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Should I Get on Facebook? Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics

BunnyThere are a lot of social media buzzwords out there: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging, etc.

These avenues to connect can be a goldmine, or they can be a complete waste of time. The difference is if you have a strategy behind your use of them.

Marketing tactics are actions, like:

  • put up a Facebook page
  • make a Twitter account and start Tweeting
  • make a YouTube video
  • make link partnerships with complimentary websites

These are tactics in the same way old-school marketing had tactics:

  • put out a classified ad in a trade magazine
  • buy a direct mail list and send out flyers
  • put up brochures at local businesses
  • make referral partnerships with complimentary businesses

Never start with tactics. It’s a waste of time, like the cart steering the horse. You get nowhere. Start with your overall strategy.

Your overall marketing strategy lays out who you are targeting and why they should care. For example:

Our products are diaper bags aimed at new moms who also work. Our primary target audience is between ages 30 and 40, urban, and middle class/professional. Our products will appeal to them because they are stylish (they come in a variety of hip designs and colors) and they have “features” (technology that makes them more user-friendly and cool – like one has an integrated laptop case).

Your tactics should logically follow from your overall strategy. For example:

Because this demographic is active on a connected network of “mommy blogs”, our overall strategy is to become a trusted presence in this online community.

To support this goal, we are going to:

  • make it clear on our About page that we were started by two working moms and make this part of our brand
  • create our own blog where we will discuss issues related to diapers in the modern world, such as cloth vs plastic, including our own experiences to keep it personal. We will review related (but not competing) products to add value and create content that people want to link to.
  • advertise on the mommy blogs that accept advertising, as long as it is tasteful
  • comment on other blogs and link to them on ours
  • create a Twitter account, in which we will follow other mommy bloggers, tweet about our blog posts and interesting articles we find, and some of our relevant mommy moments.

The key here is that these tactics aren’t random. They are all in support of the overall strategy to connect to the target customers and get into their world.

If you are getting scattered in your tactics, go back and refine your strategy.

Whenever you are not sure if a tactic is useful or not, you can go back to your strategy statement, and refine it. Think of it as a pyramid: the strategy is at the bottom,  the tactics are built on top of that. If the foundation is solid, the next step will naturally follow and make sense.

Wanting to develop a clear marketing plan?
My printer-friendly worksheet Create a Marketing Plan takes you step by step through the major elements of a focused, effective marketing plan: what you sell, how it benefits your customer, who you are trying to sell to, and how you will reach them.

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