A Simpler, Realistic Approach to a Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Tactics! with Claudia Schalkx
If you’ve ever felt “My marketing strategy isn’t working”, you’re gonna want to check out this conversation.
Now, you’ve got a marketing strategy, right?
Maybe you’re going to do a FB ad campaign, write 2 blogs/week, and try & get 10 new clients into your program by next quarter.
Sounds like a strategy, yes?
Wellllll. No. That’s not really a strategy. Those are TACTICS!
Part of why marketing remains difficult is that people confuse marketing strategy with marketing tactics with marketing plans.
They are NOT the same, and when we don’t understand the nuances, it hurts our efforts- no matter how much WORK we’re putting in!
If you’ve felt exhausted by your marketing and it’s not working, it may be that you don’t have a strategy that’s aligned, tactics that work, or a plan that makes sense!
Jen & her business bestie – marketing expert Claudia Schalkx – break down all the nuances of this topic in Episode 175 of the Content Creation Made Easy podcast.
You’ll get tons of examples to help you walk away understanding whether you need to focus on strategy, tactics, or plan –
And create more ease in your marketing!
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Welcome back to Content Creation Made Easy.
I'm back this week again with Claudia Schalkx, who is my business bestie.
We talk every single week to unpack stuff that's going on in our businesses.
What we realized is a lot of the stuff that's going on for our clients, we could address and that's why we're having these conversations.
We are offering a program this summer called Your Personalized Marketing Toolbox.
There's some foundational stuff about marketing that we know is super boring, super unsexy.
If you don't do it, it's a gigantic pain in the ass in your marketing.
We thought we would just come on the podcast and unpack some of this stuff so that you can start thinking about it, you can start implementing it.
We thought if we could do it in a conversational way, it might make it easier for you to kind of chew on and get something out of it.
That's what we're doing here today.
Are you using a STRATEGY or TACTICS in your marketing - and why does it matter?
Today, we are talking about the nuanced difference between strategy and tactics.
People in the online world flip flop these all the time they use them interchangeably.
People will talk about strategy when they really mean tactics. I have to admit, I do it too.
Claudia is always saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, that is a tactic, not a strategy!”
I thought, why don't I just bring her on and let her yell at us about strategy versus tactics?
In our program, one of the things you're going to walk away from the toolbox with is a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
You might be thinking, “What the hell is the difference between the two of those?”
And it's important to understand the difference. Why? Because your marketing probably feels really freaking hard and this switch alone can help you immensely.
Claudia, hello, my love.
Thank you for amplifying the ground of people I can yell at!
In her direct and Dutch way, she's going to give us a second to school us on this idea. Why don't you just lay out the problem for us?
The problem is that marketing can be very hard and very boring sometimes, you know.
Let's call it out.
We are pressed by the fact that we want to have profit or want to get any form of result.
We tend to take action, whatever that action is.
The problem is if that action doesn't fall into some kind of a plan, then how do you know where that action is leading you to and what is contributing to the overall health of your business?
For instance, a lot of people start with, “I am going to do a Facebook ads campaign.”
or “I am going to write 20 blogs”, but in which context are you going to do that?
To what end am I going to do this and that?
Those are tactics.
If they are floating, without some cohesion, then that's when marketing becomes hard, and becomes annoying, and becomes so frustrated, because you're really putting in the work you're really putting the money you paid Facebook ads, but you're not seeing the results.
Everything that the Guru's promise you: that your life will be easier, you will have more time, etc. doesn't crystallize.
It's because those actions, those steps, don't have a cohesive thing that glues them together and allows you to grow your business.
Would you say that's having a purpose knowing the why?
What I would say is the role of marketing is to help you achieve your business goals.
What mistakes are we making with our Marketing - and why is it so damn hard?
By reaching your ideal clients and converting them from potential clients to clients, that is the role of marketing.
The moment you do marketing and don't tie it to your business goals, there you are starting to go wrong and that's when marketing starts to become very hard.
The first thing you have to do is say, “Okay, what are my business goals?”
Do I want to increase my profit by 20% by the end of December 2022?
I want more money in the drawer.
How much more money do you want and by when?
It needs to be measurable because otherwise it becomes very, very draining.
Knowing that you want to achieve more money, so much more money,then you ask yourself, “How am I going to achieve that?”
That general thing that is your marketing strategy, it's the guideline of how the actions you will take.
I feel like people can say, I want a 20% increase in sales.
