required? How much time would it take? What is the cost? Does it fit in with the rest of our marketing program?

Once you’ve decided which tactics suit your situation, create a calendar and plot out the marketing program. Be sure to build in periodic reviews, so that you can adjust as necessary.

Going through a process like this will result in a marketing strategy and business plan that make sense for your business. It will prevent shiny object syndrome. And it will leverage your marketing investment in a dramatic way.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


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