Every profession has its jargon. We all like to use our special terminology. It saves time. And then it becomes a habit, and we forget that lots of people have no idea what we are talking about.
Sometimes I see a deer-in-the-headlights expression with business owners when we talk about marketing. Marketing is a thing they have to ‘do’ in order to have a business doing what they really want to spend their time on. Often the question is, “What do I do first (or next)?
I’m a believer in plans. When we plan, we explore and think through scenarios. If we take actions to get ready for those scenarios, we are better prepared for what actually happens. Here in earthquake country, we’ve been talking about how to plan for a big trembler. We can’t control what happens, but having thought about some of the things we can do and taken steps to be prepared, we have more choices in how we respond to what does happen.
When it comes to planning marketing, we often use the words Objective, Strategy, and Tactic. When I talk about planning marketing and use these terms, it doesn’t usually seem to help unless my client already knows and uses them.
So I have found another way to explain how to plan your marketing. I call it “Going to Florida.” Bear with me, this will make sense.
Let’s say you live in Seattle and you want to go to Florida. First you have to decide what you’re going to do there: Cape Canaveral, beaches, Everglades, Disneyworld, visit Great Aunt Ethel, or is it a jumping off point to somewhere else? This would be your purpose or objective. In plain English, this is the What.
Knowing this will guide your decisions about how to get there. Will you need a car? Or is going cheap the main goal? Who else is traveling with you, and what will they need?
Now you can decide how to get there. Fly to Philly and see your sister, then drive south? Take the train the whole way stopping in New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival? This becomes your strategy, or how you will reach your goal (Florida.) You can call this the How.
Once these things are established, then you can work out the details: plane or train tickets, hotel reservations, house sitter, getting to the airport. All those details are your tactics, or the Actions you need to take so that your strategy (the how) will bring you to your objective (the what.)
If you approach planning your marketing as if you are planning a trip, you might have more fun getting there. You’ll need to know your What, your How, and the specific Actions you will take—and When to take them—to make your plan. Now you are ready to begin.
Marketing is one of our most important tools as business owners. How have you engaged marketing so that it works for you?