I want to work with 10 people this quarter.
I feel like they could do that measurable goal setting.
Then you said, how are you going to get there? I feel like that's where we should have inserted the cricket sound.
Yes, because the strategy is the approach we're going to take to reach the goal.
Can you break this down with an example?
Gimme an example so I can stop thinking, “I NEED TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY MARKETING!”
For instance, if you want to achieve more profits like we said, 20% more profit by the end of the summer ‘22, you have to put some kind of guidelines.
What you can do and what you cannot do.
For instance, a strategy would be we're going to leverage on our existing assets, website, blog mailing list, and use organic growth.
That already tells you that money will be used in a given way.
We are going to recycle, we're not going to do a new branding campaign.
That gives you the kind of playground where you're going to move.
This is like putting bumpers on when you go bowling!
I'm feeling like that would be so helpful, because it takes away the possibility of everything!
“I have to do everything!”
I want a 20% increase by the end of 2022, and XYZ is what I'm gonna use.
What I'm not going to even look at are a new logo, new brand colors, Facebook ads, pitching myself to the media.
We're not looking at that, we're only using the existing assets and double downing on them.
Exactly. If you already have, like you said, the bumpers, the sandbox where you're going to play?
I love that. That is what a strategy looks like. The other thing I really want people to take away from this is you did not make that complicated.
No. That’s the way you and I work, we simplify.
When you have clients, and you say, “I'm going to create a marketing strategy for you”, do they kind of rage against it?
Like what if this and what if that and I had this idea in the middle of the night.
The moment you explain the difference, and thanks, and you handhold, you know, it's not that we say this is what it is, and then we leave you to do it on your own.
I tell you, you and I tell them what it is. Then we are going to work on how it applies to your specific situation.
If you've been in business for two, three years, you might or might not have a mailing list, you might have been dutiful enough and have a mailing list or not.
Then a strategy of using your existing assets has a hole.
What’s wrong with a strategy like THIS?
Sometimes I'll hear people say something like, “I want to get five more clients. My strategy is I'm going to do reels every day on Instagram.”
What's wrong with that?
The Reels on Instagram is a tactic. It's a step.
Then you ask yourself, “Okay, what do those Reels have to deliver you? Are the Reels going to deliver you the five more clients?”
I doubt it.
If they want five more clients because that will deliver them so much money or so much more happiness or whatever, then you have to ask yourself, “What do I need to have those five more clients?”
Usually you need visibility and you need authority.
You say I am going to leverage or increase my visibility and my authority.
Then you can say, using new media, or using existing media or whatever. You're again limiting your sandbox.
Limiting your sandbox is really important because what happens is when people think they have a strategy, and it's “not working”, then they get that gasping for air feeling and wonder, “What else can I be doing?”
and then they get friggin exhausted.
The Big “WHAT ELSE CAN I BE DOING” Problem…
That's where marketing becomes frustrated, because you're not in the sandbox.
Then you're like throwing things in and out.
Once you have the sandbox, which is “I have to increase visibility, and I have to increase my authority,” and then you decide by putting more money in it or less money on it, organically or inorganically, right?
Then you can say, “Okay, how do I achieve that visibility? What is in there to achieve that visibility?”
Then you can say, “Okay, I need more visibility on social media”, or “I need more of this more visibility on my speaking gigs”, or “I need to close.”
It depends who you are.
For instance, if you're a social media person, most probably your tactics, and your strategy will be relying more on social media and that kind of content.
If you're somebody who gives speeches, you thrive on speaking gigs, you know, maybe your strategy, your tactics will be better calls to action when I deliver my pitch, you know, or managing my pitch, and that is more much more of a tactic.
`It really depends. That's why you need to know, where are you? What are your strengths? Because that's the other ingredient in marketing that allows you to be consistent.
You need to know what you like to do, and create a strategy based on that.
That's folded in.
It's not always folded in when you don't consider it.
One of the bases of our program this summer is understanding your marketing strengths, so that we can create a personalized strategy for you that doesn't feel like you're drowning all the time.
Getting a return on you Marketing Investments -
The interesting thing about this is that once you have a strategy, you really start to see the return on investment because you will know where your money is going and you know what your money is doing!
You get your time back because the minute things are not going the way you want them to go, you know exactly where you need to correct.
You say “Ok! My visibility sucks. I need to review”...
But then you know where to review.
It also gives you focus, because you will know what to do every day. Instead of like, “Oh, what am I going to do today?”
