WTH! Do I really have to think of strategy?
In a meeting last week for the creation of a new social and digital media firm, a colleague, Nikola Lashley asked: “Do you have a strategy?”
Everyone around the table looked at each other and then at me. I gulped, raised my eyebrows into two pointed asterisks and admitted, “No.”
Sure we all understood instinctively what was needed to hit the market. We knew how our varied expertise would mesh and what our target audience was thinking but without a clear strategy linked to measurable goals, we were simply like kids at the Charles Candy Factory, gazing at all the pretty opportunities but not quite sure which was the best.
Same thing I guess with new media.
With so many channels and many of them free, there is a rainstorm of opportunities that can be had with a much smaller budget.
Here’s the question though. Where is your strategy?
If you are looking around the table and presenting your email, twitter or RSS feeds along with your newsletters, contests and quizzes. Stop. These are all tactics and marketers get obsessed with them for 2 reasons:
1) Tactics are much easier to outline and visible almost immediately;
2) Strategy requires thinking that links actions to objectives; it describe results, and that means it presents opportunities for failure.
And this is why strategy gets a bad rap because when a tactic fails, marketers begin to question the strategy that they never really embraced in the first place.
So this weekend I went back to brainstorming, planning and writing.
The objective was to work out our processes on paper, link our our objectives to anticipated outcomes over specific time frames. Tactics were an important part of this but they certainly weren’t everything.
Our leap would not be one of blind faith.