Tactics - Duct Tape Marketing

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3 The Problem with Reactionary Marketing

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Digital marketing is constantly changing, and it often feels like you have to react to every single change. Imagine someone saying this in one of your planning meetings:

“There’s a new social media platform? Oh, we should sign up and use it. It should be our main focus for the next few months of our marketing plan!”

Of course, when I use general terms like this, it sounds silly. Why would someone abandon all of their strategy and planning just to take part in a new trend? But it happens far too often in small businesses, particularly those who don’t have a concrete marketing strategy in place.

In fact, I’d be willing to bet you’ve done it. You’ve been in a meeting where you’ve discussed something you’ve seen a big brand do that’s caught your eye. Maybe a competitor of yours is doing something particularly well, and you want in. You immediately react and scramble to add that particular tactic to your marketing plan. We’ve all done it before.

Now, if I may ask, how often has this strategy worked out for you?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t take inspiration from your competitors or other successful brands. The distinction I’m making is that you must first ask yourself why you want to do it. Simply spotting a trend or idea and doing it “just because” is reactionary and foolish.

But if you take the time to analyze why a tactic is working for others whether or not it would work for you, your brand and your target audience, it is no longer a reaction, and instead becomes an opportunity.

This all comes back to the idea of strategy before tactics, a tent pole of the Duct Tape Marketing philosophy. If you’re reacting to a tactic, you’re putting the tactic before strategy. But if you take the time to analyze why the tactic works, how it can work for you, and where it fits into the grand scheme of your marketing plan, you are once again putting strategy first.

So the next time your competitor begins a new marketing tactic that catches your attention, whether that be marketing on a new channel or using an existing channel in a new way, do yourself a favor and ask yourself three simple questions before getting involved:

1) Why are they doing this marketing tactic?
2) How can it work for me?
3) Does this fit into my overall marketing strategy?

Don’t be afraid to say no if the answer is no. You only want to execute a tactic if you’re sure it’s going to work.

There’s also the added benefit of reducing the feeling of catch up that comes with being reactionary. You’ll feel more in control of your marketing, rather than letting your competitors dictate your tactics.

Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

6 You Hired Your First Marketing Person, Now What

You’ve done it, you’ve worked and pushed and sold your way into the realization that you need help. And thankfully, help means – help marketing the business.

So, you put out some feelers and landed an eager marketing assistant to, you know, “do marketing.” And that’s where the trouble began.

You see, do marketing is kind of fuzzy, but it’s all you’ve got, so you’re hoping your new marketing assistant can take your marketing success to date and run with it, but the reality is marketing is a system and your lack of one is never more evident until such time as you try to do it with the help of others.

The key to getting any business on track is two fold. First you must develop the marketing strategy that is perfect for your business and then you must install and operate a marketing system that takes advantage of that unique strategy

The first thing you must come to understand is that strategy and tactics are two very distinct functions and while, in some cases, the same person may perform them, they require a much different mindset and approach to develop.

Strategy vs. tactics

The first mindset is something I call the “owner’s mindset.” The entire focus of this mindset it to create and hold a marketing strategy and vision for the business based on a narrowly defined ideal client and core value proposition.

The second mindset is the “systems mindset.” In this frame of mind you move to building a marketing system designed to support your unique strategy and leverage and amplify the unique strengths and opportunities that exist in your market.

If you’re ever to create marketing momentum in your business you must embrace a marketing strategy as your core reason for being and you must be able to bring others into your organization and teach them how to operate your marketing system.

You simply can not have one without the other.

Sounds simple right?

If any of this sounds right to you, then I’ll leave you today with a bit of a commercial.

I’ve created a unique, two-session live and in-person workshop that’s aimed fully at this strategy and tactics approach.

Introducing . . .
The Ultimate Marketing Strategy Workshop and System Training

In this unique, live and in-person two session workshop, participants will learn how to create both strategy and tactics, ideas and execution, and get the entire marketing team on the same page – even it that team is just you.

This two-session event is designed to help business owners build a marketing action plan from the two core points of view – Strategy and Tactics.

The first session is set up for the business owner’s mindset so they can discover and refine a marketing strategy for their entire business. The second session is designed for more tactical business owners or key marketing staff members who are charged with building and operating the tactical system. The combination of strategy and tactics positioned in this way makes it the perfect balance of training for the entire organization.

I am offering the first occasion of this training in Kansas City in June to a very small group so that everyone involved can experience a true hands on, intimate working session. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit our workshop description page.