Thanks for the Sauce. Where’s the Tactics?

Last week, I wrote a post about the necessity of great creative to make tactics work. Yet alone, saucy creative can’t succeed. Businesses need tactical excellence to fare well online.

A great strategy has value. Then you add the creative brilliance (sauce) that inspires people, then you take it to market via tactics.

In my most recent book Marketing in the Round (co-authored with Gini Dietrich), there is quite a bit of discussion about many diverse tactics. I often get asked how a company chooses which tactics to execute on.

The reality of tactical excellence requires a brutal assessment of corporate strengths and weaknesses. Specifically: what is the company really good at from a communications perspective, and how strong are the company’s customer relationships?

Recette de sauce à spaghetti consistante
Image by mcarpentier

If your company has a loyal community, direct marketing and community evangelism may be really obvious and natural steps to take. If the company possesses market leadership, a top-down approach using public relations, influencer relations, ads and/or events makes sense. And if a company is hamstrung by regulations or approaches the market from a position of weakness, guerrilla marketing (flanking) and long-term groundswell tactics are needed.

These different strengths and weaknesses let a company decide to take one of the four strategic approaches to marketing: Direct, top-down, groundswell or a flanking approach.

Tactical brilliance also suffers from another core weakness: Trying to do everything for everyone. Or more likely, making sure you execute on a wide variety of tactics.

Why do this if your organization isn’t very good at or doesn’t have the resources to successfully execute across every tactic? It’s better to focus on two or three tactics and do them very well.

For example, Five Guys usually engages in customer services and loyalty programs, social media and public relations to drive excitement about its stores. Email marketing, massive events, search ads, etc. are not the core of its outreach programs.

Apple has a different approach. Launch events, ads and email are its three primary launch tactics. And it does all three very, very well.

The point is: focus, focus, focus.

Select the tactics that are most likely to 1) produce the result you need and 2) and do so most successfully.

Tactics without reason — even with sauce — don’t fly.

What do you think?

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