Sunday, June 1, 2008

Begin With the End in Mind

I've been an ad hoc consultant for a while now and I'm intrigued by the fact that most people call NPower with requests for help with TACTICS instead of STRATEGY. (I know, I know, I'm just as tired of these words as you are, so let me break it down.)

A tactic is a TOOL for getting something done. Marketing tactics can include:

- a website redesign
- direct marketing
- advertising
- public relations
- blogging
- social networking
- podcasting
- door to door canvassing
- search engine optimization

A marketing STRATEGY, on the other hand, is driven by OBJECTIVES or a PRE-DEFINED RATIONALE for taking action. Marketing objectives are the core element of a successful marketing strategy and can include:

- listening to customers in order to incorporate their thoughts and ideas into product/service development
- asking clients to help you sell your products and services
- using online tools to convert more prospects into leads

Many people seek assistance from NPower, and other consulting groups, with an interest in employing a new technology tactic or tool. For example, an Executive Director called the other day to ask our help in updating her organization's website. While there's nothing wrong with refreshing your organization's online presence. You should begin with the end in mind, i.e. begin by clearly stating your objectives or goals. Without this clarity, your "redesign" may not "deliver" and you may end up sucking time, money, and energy from staff.

Here's my advice.

Ask these 5 questions - in this order - BEFORE engaging in any new marketing tactics. Once you have your objectives laid out, the tools will follow.



1. Who are we?
2. What do we do?
3. Why should anyone else care? In other words, why should people donate to, buy from, or partner with us? What's our unique value-add, our "special sauce?"
4. Who are we trying to reach? In other words, who makes are goals a reality?
5. What are the best tools reaching this audience?

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