Tactics without strategy…

Not everyone is up to speed with the wisdom of the Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China, Sun Tzu. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a work of military strategy that has influenced and affected both Western and East Asian philosophy as well as military thinking.

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Sun Tzu, it won’t affect the comments below (but you should check him out).

One of Sun’s quotes really struck home as resonated recently;

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Just read that again and let it sink in. So true, don’t you think?

Now apply this to your marketing. Kind of feels awkward now. But often, the truth can be a bit painful.

From my experience over several decades, I’ve seen small, medium and large companies (I mean hundreds of multi-million ‘large’) take a very lack-lustre approach to their marketing. Sure, plans are put in action and measurement metrics put in place, but often the question of ‘why’ hasn’t been asked.

In Sun Tzu’s world, this is simply defeat.

What is Marketing?

Basic question, yes. But does it need to be asked? Yes.

Let’s go simple and one of the first of Google’s answers on the subject (where let’s face it, many people go to) – Wikipedia says; “Marketing refers to the process an organisation undertakes to engage its target audience, build strong relationships to create value in order to capture value in return. It is one of the primary components of business management and commerce.”

So let’s now look at a few key words and terms used here;

  1. Engage
  2. Target Audience
  3. Build Relationships
  4. Create Value
  5. Capture Value
  6. Business Management

So if your marketing plan is simply about executing marketing – ie; activating social media, making ‘nice’ documents, getting branded golf brollies and a fancy corporate website and video to match, then you’re ignoring what marketing can do in the most simplistic of terms.

Marketing, with purpose

Marketers should never be afraid to ask “why?” Likewise, “what’s the goal?”, or “what are we wanting to achieve?” equally help clear out what is a whim, and what carries reason.

Rather than a rant, this is good practice for you. It saves money. Quite often I recommend businesses stop some of their marketing activity that I feel is directionless and is adding no value at all. Save yourself some time to take a step back and reassess what you are doing and importantly, why.

Ah, you’re a Marketing Consultant..!

Do you get it now? Hiring a Marketing Consultant isn’t about filling a gap in your resource, but it’s about gaining experience, advice, direction and wisdom. It can help create purpose to what you are committing budget on and should work alongside sales to do what your business needs to do.

Think of the benefits;

  1. Create more effective marketing (see the points above).
  2. Spend your budgets wisely.
  3. See a better return on investment.

So what did Sun Tzu say again?

He said you need a strategy. Not just marketing – but generally speaking, you need to be headed in a direction for a reason. Otherwise you’re making a lot of noise and headed for defeat.

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