Go into some Facebook groups and bop around on Facebook or whatever.
What we talked about last week with understanding your audience, understanding your clients, the niche versus demographics versus, the marketing, message, all of that stuff.
Until you have that piece done, you really can't create a strategy can you?
No, you need to be very present with who your ideal client is and you need to know what your message to that ideal client is.
When you have that you can move on to strategy and when you have the strategy, you know the role that content plays into that strategy.
Then you know exactly what you need to be writing or creating content about.
You also know where you have to be and you know which words to use and everything.
But the problem is when you pull out one of these elements, then you start having holes in your marketing and then marketing becomes frustrating becomes hard becomes complicated.
When you have the basics, it's like you can build a house with foundations.
Have you ever played Jenga? Exactly the same thing, the moment you start pulling pieces from the bottom, your tower falls apart.
Doesn’t matter how many holes you have on the top, but the moment you start pulling the pieces from the base, your tower starts to be unstable. It's exactly the same thing. You need to have foundations in place.
You have a really good visual that you can tell people through it's the problem is, or the goal is I want to get to the other side of this river.
That was the treasure map.
Can you unpack that for us in terms of strategy versus tactics and then we're going to talk about a plan
You want it with the island with the same treasure map?
Yeah. How do they get across the river?
Let's suppose you are in the middle of the desert right and there is a river at some point. You will need to cross the river there. There are also palm trees and mountains. A possible strategy is to climb the palm trees in 20 minutes and get the coconut.
They are just strategies to get to the top of the mountain.
The other strategy could be built on the other side of the river.
Those are different strategies.
The goal is getting somewhere, the strategy is deciding where.
We decided we're going to the other side of the river, that's the strategy.
We'll get to the other side of the river, safe and fast, because it needs to be measurable.
When you know that you have to cross the river, and it has to be safe and fast.
That already tells you you cannot go by swimming because there might be piranhas in the river and you want to make it safe. You can have floating wood, because that's not safe or fast.
You need a boat to get you to the other side.
You could also have an airplane, if you have the means, or you can also find an elephant or a camel.
You need to bear in mind that it needs to be fast and safe.
That is your playground.
You're going to cross the river fast and safe.
The boat is kind of the objective.
Let's jump to the tactic about that. You need to start to think of steps to achieve that goal. The boat would be the tactic, board would be the tactic, the plane would be the tactic and elephant would be the tactic.
That is how you do it. You need to see what you want to do, how you want to do it is a function of your playground. That is quite a bit confusing.
How to use this stuff so you’re not so exhausted in your marketing!
It makes a lot of sense to me, because the tactic is how you're going to achieve the goal and it's the choice that you make. Once you commit to the choice, that's what you're going to do. That's your tactic.
I think that many people confuse those things when they're doing their marketing, and it really depletes them because it feels like you are spinning 1000 plates, rather than really being focused and letting go of the things that aren't part of your strategy.
Definitely. For instance, if you go back to the 20%, more profit in 2022, the strategy would be like,
“Okay, we're going to use our existing marketing assets and organic growth.”
That already tells you what kinds of things you need to think of. It means you need to increase leads, you need to improve your brand reputation, because you need visibility if you want, if you want to grow your profit, you need visibility.
A tactic there could be published weekly blogs to organically bring people into our website through search engine optimization and establish ourselves as thought leaders and that's the tactic.
That's so clear. I love that, I think that's really helpful.
Can we shift into talking because that's one of the things we're going to do with people in the Toolbox program. The other thing that we talk about offering is a plan, and how I think people confuse plan and strategy. What's the difference between a strategy and a plan?
Let’s talk about the difference between a strategy and a plan
The strategy is a sandbox. You know, the guidelines, how you're going to achieve your goals.
The plan is the group of tactics you're going to put in place.
You might have tactics for your social media, you might have tactics for your mailing list, you might have tactics for your website or for your blogs, or for other contents or for your speaking gigs.
That group of those things and what you want to achieve with each tactic.
Making it measurable, because I can write a weekly blog but how do I know that my weekly blog is delivering me results?
I need to see it somewhere more clicks, more converts, more signups whatever. It's the full group of things that steps that you're going to take that are your plans.
That's pretty micro and personalized.
The other thing I'm hearing you saying is your plan can't be vague. It can't be like, “Oh, I'll just post on Instagram three times a week.”
