Seth Godin’s Blog: When tactics drown out strategy


New media creates a blizzard of tactical opportunities for marketers, and many of them cost nothing but time, which means you don’t need as much approval and support to launch them.

As a result, marketers are like kids at Rita’s candy shoppe, gazing at all the pretty opportunities.

Most of us are afraid of strategy, because we don’t feel confident outlining one unless we’re sure it’s going to work. And the ‘work’ part is all tactical, so we focus on that. (Tactics are easy to outline, because we say, “I’m going to post this.” If we post it, we succeed. Strategy is scary to outline, because we describe results, not actions, and that means opportunity for failure.)

“Building a permission asset so we can grow our influence with our best customers over time” is a strategy. Using email, twitter or RSS along with newsletters, contests and a human voice are all tactics. In my experience, people get obsessed about tactical detail before they embrace a strategy… and as a result, when a tactic fails, they begin to question the strategy that they never really embraced in the first place.

The next time you find yourself spending 8 hours on tactics and five minutes refining your strategy, you’ll understand what’s going on.

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So true.

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