Marketing tip #87: Don’t start in the middle

102724541 This past Thursday, I was a panelist for a MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) webinar with my cohorts on MENG's Social Media Council of Advisors — Mack Collier, Paul Dunay, Beth Harte, Amber Naslund and Joe Pulizzi.

During the Q&A portion of the webinar, someone asked:  "We have a small staff and a very finite budget.  Which would serve us better — Facebook or Twitter?"

I'm guessing that's one of the most common questions on the minds of marketers today.  I know I need to jump into the social media waters…so which end of the pool should I choose?

Unfortunately, it is the wrong question.  Actually, that's not quite accurate.  Sooner or later, it will be the right question.  But it's being asked in the wrong order.  It's not about the tools.  It's about the marketing strategy — just like it was long before any of us knew how to tweet.

Here's the right questions in the right order:

  • What do I need to accomplish with my marketing efforts/dollars?  (Goals)
  • How will I meet those goals? (Overarching strategies)
  • What do I need to do to successfully execute those strategies? (Tactics)  This is where the "would Facebook or Twitter be better for us" question belongs.

Let me give you an example.  In the current marketing plan for my agency, McLellan Marketing Group, one of the goals is to generate more inbound leads/inquiries.  In other words…have the prospects come to us.

Under that goal, one of the strategies is for me to speak at 10-15 national conferences a year.

Some of the tactics to achieve those strategies are:

~ Engage speakers bureaus to represent me (off line)

~ Have a speaker's video that people can view (online)

~ Use Twitter and Facebook updates to let people know I am speaking somewhere…to encourage attendance at the conferences and to remind people that I am available for speaking opportunities (online)

~ Mostly accept speaking engagements where there are potential clients in the audience, not my marketing peers/colleagues (off line)

Etc. etc.  But can you see how much simpler it is to answer the question…when you know the answers to the questions that come before?

Don't start in the middle.  As Stephen Covey has taught us…start with the end in mind.  Know what you need to get done…then decide how to do it.

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7 comments on “Marketing tip #87: Don’t start in the middle

  1. Hi Drew,

    “It’s not about the tools… It’s about the marketing strategy.” Perfectly phrased.

    I saw that same question (no surprise) stream by during a Webinar a couple months ago. My quick one-line-in-the-chat-stream answer was: Where’s your audience?

  2. Daria,

    It’s just common sense but it’s so easy to put the cart before the horse. Especially with all those new social media shiny objects floating around!

    Drew

  3. Muneer says:

    Thanks for this very useful article. To get my start up off the ground, should I make a Facebook fan page? I thought to myself, hmm before I do this, where are the fans going to come from? I have to build that customer base & relationships, then only will they become my ‘fans’

    My start up btw is http://www.definerothira.com

    Any tips & advice appreciated.

  4. Muneer,

    You are exactly right — you start with the customer. Always. Good luck finding those fans!

    Drew

  5. the 3 right questions in the right order was definitely useful Drew! I’m actually having doubts with my own strategy at the moment, or perhaps I’m overestimating things, which kind of made me rest back a little. I’ll be mentioning this post on my next blog entry (on my personal blog). those three were worth mentioning 🙂

  6. I think the 3rd tactic is more attractive and easy one to write down our ideas. Because we are doing the same before and also have experience in that too. But how to manage those offline tactics?.

  7. alex says:

    I think a lot of people start marketing without a real plan
    This is the main mistake

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