Are you a fan of marketing strategy or are you a fan of marketing tactics? When it comes to content marketing, everyone has a side they choose, but in the long run what side you’re on doesn’t matter—you’ll eventually find yourself sleeping with the enemy. Strategy and tactics are a coupling that fuels content marketing, and without investing time and resources into both you’ll never have the means to implement a successful marketing campaign. Granted some might have trouble getting a grasp on the two, but that’s why we’re here—to give you the knowledge you need to identify which choices are the most successful.
Marketing Strategy or tactics? Why not both!
What is Strategy?
Marketing strategy is the planning process. Marketing strategy is when you sit down with your team and work to find an answer to the most important question in marketing: how do we go from zero to everyone? Clearly this is why it makes sense to sit down and plan out a bit of marketing strategy before getting down to actually executing anything, otherwise you’re just running helter skelter from point to point with no anchor and no destination. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is no way to head a marketing campaign.
What are Tactics?
Tactics are your mediums and your methods of attack. Your tactical weapons will include Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your newsletter, and you’ll be applying these tactics to your email list generously. Tactics are your executables, but anyone who has ever done home repair can tell you that if you bang away at a screw with a hammer you’re likely to get nothing more than a headache and a mess. Tactics need some structure to be used correctly.
Why do I Need Both?
Marketing strategy is the plan of attack and tactics are your arsenal, and one without the other is a ship at sea without two in the bush. See, that was a metaphor that started somewhere and ended up nowhere it needed to be, and that’s how jarring your marketing campaign can hit your clients if executed without a plan. Yes, you absolutely need to make use of your social media and content outlets, but you have to make use of them the right way. Likewise, if you make a plan of attack but don’t do anything with it you won’t get any results, which is why you need to have a combination of both strategy and tactics, and of course marketing strategy has to come first.
Planning a Marketing Strategy
Planning a strategy requires a three part skeleton to help you structure your plan and focus your progress. In order to build your marketing strategy, you and our team need concrete answers to the following three questions:
- Why do we do what we do? Yes. What is it that you as a business do, and why would customers want to do business with you? It seems like a very obvious question to ask, but it’s surprising how many starter businesses have trouble getting a grasp of exactly what they are. If you can’t describe what you do as a company in one sentence, you’re not ready to move on to the next question.
- Who do we do it for? Now that you know what you are and why, you have to ask yourself who you’re for. Take a look at your customer base, your target demographic and historical numbers for people likely to interact within your industry and build buyer profiles around this information. Paint a picture of who you need to market to and then get to marketing. Once you’ve got a clear picture, you’re ready to ask yourself question three.
- Why are we worth the time? Now that you know who will want to buy from you and what it is you provide, you’ll have to ask yourself why anyone would want to buy specifically from you and not someone else. Chances are that you’re not the first to run a business within your industry that provides your specific set of products or services, so you need to figure out what makes you unique over others. If you can’t answer that question then you have more important things to work on than planning a content marketing strategy, but once you can honestly answer that question with a definite, positive answer you can finally begin drafting your strategy and plan the appropriate tactics to execute it.
These three questions build the skeleton for your marketing strategy, and once you have them answered you can start fleshing it out.
Tactics and strategy are irreplaceable components of a successful marketing campaign, but one without the other makes your content marketing plan about as widespread and unfocused as my selection of metaphors have been. Create a concrete marketing strategy around what kind of company you are and what you provide to what demographic, and only once you’ve finished that start thinking about marketing tactics. This balance is key to successful content marketing.
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