When developing a communications program with our clients, the most important thing we have to do on the front-end is to determine their strategy.
The challenge here is getting our clients to understand and focus on strategy versus tactics.
Tactics are tangible. Tactics are action. Tactics are “points on the board.”
But without a strategy to guide those tactics, a communications program is controlled (at best) chaos and difficult, if not impossible, to measure.
Here’s an example:
- Acme Widget Company has an objective to sell 1,000 widgets.
- The company’s strategy is to build an online network of engaged brand advocates in Chicago.
- To support that strategy, the company might engage in the following tactics:
- Launching a Facebook page
- Running Facebook ads to garner new fans
- Posting daily content on Facebook to engage fans and drive them to company Web site.
- Posting daily blog posts on Acme Web site to build SEO and engage visitors
- Pushing Web visitors to email opt-in form to build email list
And so on, and so on.
Objective. Strategy. Tactics.
But can the same principles apply to your life and career? Absolutely.
Let’s say you’re a realtor whose objective is achieving $1 million in gross sales in 2013.
Your strategy might be something like: Engage in a targeted marketing campaign designed to build my personal brand, increase my leads and bring in increased client referrals.
Now, you can build the base of tactics it will take to achieve that strategy. Those tactics might be:
- Launching a blog designed to position you as a thought leader and increase SEO of your Web site.
- Deploy targeted Facebook ads to build your network of potential clients and drive audience to your Web site.
- Engaging in a direct mail postcard campaign into 5 key zip codes to promote your listings/services/etc.
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.
As entrepeneurs, we’re impatient people. We like to jump right in. That’s why focusing on tactics before strategy is such a common mistake, and a big challenge.
Having a well-thought-out strategy can serve as your compass — your guide in case you get “lost” along the way. It’s something you can (and should) come back to often to ensure that you’re on track, and that you’re engaging in productive activities that all lead to accomplishing your key objectives.
And don’t think this just applies to communications campaigns or your career. It also applies to life.
What if your objective to become a better parent in 2013? Or to become less stressed? Or to get more organized?
Each of those objectives can have its own strategy, with clear-cut tactics designed to get you there.
Do you have a career strategy? A life strategy?
If so, we’d love for you to share it with us in the comments …