February 26, 2018

What is a ‘Strategy’?

If the Internet is to be believed, there are roughly 743,000 definitions for ‘strategy’.

Further obfuscating the truth about what a ‘strategy’ is, as it pertains to anything marketing-related, are the inundation of suggestions by supposed pundits that a new strategy should be developed every time you consider utilizing a new social channel, write a blog post, create video content, use a hashtag, or blow your nose.

Instagram Strategy, Video Strategy, Snapchat Strategy, Hashtag Strategy, Photo Strategy, Posting Strategy, Influencer Strategy, Listening Strategy, and on, and on.

Like us, I’m sure you have seen an absolute glut of content and discussion about trivial ‘strategies’ similar to those listed above, and the multitude of recommendations completely lacking in context made within.

The issue here is that none of these things represent a new functional area within an organization that warrants the creation of unique strategies to address respective business-oriented goals and objectives; they are simply channels, tactics, formats, and executional considerations that are better suited as considerations for an Implementation Plan (we’ll come back to this another day).

In our experience, there’s a great deal of confusion that exists about what in fact a strategy is, its purpose, and the role it plays in helping organizations to achieve meaningful business results. With a lack of consensus about a thing so fundamental and important as a ‘strategy’, this confusion is all of our fault – marketers, advertisers, strategists, content experts, social experts, bloggers, and wannabes.

So with that, we’ll throw our own definition into the mix that, we hope after some evaluation, will provide clarity and earn some consensus:

WHAT IS A STRATEGY?

A strategy maps the connections between business goals and objectives, audience segments and their unique journeys, and the high-level activity that is required to produce desired measurable results.

Admittedly, we commonly title our strategies as a, ‘social media and content marketing strategy’ – primarily because this is our area of expertise – but truth be told, a properly crafted and comprehensive communications strategy is the only comms-related strategy you should ever need (fancy that!!).

Let’s break down a few of the key terms included in the above definition:

GOALS + OBJECTIVES are what your business strives to achieve, and the measurable actions that are required to achieve that ambition.

AUDIENCE SEGMENTS are the meaningful groups of people that need to be influenced in unique ways to achieve your business goals and objectives.

JOURNEY – most frequently called a customer journey – is in reference to the various phases that your audience segments move between, as they make decisions, have experiences, and take actions that are critical to your business’ success.

ACTIVITY is the unique and valuable role that your business or brand should play in each phase of your audiences’ journeys to drive desired results.

MEASURABLE RESULTS are in reference to the quantitative or qualitative measures that align with each activity, which ultimately indicate success, or represent areas of opportunity.

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What’s your take on the deluge of strategies that are discussed and proposed every day?

Does your organization have, and operate against, a well-defined strategy?

It would be great to chat with you further in the comments, on Twitter @RGBsocial, or on Facebook.

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