You need to understand what you will be posting on Instagram, when you will be posting, what you need to do, what kind of calls to action like all of those.
It gets very micro.
I think people get tired because it does need to be micro. They're trying to be everywhere and they're conflating tactics and strategies and plans…
They just are trying to do too much rather than having it all parsed out like you've explained it to us today, which I think is really helpful.
For instance, if you know you need visibility. You can say, “Okay, I don't have a mailing list”.
Then you can decide, how is the mailing list going to help me with that visibility?
Is it worth starting a mailing list?
Between parentheses, it's always worth starting a mailing list, because it's your asset, it's your way straight to an inbox. If you're not ready to start the mailing list, it's also very valid, then we look at different ways to get you into that visibility.
We would need you to go okay, I have a wonderful audience on Instagram. What we will see in your case is how we can extrapolate that so that you can leverage more on that.
Is this audience just following you? Are they interacting with you?
Because then the next step would be generating interaction with that audience. That's a tactic. If you know what you need that audience to do for you.
Are you guilty of THIS type of marketing behavior?
I love the explanation here, let me give an example.
I have clients who in their mind think, “I need a lead magnet. That needs to be part of my plan.”
They'll do all if this work on the lead magnet to get people onto their email list.
Then they will not email the people on their email list. It's like, why have you put so much effort into that piece, when overall, you're not going to be working that into your plan?
We really have to think about, like Instagram isn't a great example.
I have a client who is incredibly engaged, she grew her Instagram following so fast, it's incredibly engaged.
That's where she's gotten most of the people for her new program. That is where her people are. She just really leans into that.
Yes, but in her case, I would like that she thinks about strengthening that because the moment Instagram changed the game of the rule games, she might risk losing all the work she has done.
I would think, okay, if this is like your door opener, how can we move these people somewhere else, so that whatever happens to your Instagram, you still have contact with these people?
The important thing is there are two assets. Two types of assets are the ones you own, and the ones that you don't.
Social media is an asset you don't own, your mailing list, your blog, your website, or assets, you own.
Ideally, you need a good balance. Nowadays, the way all these things are intertwined.
Using social media helps you to get faster to where you want to go. If you know what you're doing.
Otherwise, it's lost time. Having all your stuff in an asset that you don't own is very risky. In her case, I would say, how can we strengthen what you already have that would be part of her strategy?
I do think that sometimes people don't have the capacity to consider all of those things at once. Part of what we're going to do in the toolbox is really assess where you are now, what assets do you have and what's your capacity and what are we leaning into.
What's the first step you need to take.
That’s important. I think this has been really helpful. Anything else you want to say about strategy versus tactics versus plan?
Yes, again have the long term view of how this is going to help your business because having a strategy allows you to simplify your life.
Then you know, everyday what you have to do that saves you enormous amount of time and frustration, because it also helps you to stay focused & helps your team if you're working with a team helps you or if you only have a VA, or you have an intern or somebody who's helping you, helps everybody to stay focused.
Then as a consequence, you will see the return on investment in everything you put into it, you know in time the quality of the leads your track, the people you bring to your track to your business, and the money, last but not least.
Thanks, Claudia. If you are interested in becoming part of the Toolbox experience, it's an eight week live experience where we are working with you.
There will be time for implementation. You will walk away with a strategy that's personalized, you'll understand the tactics that work for you. You'll have a plan so you know what you're doing everyday and you don't wake up going, what do I feel like trying today, it doesn't work like that.
Go to jenliddy.com/toolbox to learn more about whether this program is right for you.
Claudia and I are doing calls to see if it's a good fit. This is the first time we're running it, you'll find it's a beta price of $1,800 for eight weeks with two experts and their eyes on your work.
You’ll walk away with not only all of this foundational stuff done for your content, planning and strategy and the tactics, but also a complete content vault that you can apply across everything you have in your business.
We're excited about it. It's gonna be an amazing live program. It's good, like imagine walking away with a vault of all of that stuff. Again, you can go to jenliddy.com/toolbox and the information will be there.
Thank you again, Claudia. For unpacking all of this, you always have this very incisive way with your examples and your clarity to help us kind of see what has gotten a little bit murky in the marketing ocean. I appreciate it.
I think to myself, because we don't have exactly the same content.
That's why we're gonna be Yin and Yang for each other. All right, everybody. I will look forward to seeing you next week on the podcast when we're gonna bring you more about marketing and content and helping you clear up some of your confusion.