Chasing Tactics to Find a Strategy

Videos, infographics, sell sheets, emails, ads, social posts, whitepapers, microsites, mobile apps… You get the point. There are infinite ways to get your message to your audience.

Which brings me to my favorite question—why?

Be honest! How many times has your team jumped straight to tactics after identifying a problem, all but skipping strategic planning? The one thing you can always point to as the “why” when executing (or defending) your idea??

We all know the importance of sound strategy, but can think of at least one project where it fell short. These are the reasons why:

1. Lack of planning.
The main culprit. Lack of planning leads to lack of time, which leads to a rush, and this is where, unfortunately, strategy always seems to get sacrificed. In other words, the pressure to producing SOMETHING will always outweigh the importance of producing the right thing.

The solution: Make planning a priority. It’s really that simple. Yes, schedules change and the unexpected happens, but preparation takes time—plan effectively, professionally, and with purpose, and don’t be surprised when your strategy begins to materialize before your eyes.

2. Shiny new toys.
New things are exciting, and no one likes being late to the technology party. That said, only a tiny fraction of the latest trends will ever actually work for your business.

Take social media. There are tons of platforms, but no reason to be on all of them. Can you make a case to sell hydraulic accumulators on Instagram? Do you even know what a hydraulic accumulator is? Neither does Instagram.

The solution: Research. Industries move at different paces and consume content through different mediums. The key is to know your audience and its tendencies. Can an email campaign be effective? Absolutely. But ask yourself, how much online access does an oil rig maintenance tech really have every day?

Maybe something like a desk magnet would prove (far) more effective and (much) less costly. At least, it will be easier to call you with questions about hydraulic accumulators.

3. You’re in a rut.
We’ve all done it—we’ve all gone back to the well one too many times. After all, it worked before, so it will work again. It’s not new, or inspired. But it’s quick, and comfortable.

There’s a lot to like about routine, but it cannot be allowed to stifle your creativity!

The solution: Assume nothing. Even if you’ve sent the same message a million times, take the time to take your communications apart. Ask others within (and outside) your organization how they interpret your meaning (we find clients are often surprised at what they hear!).

Or gather your standout sales team, extra-smart engineers, or dynamite distributors, and hold a brainstorming session to reimagine how, what, where, when—and why—you communicate as a company.

In the end, if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it—but a second look never hurt anyone (and group thinks can be fun!).

As professional communicators, every tactic we implement should have a strong strategic planning behind it. And if it doesn’t work, that’s okay too—at least you and your team will know why you tried.

Have questions or thoughts? Reach out to to continue the conversation.