Defining Strategies and Tactics (A.K.A. Plotting Your Route)
Welcome back to our series on creating an effective strategic marketing plan! In our previous installment, we discussed how to set solid marketing goals. Now, we will talk about how to turn those goals into an actionable plan.
One of the keys to making the planning process approachable is breaking it down into manageable pieces. With so many marketing options and quickly changing technology, creating a strategic marketing plan can feel overwhelming. Here, we'll show you how to break down your goals into strategies and tactics, so you can make progress without spreading your resources too thin.
Create Your Strategies
First, break down each goal into three to five strategies that can help you achieve your objectives. Like when creating goals, we want to keep this number small so it is focused and manageable.
Your strategies should be broad actions you can take to make progress toward your goal. Let’s use an example goal from the first installment to illustrate this:
Increase the total number of qualified leads by 15% by the end of 2023.
Example strategies that ladder up to this goal may include:
- Execute a lead-generation marketing campaign.
- Increase the lead gathering opportunities on our website.
- Improve our trade show presence to better connect with our target audience.
You’ll notice none of these discuss specifics. Relatively broad statements help you and your team lead with strategy instead of getting bogged down by tactics. Tactics are more likely to change throughout the year, but strategy will typically stay fairly static. If you lead with tactics, it can feel harder to change course as needed.
Define Your Tactics
Once you’ve aligned on your strategies, now is when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of tactics. What, exactly, are you going to do within your strategies to achieve your goals? These tactics will be specific and actionable.
Keeping in mind your budget and resources, start lining out specific actions you will take. For each tactic, we recommend assigning a budget allocation and note who is in charge of managing that tactic so there is no ambiguity and to make sure tactics fit within resources.
An example tactic for the strategy “Execute a lead-generation marketing campaign,” may be:
Do a six-month Google Search Ad campaign with a budget of $10,000. Jane will be responsible.
When planning your tactics, don’t forget to include time and budget for creating any ads or materials needed to execute them.
The RACI model is a great tool to define how work is going to get done. Identify who should be in each category at the start of a project.
Responsible: The person or people doing the work.
Accountable: The person or people who have decision making power and sign off on the work.
Consulted: Anyone who needs to weigh in on the project.
Informed: Anyone who should be kept in the loop but isn't directly involved.
Identify Your Benchmarks
Once tactics are planned out, budgets are set, and duties are assigned, the last step is to benchmark where you are currently. You won’t know how your tactics are performing if you don’t know where you started.
Based on your specific goals and strategies, make note of relevant benchmarks (or pre-activity data) like how many leads currently come in from each channel, ad performance from previous campaigns, etc.
Our final installment in this series will discuss how to use this benchmark data to evaluate and optimize your tactics throughout your plan.
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If you need a partner in your strategic marketing planning process, connect with us! We can work with your marketing team to turn your vision into an actionable roadmap.