“How you try is more important than how hard you try.”

Tim Fargo


Prioritize tactics with the highest potential to achieve the business results you need.

Decoding Modern Marketing


What You Have So Far:

  • Consumer Segments and Personas, so you know WHO you’re going after.
  • Consumer Decision Journey maps telling you WHEN to engage each segment.
  • Channel Strategies telling you WHERE to connect with each segment.
  • Messaging Framework and indicating WHAT to say at each interaction.
  • Content Strategy showing HOW to say it most effectively.
  • Tactics that potentially align with the above.

While most of us understand the difference between strategy and tactics, in the heat of battle they can get confused. Jeremiah Owyang, of the web-strategist.com, sums up the classic way to think about it: “Strategy is done above the shoulders, tactics are done below the shoulders.” While that’s true to a degree, I believe that executing tactics today requires smart on-the-ground adaptive thinking by everyone involved to succeed.

With defined business goals and clear strategies in hand, the next step is to pick your tactics. This is the time to resist the siren song of the latest fad. Most of the things you read about in marketing today are tactics not strategies. It might be a new social network like Snapchat or Periscope. It could be some innovative software platform, a hot TV show, or it’s often just what your competition is doing. When a client of mine prioritized Second Life over their website just because IBM was doing it, we were in the power of a fad.

The only way to make smart choices is with a clear-eyed, analytical process that ensures you prioritize tactics with the highest potential to achieve the business results you need. The time for creativity will come later.


  • Suitability for a particular touch-point and segment
  • How it will be measured
  • Performance projections based in evidence
  • Estimated costs to implement
  • Internal and external staffing requirements
  • Other required resources

Tactics will fall into one of the three media camps: Owned, Earned or Paid. It could be an ad campaign, which runs and then is no more, or it could be a mobile app that will live for a couple of years or more. Some tactics will also require that you have pieces of marketing infrastructure in place with specific capabilities, such as a website with ratings and reviews. Prioritizing tactics will draw on all these considerations, budget realities, time frame and business goals.