The title Get Your Head Out of the Strategy Clouds for a Minute makes me laugh because it’s something I have to tell myself on a regular basis.
I love taking the time to imagine what’s possible and to think about how we or our clients can muster resources to get there, but the make or break point of any strategy is in the day-to-day tactics of the plan.
Tactics can get a bad wrap, which isn’t always fair.
Tactics (in some people’s minds) represent lower-level work, work that anyone can do, and work that’s easily accomplished. Tactics can be that kind of work, or tactics can represent complicated systems that need a heck of a lot of attention.
One quick example that comes to mind is your CRM. Are you aware of how all of your automations are set up? Do you know the specifics of how a new contact becomes a part of your ongoing company communications?
Confession time: I kinda did. I sort of understood the pieces, but I didn’t know exactly what our systems were capable of.
Having various team members on leave led to my needing to dig back into our CRM to make updates.
It was only when I didn’t have the safety cushion of super-qualified team members that I got off my butt to do the investigation to better understand our systems. And it’s an easy trap. Strategists need to get back into the tactics on a regular basis to truly understand how they can make their strategies better.
Let’s take a look at some more of the specific advantages.
Why You Need to Dig in to Your Tactics Regularly
Know what you’re asking of your teams / agencies
We can’t know all of the tools that are out there, so sometimes we’re going to make requests that don’t exactly line up.
Still, we can get further away from reality if we’re not careful. Consider the following “plan”:
- Entice the lead with an ad
- Get them to the site where they’ll see our copy and our form
- The lead will sign up on the form
- They’ll become part of our newsletter subscription list
- We’ll send them some stuff
- And then they’ll buy!
Step five is pretty silly. I get it. Still, we’re capable of saying something like this (in a less obvious way) when we’re in a hurry to get a strategy going.
If we’re asking for a critical supplement to our strategy (a fill-in-the-blanks approach to strategy), then let’s be sure to ask accordingly. We don’t want the entry-level person or team tackling step five. We need some trusted folks on that step.
Know the capabilities of your toolsets
As humans, we need to categorize information to help sort through it all on a daily basis. Part of that means we can sometimes oversimplify concepts.
I think this is especially true when it comes to tactics and tool sets at our disposal.
When it came to understanding our CRM, I felt like I didn’t understand the specifics of the subscription automation deeply enough, but I also didn’t see the bigger capabilities of the CRM. In some cases, I can get a better view of some of our subscribers through activity on the website if I have the right scripts installed. I can monitor behavior beyond the first click to the website. (Again, in some cases… data privacy is definitely changing things more and more.)
What I’m getting at is that you (like me) may not understand what your systems are already capable of accomplishing. Coming from a company that develops applications, I can testify to the fact that users typically don’t maximize everything the applications can do.
So take a moment, and see where you might be able to get some easy wins.
Be able to sell your wins more effectively
When you understand the details of your tactics and your tools, you can be more specific when you’re talking about your successes. You can talk about the early struggles your campaign faced. Talk about how your team overcame. Compare your efforts to industry benchmarks and explain why your team is succeeding.
The specifics matter in your reporting.
Be able to argue for different tools when needed
Do you know where your team is wasting time because your systems are no longer best-in-class?
At a time when it’s more difficult to hire marketing personnel, you don’t want to waste time and money on tools that aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s expensive to hire people. It takes a while to get new team members up to speed, and then having to fire and rehire for folks that didn’t work out only adds more cost.
If you can point out the time savings you can achieve and talk about what kind of results you would be able to get if you were working more efficiently, then you can build a real case.
Fully understand how all the pieces fit together
Which brings us back to the beginning of this article, which is strategy. The more you understand your tactics, the better you can strategize.
Once you have in mind how all these pieces fit together, you have to keep the team in alignment. By better understanding the tactics and the tools, you’ll be able to more quickly spot when things are going off-track, but team members (employees, agencies, etc.) need to be able to help you guard the strategy, as well.
- Broadcast your strategy
- Dig deep into the tactics, regularly
- Re-align your tactics and tools to the strategy
Then, you’ll start the process all over again.
Michael spends a great deal of time with the healthcare industry both professionally and personally, which gives him the perspective of what stakeholders on either side of the care equation need.
He began coding in 2008 and subsequently shifted his attention entirely to online marketing. Michael completed his MBA in 2018, focusing on the intersection of healthcare and marketing.