When people think of marketing, they think of social media… logo design… email campaigns. The fun stuff! Those activities are essential to your marketing. Without them, you couldn’t get your service, product or brand in front of your target customers.
But behind every good tactic there has to be a Why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Before you start tweeting, you need a strategy, a plan of action.
But behind every strategy and plan, you need BIG Strategy.
What’s BIG Strategy? We’ll get to that, but first let’s talk basics.
Marketing Strategy and Tactics
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. — Sun Tzu (~500 BC)
There are dozens of definitions out there, but basically a marketing strategy (with a small “s”) is what you plan to do to realize a business goal or a marketing objective. If your goal is to grow revenue by 20% over the next year, your strategy might be to expand your target market by attracting a new demographic.
You execute your marketing strategy with activities like social media, rewards programs, direct mail, email, landing pages, blogs…. Marketing tactics are limited only by time, money and imagination.
Q: So how much of your time should be dedicated to setting marketing strategy and how much to executing marketing tactics?
A: All of it.
Kind of a smarty-pants answer, but it’s true! In our humble opinion, marketing strategy and marketing tactics shouldn’t—and really can’t—be separated. If we had to bill separately for strategy and tactics, we’d need to add extra charges to every tactic and every project.
Because strategy is part of execution, we’re not just churning out content without thinking about the bigger picture. Speaking of the bigger picture…
Simply put, BIG Strategy is the bigger-picture approach to marketing.
The Great Oz behind the curtain that pulls all levers. That sees all. That makes your marketing efforts hang together in a cohesive, effective way. It’s not just a single strategy or even strategic planning. It’s BIG Strategy.
Besides “a careful plan or method,” Merriam-Webster defines strategy as “an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves… an important function in achieving evolutionary success.”
M-W is probably thinking about the animal kingdom, but businesses can achieve evolutionary success, too. BIG Strategy in your marketing can help you connect critical dots:
- between you and your target markets
- between you and your customers
- within your business to unify vision and messaging between teams and company leadership
BIG Strategy involves common and not-so-common strategic planning activities such as:
- Positioning and competitive analysis to differentiate your brand or multiple brands within your company
- Defining target markets and customer personas
- Capturing customer insights to guide messaging, secure testimonials, uncover brand ambassadors (Hummingbird’s favorite strategic planning activity!)
- Brand laddering to connect with your customer’s deepest need
- Defining your brand archetype and how you want it to evolve over the next several years
The hallmarks of BIG Strategy are the ability to adapt… always-on strategic thinking… and a restless, 30,000-foot perspective:
- It’s an agile approach. Tactics roll with the punches; strategies change to meet evolving business goals and marketing objectives. You can’t hold on to a strategy for years like you could with print and big media. Digital tech and our marketing world change too fast. You have to be strategic at the tactical level to survive. You have to strategize on the wing.
- It’s a baked-in approach. At Hummingbird, we incorporate strategy into every step of everything we do. Everything.
- It’s a dynamic, visionary approach. Big Strategy is never done. It’s always assessing and monitoring, acting and reacting. Always evolving, always looking for insights, clues and connections.
Kymanox: A Case Study
When we started working with life sciences company Kymanox, we first did insight calls with core clients, and we learned that the company’s mantra—“Get More Done”—reflected the customer benefit that our insight calls confirmed.
We worked on SWOT analysis and positioning Kymanox toward the goal of productizing some of their services, and over time we started working with the CEO on messaging for team building and community service, messaging based on his vision of the company’s essence.
Fast forward a few months, and the company had grown so much that recruitment became an important business goal, so we developed a strategy of defining company culture and recruiting qualified candidates who fit the culture.
An insight interview with a team member gave voice to company qualities of compassion and caring, qualities Kymanox displayed in its community service projects—and coincidentally, qualities echoed in the CEO’s WHY.
“Kymanox Cares” became a new high level brand message for both internal and external campaigns, supporting the company’s original mantra and tagline “Get More Done” with a deeper, more emotional company truth rooted in core values.
This case study is a good example of the agile, comprehensive and visionary approach of BIG Strategy Hummingbird uses with clients every day.
ABC: Always Be Connecting
Finding the common thread, the connections within and outside a company—that’s essential to BIG Strategy. We listen closely to language of customers, teams and leadership to put together the pieces of the marketing puzzle.
Because the puzzle changes constantly, we’re always hitting refresh. We develop a radar for shifts in business need… for gaps between strategy and execution… for creative messaging to impact sales and marketing, culture and team building.
Business goals and marketing objectives… vision and ideas… strategic planning and tactics… BIG Strategy is never done.
And, after 25 years of serving customers, the Hummingbird team knows that BIG Strategy leads to the best BIG ideas!
where ideas take flight
At Hummingbird Creative Group, we build business value through better branding. Contact us to find out how we can build your business’s value: