Strategy vs. Tactics: Signs That You Need Marketing Automation

Do you know what separates a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic?

If you’re like most marketers, you think that they’re the same thing. They’re not, and treating them as if they are the same thing is a one-way ticket to scaring off your prospects.

Marketing automation can help resolve the issue, but first, you have to know what you’re fixing. Here’s what you need to know about strategy and tactics and why automation can help.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Tactics

If your marketing is struggling, start by asking yourself: are marketing strategies and marketing tactics the same thing?

If you answered yes, that’s your first sign of trouble. Marketing tactics and strategies aren’t the same things, though they’re often used synonymously. Here’s the problem: if you think strategies and tactics are the same things, you’ll approach a strategy like a tactic and a tactic like a strategy.

First, a lesson in the semantics of goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics.

A goal is a broad primary objective. A strategy is an approached taken to achieve a goal. An objective is a measurable step to achieve a strategy. A tactic is a tool to pursue an objective.

If your head is spinning, you can break a project into three stages:

  1. Goal
  2. Strategy
  3. Tactic

A goal might be to make your product X a category leader in sales revenue by year Y. A strategy is to persuade buyers that your product X is the best on the market by building strong brand associations with industry leaders. A tactic is to leverage creative message in ad campaigns to build brand awareness in connection to an industry leader.

Put another way: a strategy is the collection of things you need to do to complete an objective. A tactic is a tool or technique that falls under the umbrella of your larger strategy.

Which One Are You Using?

So, which are you using: a marketing strategy or a marketing tactic?

You have a strategy if:

  • It defines top-level resource allocation
  • It determines a long-term vision
  • It defines priority markets, products, and audiences
  • It defines how to engage your audience
  • It creates long-term direction

You have a tactic if:

  • It’s a means of achieving measurable results
  • It involves short-term objectives building toward a larger objective
  • It’s a specific action, not a final destination

Here’s the problem: if you’re treating top-level resource allocation and long-term direction like a tactic, the actions you take to achieve it will be poorly defined. Conversely, if you think “giving away freebies” is a marketing strategy, you don’t have your eye on the big picture.

How Marketing Automation Can Help

The good news is that many marketers already have what they need to set and execute effective marketing strategies.

The bad news is that their tactics often get in the way.

This is where marketing automation can help. You’re dealing with an issue of seeing the trees instead of the forest. The practical reality is that marketers have daily tasks, there’s no getting away from that. What you can do is liberate your marketers from the daily grind to focus on long-term strategies.

Those daily grind tasks will still get done, don’t worry. Marketing automation can take care of them for you.

Signs That You Need Marketing Automation

Before you go online and purchase the first automation software you see, or automate your processes without ever looking back, you need to identify the problems at work.

Here are a few critical indicators that your team needs automation.

Your Team is Frustrated

As the old adage goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If your team is decidedly squeaky, it’s time to break out the grease.

Your sales team could be the best marketers in the world with their eyes firmly fixed on the right customers. They may even have the component parts to market to those customers. But if they don’t have the right tools, they’ll end up targeting prospects too early or too late.

You Can’t Track Your ROI

A marketing campaign is only as good as its ROI. And if your team can’t prove their ROI, that’s a troubling sign for upper management.

Here’s the problem: if your team can’t see the forest for the trees, they won’t be able to track ROI.

This often happens when marketing teams waste valuable time on repetitive, inefficient marketing tasks. For example, instead of fine-tuning the details of a campaign, your team has to waste hours compiling contacts lists, generating emails, revitalizing landing pages, and so on.

These tasks have to be completed, but if your team has to spend so much time on them that they don’t have time for anything else, you can’t reasonably expect them to track ROI.

You Can’t Target the Right Prospects

Finally, if you’re taking a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, there’s a good chance that you’re overlooking the right prospects (or losing them along the way).

When you send the same message to everyone, you’re only targeting surface-level demographics. Customers know that you aren’t talking directly to them and have taken only a passing glance at what distinguishes them. They don’t know that it’s because you don’t have the tools for segmentation, and they don’t care.

Marketing automation allows you to track a prospect’s interests and intent. That way, you can figure out what tactics would best appeal to them, thus making them more likely to convert and play a helpful role in your strategy.

Market Smarter, Not Harder

Marketing automation is a lifesaver for so many organizations because it allows you to market smarter, not harder. And that makes it easier for your team to focus on the tactics they need to bring that strategy to life with measurable results.

If you need help developing your tactics, we can help.

We create high-quality marketing videos for organizations like you who understand the power of video. Want to make your next campaign better than ever? Get in touch today to find out how we can strengthen your team.

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