New Year, New Thinking

The Christmas decorations are down and packed away, we’ve had a full week back at work and the new diet and fitness regimes are kicking in, yes it’s January again!
For many of us that probably also means some new goals and plans both in our personal lives and in our businesses. January is one of the peak times of the year when businesses try something new, certainly in terms of their marketing.
So what should you be considering for 2016? Some new social media platforms, marketing automation, new networking groups, a return to direct mail…?
Well, for most businesses, I would say none of them, or not yet anyway.
It’s not that I don’t think these tactics can work, or that I don’t think we should try new things – far from it, it’s just that most businesses need to do something else first to make sure that whatever they do try has the best possible chance of success. Let me explain:
A great many research projects, over extended time periods, in the UK and other countries, with businesses of all shapes and sizes have investigated the relationship between tactics and strategy. The results can be broadly condensed into 4 key findings, which look at what happens when organisations get strategy right or wrong and tactics right or wrong:
Strategy and Tactics right
Not surprisingly, businesses that make good choices in both Strategy and Tactics tend to THRIVE
Strategy and Tactics wrong
It’s equally unsurprising to learn that poor strategies and tactics result in the DEATH of a business
Strategy right, tactics wrong
This is where it gets more interesting – results consistently show that if the strategy is right, a business will SURVIVE, even with poor tactics. Selecting the right direction buys time to refine tactics
Tactics right, Strategy wrong
Even more interesting – if the strategy (direction) is poor, good tactical choices don’t compensate. Businesses like this also DIE. The only difference between this and getting them both wrong is that it takes longer.
So hopefully, you can now see why I’m not advocating any specific type of marketing as the big idea for 2016. If your marketing isn’t delivering the results you need, the first priority must be to check the strategy and only when we are convinced this is right, should attention switch to choosing the right tactics. Or as I often say – be sure your bike is pointing the right way before you start pedalling!
Of course, there will be exceptions – businesses that don’t fit the findings I have quoted, but the chances are that your isn’t one of them.