Marketing Strategy – Channels vs. Function

Strategy-ChessMarketing strategy before tactics – if you have visited this blog before, or have heard any of my fellow Duct Tape Marketing Consultants speak, then I am sure you are familiar with this concept.

But how do you know if you are focusing too much on tactics and not enough on strategy? I think you can tell a lot by the starting point your choose and the questions you ask when you begin working on your marketing plan.

When we focus on tactics we tend to focus on marketing channels, ways to “get our message out there”. You can tell if you are focused on tactics if you start your marketing plan by creating a list like this:

  • social media
  • direct mail
  • advertising- online and offline
  • PR
  • Video
  • email marketing

When we focus on tactics, there is a tendency to stress efficiency over effectiveness. “How many different ways can I blast out my message?” becomes the primary question we try to answer.

However, when we focus on marketing strategy, we tend to focus on function – the purpose or goal we are trying to achieve. When we focus on function, we start working on our marketing plan by creating a list like this:

  • How to I find new customers?
  • How do I keep more of my existing customers?
  • How do I get more referrals?
  • Can I re-activate or re-engage my former customers?

When we focus on function, we start by thinking about the customer. What do the need? What motivates them? How do they make decisions? How can I provide what they are looking for?

When we focus on our marketing strategy, we begin with function and then decide on the appropriate channels to help our ideal customers find what they need.

Don’t mistake a list of tactics and channels for a marketing strategy. Focus on the needs of your customers and the goals of your business first and let the tactics follow.