Ready, shoot, aim: The problem with tactics before strategy.

published on
January 29, 2020

You wouldn’t shoot a photo before focusing your lens. You wouldn’t shoot a gun before aiming at your target. So why would you execute on tactics before defining your strategy? 

Strategy encompasses your overall plan and goals; the roadmap to what you want to achieve and what will define success. Tactics are the specific steps activated to achieve that strategy.

There are many reasons a business might jump the proverbial gun by getting tactical without a plan. It often happens as a knee-jerk reaction to market conditions or unexpected information. Sometimes it’s an impulsive decision to chase a trendy new idea, or a place to cut as a result of shrinking budgets.  

But without a strategic plan, your efforts can be way off the mark, resulting in a waste of time and energy spent in an unproductive endeavor which could ultimately cause damage to your brand. 

The key is having the right team working to “ready” and “aim” the plan so you’re ready to “fire” in the right place, in the right direction and at the right time. At Simon/Myers, our experience has proven time and again that hitting the bullseye requires an effective strategy.    

An effective strategic plan is integrated and holistic and provides the focus for you to: 

Define Your Goals: 

What do you want to achieve? What does success look like? Knowing where you want to go will help you plan the route. 

Know Your Audience:

Who do you want to reach? What are their likes & and dislikes? What insights can you gather about them? Knowing who you’re speaking to will allow you to communicate with them effectively. 

Identify Your Channels

Where does your audience congregate? What are the best practices there? What are the limitations? You may need to massage your content from space to space in order to put the right message in the right place. 

Test, Optimize & Test Again

In-market testing, small focus groups, A/B messaging, CTRs; choose the right testing method for your medium, listen to what your audience is saying and tweak your content so it resonates with the people you’re speaking to. Then rinse and repeat. 

Execute Tactics & Measure Results

Once you know what you want to achieve, who you’re targeting and where they are – and you’ve optimized your message to best reach them – it’s time to execute across the breadth of your plan. 

Getting your team “ready” by having a clear picture of your goals will allow your “aim” to be aligned with those goals, giving you a better chance for success when you “fire” during execution.

As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Good strategy and tactical deployment go hand-in-hand, neither works well without the other, and the order is key to your success. 

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