Rant: You need strategy first…. DUH!

by Kate Brodock on 28 January 2010

Posted in: Discussion,Random Thoughts

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This isn’t a rant about people who don’t develop a plan before jumping into social media marketing.  This is a rant on people in the social media marketing field – myself included – who keep pressing the point about how important strategy is to a social marketing campaign.

[For the record, I AM COMPLETELY GUILTY OF THIS]

The problem is this – we all talk about it is as if it’s a new business concept, this idea of planning and creating a strategy, and thinking about goals and measurement and the bottom line.

They way we should be talking about it is this:

“First things first, starting social marketing in your organization is like any other business decision you’ve ever had to make, since the beginning of time.  Know your goals, set benchmarks, etc.  Ok, moving on, let’s now talk about social media and how we can think about it at a strategic level…..”

The strategy part is a “Hey, PS, don’t forget that thinking strategically usually increases your chances of success for anything.”

This doesn’t mean that a company can’t experiment and test the social media waters, and it doesn’t mean that many companies will completely ignore strategy – many companies have ignored strategy since the beginning of time.   But if they really want business success…. of COURSE they’re going to have to create a strategy!

No upper-level marketer gets to their position without having strategized for each campaign or yearly marketing plan, and this is no different.  Yes, clients or teams will need to be reminded of the need for strategy.  Someone will always need to be reminded.  But we don’t need to make a business case for the importance of strategy.

The thing is, if we just say this to our team and to our clients – “Guys, we all know we need to develop a strategy around this,” they’ll nod their heads in agreement because they’re smart.  And the discussion can move on to creating a program etc.

I’ve decided I’m going to spend <5% of my discussion on this topic, and if it gets into that territory, I will treat it as a given, indisputable fact that requires no further discussion. I will of course talk about the actual STRATEGY, because that’s where the real discussion needs to happen.

Maybe I’m being harsh, and – you caught me – I probably won’t actually treat it like that in a discussion.  But I sort of want to, ya know?  The discussion has gone past the level of reminding people that strategy is important.  This is not a new thing. this “strategy.”   It isn’t debatable.

So, a call to the industry: Let’s all accept that you always need a strategy for a successful business decision, let’s tell our teams or our clients, and let’s get on with it!

*phew*

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