Building Tactics: Using Your Marketing Strategy to Single-Out the Most Effective Tactics 

When it comes to marketing, there is no lack of tactics to try. Just think of all the approaches that have “marketing” attached to their name: email marketing, social media marketing, direct marketing, content marketing, guerilla marketing, telemarketing…and heck, except for that last one, these are all things we’ve done ourselves for clients this past month!

One article we read even listed out 51 different marketing tactics to try. We don’t agree that all of these were tactics, or that they were all worth trying—but even so, that’s still a lot.

So how is a business owner (or their marketing support team) supposed to sort out what will work, and what won’t? More to the point, how do you select the tactics that actually realize your overall marketing strategy?

How Do You Decide Which Marketing Tactics to Use? Why Size Matters

Let’s face it: When it comes to deciding which tactics to use, size matters.

If you’re part of a bigger company, you probably have a larger budget and a team to work with (or at least a set of trusted vendors). Large companies can take on multiple projects at once, with dedicated manpower for each. At a smaller company, people wear many different hats and the time they can dedicate to marketing is limited.

What this means is that larger companies can take more risks. They can experiment with different tactics to see what works and what doesn’t. They can also experiment with newer platforms and marketing methods, knowing that their ultimate success does not hinge on a single campaign or platform.

Contrastingly, smaller companies need to be much more focused and calculated. They can’t spend their limited resources on something that *might* work, nor can they try several tactics to see what sticks.

Which brings us to the main question: How does a company lacking unlimited resources zero-in on the marketing tactics that are most likely to be successful?

We have a process for that, based on a full analysis of your marketing strategy and foundation. If you’re itching for those, you can scroll down…but first, it’s important to hear what doesn’t work for choosing your tactics. Trust us, we see these mistakes all the time, so it’s worth mentioning them if only to banish them from our marketing mindset.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Marketing Tactics

There are many approaches to marketing, and plenty of room for diverse methods. But that doesn’t mean that everything works. In fact, truth be told, 97% of marketing methods will fail to produce results for 97% of companies out there. Your job is to figure out which 3% works best for you and your company given your marketing goals.

Here are three mistakes we see companies making all the time when it comes to choosing tactics. So, before we share our method, learn to avoid these approaches:

Mistake #1: Going all-in on advertising and brand awareness.

To a lot of people, marketing is synonymous with advertising. And yes, advertising is a big part of marketing. But if all you do is focus on it, you’ll miss the important steps that constitute the other 80% of marketing. (For example: Cultivating an email list, finding messages that resonate, deploying a CRM, building nurture pipelines, leveraging positive customer experiences…and so on).

This mistake happens because we are most familiar with advertising. We see it every day. And there is a whole industry built to sell it to other businesses. But all too often we see companies that get few results with advertising because they haven’t built the rest of their marketing funnel…and their solution in the face of those lame results is “buy more advertising.”

To be clear, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t advertise. You should. It is an important part of brand awareness. We’re saying that there are more steps that need to happen before, after, and along with, that brand awareness.

Mistake #2: Doubling down on what you did before.

There’s comfort in doing the things that have worked for you in the past. After all, they’ve gotten you to where you are today, right? That’s why we see companies redesign their website for the third time. Or double the number of people making cold calls. Or triple their advertising budget (see mistake #1).

Keep in mind: What got you to where you are now isn’t necessarily what you need to grow to the next stage. As your goals and circumstances change, your tactics need to change as well. There are many things that work well, but do not scale easily (word-of-mouth referrals are a great example). To grow, you need to have a “both-and” mindset.

Mistake #3: Chasing the latest and greatest.

Marketing has its fads, like anything else. We’ve seen companies pour tons of effort and time into social media, for example, only to get fed up with the results a year later. Or pour budget into lead gen companies with new-fangled AI tools, only to find that they aren’t getting the kinds of leads that make for good clients.

Again, these tools are not bad—they work for many brands! What we’re saying is that there are no magic bullets. Just because something is new and innovative does not mean that it works for everyone. And that means it might not work for you and your company.

How to Really Choose Marketing Tactics, Based on Your Strategy

So how do you decide on tactics in a way that’s focused and that aligns with your marketing strategy?

