Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. - Sun Tzu
In content marketing - like business - it often happens that tactics are regularly employed over strategy. Or without strategy. People love methods and techniques, programs and processes. But they are often befuddled by strategy and what may be the best strategy in a given business situation.
And, so, tactics tend to reign.
Marketing Tactics vs. Strategy: Knowing the Difference
According to Erica Olsen from Strategic Planning Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition here is a good way to understand the distinction between strategy and tactics in business:
Strategy is the “what” part of the equation and helps you answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” Yet your business design may not be sustainable; you may have trade-offs for how you position your business with customers and competitors.
Every business has limited resources and deals with a competitive landscape. The more it does of one thing, the less it can do of another. This concept leads to tactics, or the “how” part of the equation. Your tactics help you answer the question, “How are we going to accomplish our goal?”
But What About the Tools?
Having said all that, it is interesting that an even more fundamental error is often made in connection with the marketing functions of business, especially with Social Media.
That is, far too many business owners mistake tools for tactics (and, usually, the tool for a strategy!)
A good example of this is the idea that since everyone is using Facebook - that's what the gurus and marketing blogs tell us - then we need to go all in with Facebook because, by golly, that is going to turn this ship around. That is going to be our winning tactic. (And, by extension of this misplaced logic, our strategy...)
Except that Facebook is simply a tool. And, as ubiquitous and far-reaching as it is, it is not a strategy, nor a tactic really. It is just a tool.
And Therein Lies the Problem
Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, in their excellent book Managing Content Marketing note this failure:
Frankly, "distribution" is where most content marketing and social media plans begin. And it's why most fail.
In fact, far too many small business owners are still failing to move beyond a "strategy" of simply engaging haphazardly with a few social media channels - tools - and thinking that they are utilizing tactics to accomplish some vaguely thought out objectives.
And the rub is that, at some point, they find that their "tactics" fail to gain any traction. So, because this "social media thing" apparently doesn't work, they drop them and go back to either paying for advertising or doing nothing.
Knowing How - And Why
Tools are absolutely vital and necessary, of course. Without the tools of warfare all the strategy and battlefield tactics in the world are not going to help an unarmed army in the face of one with weapons. It is even more evident with marketing: without the tools you're only talking to yourself.
And tactics are critical. Without effective tactics, developed and employed within the context of an effective strategy, the best we can hope for is random successes here and there and a lot of noise. Tactics by themselves do not a marketing strategy make.
This leaves us with the realization that content marketing is a holistic endeavor that requires a strategy encompassing tactics employing tools.
And you gotta know how to do that if you want to do it well.
The Fallacy of "Doing" Marketing
A local marketing coach shared this typical interaction:
I had a coaching client tell me once that during the previous week he had, "done some marketing".
I questioned him further only to find that he had simply sent out a batch of postcards to names on a rented mailing list. And while this might have indeed resulted in a few responses, I told him that he had, in fact, not been "doing marketing" but had simply engaged in a "random act of lead generation."
The phone was quiet for bit, then he replied, "So when am I doing marketing?"
"When we have a real strategy." I said.
Planning for the Future With Your Strategy
Achieving your objectives with a content marketing strategy takes time. It won't happen with a few blog posts or simply a great ebook. People will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. But without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
Content and inbound marketing work day in and day out. Once you post a blog article or upload a Slideshare piece, it is always there, working to educate and compel people to become leads. And when they do come to you, they are educated, informed, and much more likely to make the decision to buy.
Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238. And take a moment to download this informative resource entitled"10 Powerful Inbound Marketing Charts" to support your own marketing efforts!