Approx time to read: 5 min

Key Take Aways:

  • Media and marketing have always been evolving, and always will. Great businesses have always been driven by an underlying, if not essential, plan of action or brand strategy.
  • A good plan of action is made up of 4 distinct components: Goals, Strategies, Objectives and Tactics.
  • Too many businesses only focus on the advertising and marketing elements – the tactics. Unless you are clear on your Goal, Strategy and Objectives how can you sensibly know what your Tactics should be?
  • By understanding goals, strategies, objectives and strategies and social media’s place within your greater brand strategy you will be better positioned than your competitors to pivot and evolve just as fast as the appearance of any new and impressive tactics.

There’s an old French Idiom: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Look at media and marketing today, it’s changing at a faster rate than any other industry in history. And it’s no wonder because it’s powered by technology, global connectivity, the evolution of social media and the empowered consumer.

Marketing blogs tell us that traditional media is being replaced by new media and that traditional marketing is being replaced by social media marketing. These quantum shifts make us believe that we have to employ experts to help us get through the maze. And these experts keep telling us the same thing; social is where it’s at.

If you peel back the layers, you’ll find the truth is that media and marketing have always been evolving, and always will. What seems to be getting lost in the haze is the fundamentals of growing a business and creating a plan, remains the same. The fact is, great businesses have always been driven by an underlying, if not essential, plan of action or brand strategy. This looks something like a comprehensive, measurable, and attainable marketing and brand plan for getting you from where you are now, to where you want to be.

This is how you win the war; A good plan of action is made up of 4 distinct components: Goals, Strategies, Objectives and Tactics. Sometimes referred to as GSOT. They look like this:

  • Your Goal – a broadly defined, observable, and desired end result.
  • Your Strategy – the overarching method or methods used to attain a goal, such as brand advocacy, market leadership, or customer preference.
  • Your objective – a measurable step that’s taken to implement a strategy. It can be a desired achievement or something that is desired to be avoided.
  • Your Tactics – typically some form of advertising such as Facebook Ads, Banner ads or Google Ads. Tactics are typically the various actions you take on a daily or weekly basis.

In my experience, too many businesses only focus on the advertising and marketing elements. And as you can see, they fit into the last component, Tactics. Now, while Tactics are important, your Goal, Strategy and Objectives need to be clear before you can sensibly know what your Tactics should be.

To illustrate the application of these concepts, this World War II example is often referenced in articles you can find on the internet.

Goal: To win the war.

Strategy: Surround Germany to choke off the resources that fuelled its military force.

Objective: Invade France. This is measurable. You’ll know if you’ve succeeded and to what degree.

Tactics: What will you use to do this? e.g. ships, planes, soldiers, etc.

Here’s an example of a new brand providing cold-pressed juices:

Goal: Make XYZ Juice the preferred 100% organic cold-pressed juice brand at speciality stores in Australia.

This goal is deliberately hard to attain and in most cases shouldn’t change.

Strategy: Persuade buyers that our Juices are the best on the market using celebrity endorsements from celebrities popular with the target market.

Objectives: Sell 20% more juices than last year.

Yes simple, but importantly measurable.

Tactics: Leverage celebrity endorsements through lifestyle articles and videos. Use snippet content on Facebook to direct leads back to our website and Youtube channel to build brand awareness and promote offers.

In this example, the suggested Strategies and Objectives are just one of many XYZ Juice could employ to reach their stated Goal. And yes, Social Media is the core Tactic, but only because their goals and strategy made it the obvious choice.

Now, all that said – I don’t want to dismiss or downplay the importance of social media. Depending on your product or service, it could well be a very important tactic you use most of the time.

Social is where the modern consumer hangs out and communicates with peers. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook etc are their tools of choice for researching, discovering and chasing up customer service. Peer-to-peer recommendations via social are possibly more powerful than advertising!

The problem with social though is getting reach. To rise above the noise I would argue that paid media is needed to prop up any core social strategy. Today you must amplify great content to reach a larger audience.

Your priorities when marketing something should look like this:

1) Leverage owned channels first using your website, blog or twitter account for instance.

2) Followed by earned. Reach out to your peers and ask for mentions, shares, reposts or reviews.

3) Next move onto paid, pay-per-click, display ads, retargeting etc.

4) Lastly look at events and PR.

Comfort zones are being challenged.

Our comfort zones are being challenged as we try to keep pace with not only new but still emerging social systems and technologies. Surrounded by this seemingly endless progression of change, the best defence is to think strategically and develop a plan. By stopping and assessing your goals, strategy and objectives the way through the woods will light up, trust me!

By understanding the GSOT and social media’s place within your greater brand strategy you will be better positioned than your competitors to pivot and evolve just as fast as the appearance of any new and impressive tactics.

This article first appeared in StartUpLife.com on 26 Feb 2018

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