Hopefully, you’ve already worked out the basics of your strategy—that is, your marketing foundation—which includes things like your goals, your audience, your messaging, and your branding. (If not, go right now and read our “Building Your Marketing Foundation” series, which takes you through each of these.)

With that in hand, here is how to find the right tactics (or narrow down your list of options) in light of each.

Marketing Goals

Marketing goals should be specific, actionable, and measurable, among other things. Your tactics should be ones that can demonstrably move you closer to those goals. To take an example, a government consulting firm kept pouring money into advertising, in print and on social media. But when asked if they were trying to increase impressions (i.e. the sheer number of people seeing their ads), they admitted “No, we just need a few good quality leads to keep the pipeline full.” They had better success switching to a referral campaign and some relevant, targeted articles in industry publications.

Audience

Who is your audience? Once you know them inside and out—including their industry, role, and pain points—ask: Where does that audience go for information? Or to find a service like yours? For example, an IT consulting company we know of asked its best clients—many of whom were IT infrastructure managers—where they go for information. Did they use google to find information? Solid yes. Did they look at ads in trade magazines? Also a yes. What about social media? “For work? Heavens no…they steal your data!” Needless to say, that company switched from a massive social media management budget to increasing SEO and more ads in trade magazines.

Messaging and Branding

If you have developed your messaging and your branding, you’ve already taken two huge steps in defining who you are and how you will engage positively with your audience. Some messages will be easier to convey in some media rather than others.

For example, if you have a simple point that needs to resonate on an emotional level, a short video (or even a radio spot) will do best to convey that. (This is why many nonprofits serving children choose to do fundraising campaigns on these media.) On the other hand, if you are trying to show how your product differs from a competitor’s product on a point-by-point basis, video and radio might not work as well as a well-designed sell sheet, or even a short white paper.

Of course, neither a video or a sell sheet is a tactic by itself. These are just assets. But knowing which assets will be crucial to your audience’s decision making will naturally suggest some tactics over others. A campaign built around a viral video campaign will look different from a drip campaign that aims to build an email list with a gated white paper, for example.

Taking a Holistic Approach

We’ve just covered three important ways to think about marketing tactics in light of your foundation. Hopefully, those are helping you narrow down what is likely to work, and what isn’t. Now it’s time to think about how you will weave those various tactics into a single, coherent approach. Consider:

Get everyone involved. Encourage collaboration among different departments, such as marketing, sales, customer support, and product development. Aligning these teams ensures a consistent customer experience, and (behind the scenes) everyone will be on the same page and working toward the same goals.

Think in terms of multiple channels and media. Adopt a multi-channel marketing approach that integrates various channels, such as social media engagement, email marketing, advertising, search engine optimization, local events, and so on. Each channel should complement the others and work cohesively toward your campaign goals.

Strive for consistency. You will need a consistent look and feel across all of these channels, as well as consistent messaging. In fact, think of your efforts as a single campaign that spans multiple channels, rather than as separate tactics using different channels.

Lean into Marketing Automation. Use marketing automation tools to streamline processes, nurture leads, and deliver personalized content to your audience at the right time. Automation ensures consistency and efficiency in your campaign.
Measure everything. Implement analytics tools to track and measure the performance of your marketing efforts. Do this for all of your tactics.

Review regularly and adapt. Use those analytics tools to look at all of your tactics—and more importantly, to assess your campaigns as a whole. Are the media and channels right, or do they need adjusting? Or are you getting the sense that your message as a whole needs adjusting? (What experiments can you set up to answer these questions?) If you get good at doing this as your tactics run, you can continually adapt and refine those campaigns.

And finally…

Don’t Be Shy About Getting Help from Marketing Experts

There will always be dozens of marketing tactics to sort through, and dozens of ways to run and refine a marketing campaign. It’s nothing short of intimidating.

This is why it helps to have a partner who knows the lay of the lands, and can help you narrow down your options. The best ones do so by helping you get clear on your marketing foundation to begin with—and talking you out of making those three big mistakes.

So, whether you’ve got your foundation in place and are ready to get rolling with your first campaign, or you’re still working on those basics and need a little outside insight, Pace can help you figure out the mix of marketing tactics that is more likely to bring you success. We recommend you start with a roadmap call so we can learn where your company is today, and help you navigate to where you want to be in the future.

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