Greg Satell, a journalist who often writes about the intersection of media, marketing and advertising, notes that “Life for marketers used to be simpler.” With limited communications channels, it was pretty easy to reach consumers. Take a compelling message, give it some print, radio, or limited TV – and a marketer was well on its way.

As marketers in the digital age, it’s more challenging. Consumers are smarter and require us to form immersive experiences across media to engage with them. Because of this, much technology has been developed and is available for us to use in our marketing. However, we need to make sure that  it is not getting in the way of our strategy and what we hope to accomplish. Obviously you can’t realize a strategy without good execution – and sure, technology helps – but technology is a tool, not a strategy. Strategy is a plan to achieve your goals. Strategy is about building a position that sets you apart from the competition.

Photo by FindYourSearch,CC-BY-2.0
Photo by FindYourSearch,CC-BY-2.0

Now I get it, it can be exciting, but mostly tiring, keeping up with the latest and greatest tools out there. Many people get so consumed by the newest technology that it hinders reaching their goals. They spend too much time worrying about the tools and end up with a bunch of tactics that aren’t linked to any objectives.

So I say to you…, “Don’t chase the shiny new object!”

Here’s how to make sure tools don’t get in the way of your strategy:

1) Identify your objectives and let your goals drive planning. Consider what it is you hope to achieve. Of course we all want more sales, but in some cases you also may need to increase awareness, enhance third-party credibility or drive the consumer to complete a specific action that helps move them through the buying cycle.

2) Identify your tactics. Once your objectives have been set, you can begin to think about tactics. Tactics are your way of getting to those goals. If your objective is to increase third-party credibility, tactics may include blogger, media or analyst relations.

3) Pick your tools. Once you’ve established your goals and outlined your tactics,  you can consider your tools. Think about what functions are needed for your tactics. You may assess which technology best gives consumers that immersive experience, or evaluate which tools will help you streamline your implementation. For example, a tool for blogger relations may be GroupHigh, which helps you find the best bloggers by automating the research process.

It seems so simple, yet can be so difficult.  So remember, strategy first, tactics second, tools third.

Previously published on The M/C/C Minute at