First of all, let me say that there are a bajillion pictures of mad scientists out there on the net. This one was my favorite by far.
And why, do you ask, do I need a photo of a mad scientist in the 2015 Marketing Plan? Here is where we begin to think about how we'll test the efficacy of our marketing programs. For most entrepreneurs and small businesses - well, for most people really - we mainly just look at sales. Did we sell more or didn't we?
If you wait that long until you review your results you could be dead in the water. Waiting until the end game means that you hold your breath, click your heels three times and hope your marketing works by looking at your numbers every three months or so. Yeah, that's pretty stupid...and why most people hate marketing.
Instead you've got to test your results - and you have to test at the tactic level. And in order to do that, you have to decide if the tactic has contributed to the strategy. You've done enough work now to know that your strategies are pretty solid. So here is where you put the guarantee into your marketing plan.
Take the 2014 tactics you want to keep - and you know they're good because a) they contribute to a chosen strategy and b) they were effective (3 or more). Add the new tactics you've chosen. And then write down how you'll know if they worked and when you'll check. Here are our tactic examples again, with the test criteria added. What you're really measuring here are the conversions that lead you to your best customer and ultimately to more sales -
Seriously most of us are probably trying tactical stuff as we think of it. If it works, we continue. If not, we discontinue. But without strategy that requires a real knowledge of your desired customer, we never really know why one thing works and...
Don't feel dumb if you ask this question. We took a few weeks in my masters program at WVU to dive into this very question. In marketing, almost everything is squishy and this is probably the squishiest part.
I bopped around my favorite sites and didn't find anyone with a really concrete definition of "strategy" vs "tactic" (even the dictionary is pretty ambiguous) so let's work with this one:
It's January 9th and I'm having a hard time believing that it's been over a month since I asked you to create your "best tactics" list. CRA-ZEE how time flies during the holidays. So, did you do it? Have you trashed any old things that you really couldn't tell were creating customers or revenue for you? Wondering why the hell I asked you to do that and never followed up?
It's really hard to focus on strategy when you're juggling a million things a day. But you have to. Sometimes it's just easier to review the tactics that worked and build your strategy from the ground up, then pull strategies out of thin air. The purpose of this exercise is to look at the tactics that worked and decide on the overall strategy these tactics contribute to. THEN you can brainstorm more tactics that fit into that strategy. Thereby giving you a much more targeted approach that has a higher likelihood of success.