You know your growth investments haven't been strategic when your fixations are on tactical concepts like SEO, social media, ABM, or inbound vs. the method and framework of growth.
That's a problem because every time you invest in growth tactics, you're banking on long-shots to win the big game rather than executing a sound playbook and responding to the other team.
It's like using scratchers as your retirement plan.
You lob one Hail Mary after the other hoping to score the big points in the final seconds.
The problem with that is that it's called a "Hail Mary" because it almost always requires divine intervention, and it's more likely to fail than not. Those are not good odds and certainly not how you run a winning team in sports or business.
Sure, somebody somewhere is going to win big at some point without being as talented as they ought to be or working hard as you are — either by pure luck or simply showing up.
But you're a business leader of a growing successful company, and you didn't get it to where it is today by luck and simply showing up.
So, why do you continue to invest in things like ABM, SEO, inbound marketing, social media, email marketing, CRMs etc. and expect them to solve all of your sales woes?
What on Earth makes you think these are strategic investments?
Strategic vs Tactical Marketing: What's the difference?
Strategy transcends tactic. Tactics have a beginning and end. Strategies are ongoing.
So, for example, ALL of the following are tactics:
- Inbound lead generation/marketing
- Social media marketing
- ABM (Account Based Marketing)
- Sales Enablement
- Email marketing
- List purchasing
- Zoominfo or other data enriching tools
- PPC ads
The STRATEGY is what brings these different tactics together to achieve a targeted outcome.
One way to tell is to ask yourself, "what happens if this investment fails?"
The answer to that question will quickly reveal whether it's strategic or tactical.
If you pivot and evolve within the investment framework, then it's strategic. If you simply shut it off, it's tactical.
Why is it important to make strategic vs. tactical investments in growth?
The answer to that question lies in the success of your past investments.
They're not working out the way you intended today.
I know that to be true because you're here.
And you probably can't figure out the common thread when the things you've deployed have covered so much ground. Perhaps you've already dabbled with inbound marketing, but it never amounted to anything. Perhaps you put money into SEO, and while the reports looked great, they never resulted in sales (read more: SEO Marketing is Dead to Me). Maybe you've even blasted emails to legions of leads you felt were qualified, but nobody ever scheduled a meeting.
That's because the common thread is that you're investing in tactics.
Here are 3 reasons why strategic vs. tactical marketing will help you achieve your goals not just good-looking reports.
1. Strategies are big picture
A strategy leads to the North Star. Your North Star is the outcome all investments must lead to, not a marketing KPI. By being big picture, you can more objectively forecast whether time spent on something is the best and highest use of it. And, you can see bottlenecks and brainstorm solutions without breaking the machine.
It ties all aspects of growth into it. So, it will influence both sales AND marketing as well as a litany of other critical departments and roles. Your service offering and products are also part of that strategy, which means a strategic growth investment will consider them as well—from concept and user experience to the way they're consumed or onboarded.
When one problem is solved and others are created downstream, we can see it and react accordingly without stressing about whether the changes made are necessary or carry risk. We know they are necessary, and the risks are much more calculated and garnished with contingency plans.
2. Strategies evolve
One really obvious issue we run into with B2B companies that invest in growth or inbound marketing is getting buy-in and advocacy from salespeople with the new processes. Inbound leads don't work like outbound leads, and being strategic means having a plan for those new lead types when they arrive. Still, those of you historically making tactical investments always require a good amount of convincing regarding sales enablement, even though it's often the sole missing piece that has resulted in your lack of marketing wins.
Then it becomes a game of volume. Just turn up the lead flow to compensate for the lack of process or experience with inbound leads. So, you double and triple your investments in inbound, but nothing happens.
The reality is that NO amount of volume will overcome the lack of a process.
It's easy to say inbound is failing when no sales come of it, but if you're not changing the way you sell to those leads, it's more likely a sales fail.
So, rather than shutting off valves that could be valuable, we review and fix the entire sales funnel. We evolve and we do so by learning from failure.
How does one get strategic with their marketing investments?
Yes, it is possible to transform your marketing investments into something that is more strategic in nature, but you must be willing to let go of the past, even if that means letting go of what once worked for you but no longer does today... especially that, actually.