The reason why you don’t have a Digital Marketing Strategy

If you don't know what Woo Woo is, watch this fantastic ad from Adobe Marketing Cloud first.

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One could think that this ad is an exaggeration, but trust me on this: it’s not. I’ve seen this situation dozens of times (probably you too) and it reflects the best and the worst of Digital Marketing.

The best is clearly reflected: Engaged teams, excellent execution, agility, creativity and huge energy bursting to maximise an opportunity.

The worst: That all that effort is triggered by the wrong analysis, pursuing the wrong reason and the wrong goals. That’s the Woo Woo effect:

Running your digital activity leading with tactics, not with strategy, and wasting our skills in good tactics for the wrong reason.

Why do we do the WOO WOO al the time?

It’s simple. Tactics (like all the ones mentioned in the Ad) SEO, PCC, Email Marketing, Social Media, Microsites, Landings, Campaings…) are great.

It’s simple. Tactics, like all the ones mentioned in the Ad -SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media, Microsites, Landings, Campaings…- are great, and they make us feel in control.

  • We can learn and train them.
  • We can hire them, consult them or outsource them if we need more.
  • We can measure and track tactics.
  • They keep us busy.
  • We can copy them from others or we can just adapt them from one company to another and if they fail.
  • If you are an agency, they sell like candy.

In short, they are easy to deploy and the risk involved is very low.

In comparison to Tactics, strategy is not easy at all.

  • Strategy is unique, so can’t be copied.
  • Requires a kind of talent and vision that can’t be trained. The kind of talent that only experience or a deep insight on the topic can develop.
  • Strategy is long term, requires patience and perseverance.
  • Strategy is about focus: Not doing what everyone is doing (and we know from psychology that no one wants to let go any Woo Woo’s).
  • Strategy is pure risk, it’s about shaping the future based on factors that often, we can’t entirely control (like customer behaviour). We can be wrong in our strategy and still deploy great tactics.

Considering these facts, it seems logic that the safe choice for any company is to stick to the tactics, isn’t it?

It’s completely fine to feel daunted by the power of committing and limiting ourselves to a strategy, but we need to understand that hiding behind our tactics won’t take us far from where we are now.

let me set something straight: There’s nothing wrong in tactics. We need them, and they are what bring Strategies to live.

It depends on how we use them and the role they play. Tactics should be ways to a mean: a higher goal. They should be the way we plan the engagements that lead to our main goals. But most of times they are not. They are the end goal itself. For example, when we create a Facebook page for the sake of having it, without having a clue why, and how it impacts in the rest of the channels.

Tactics then become independent and in-silo actions that cost us money and don’t pile one on the another. They don’t add up. While they work great for independent goals, they hardly help us to reach the overarching strategic objectives.

STRATEGY-GOALS-1

If we deploy the very same tactics with a purpose, with a clear goal and aiming for higher impact, we can pile one tactic on the other to reach our strategic goals.

The total of the tactics is greater that the sum of its individual performance.

STRATEGY-GOALS-2

The worse part of leading with tactics, not strategy, is that we use them all, all the time. This is a costly mistake that bleeds our budget, effort, focus and the moral of the “troops”.

How to overcome the Woo Woo effect

Like the guys in the Adobe’s ad, you are fast, agile, and your team is well trained. But without a good Strategy you have no message, no tone, no promise, no guiding principles and no clear specific goals that glue all your tactics. When you do so, 1 + 1 = 3.

You need a Good Strategy. It’s not easy, it’s not guarantee of success, and it involves risk, but it’s still the best way to get where you want to get. Certain achievements need planing and vision to be accomplished, and that’s what really successful companies do.

To learn how, don’t worry, we created Digital Generals to help you out with this.

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