One Size Does NOT Fit All: Choosing the Tactics Your Campaign Needs to Succeed

Apr 11, 2018

Crafting a strategic communications plan is a lot like mapping out your route for a road trip. Organization and forecasting is critical. You know where you want to end up, but there are a lot of different combinations of roads you can take to get there. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to navigate a road trip, thanks to Google and Apple Maps and Waze. However, until there’s an app for strategic communications planning, it’s vital that we break out the old map book and thoughtfully and carefully chart a step-by-step roadmap to prepare for each and every project and campaign.

For strategic communications, you chart your route to success not through a combination of roads but through a combination of tactics. There are dozens of different communications tactics to choose from, and they can be implemented together in hundreds of different combinations that have the potential to complement each other and generate a seemingly infinite number of different outcomes.

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So how do you choose the right combination that will get you to your destination? Here are five tips to get you started down the route to success when it comes to identifying tactics:

1. There’s [almost] never a single silver bullet
It’s very unlikely that just one or even just a few tactics by themselves will be enough to get you to the winner’s circle. You need to carefully look at what your objective is, who your key audiences are and what your messages are to determine what combination of tactics will allow you to reach your audiences, convey your messages and execute calls to action that ultimately achieve your objectives.

2. Consider your audience(s)
If you’re targeting Gen Z, you want to advertise on Snapchat, not Facebook. If you want to reach millennials, print ads in the Sunday paper likely won’t get it done. Figure out where your audience spends time – whether that’s in the real world or in the digital universe – and reach them there.

3. Work smarter, not harder 
If you need to reach a very specific handful of decision-makers to accomplish your objective for a project, the most direct path to success may not be a large-scale, public communications push. The shortest distance between start and finish is a straight line, so if you can go directly to the individual(s) you need to reach, or even just to each of their inner circles, you’re much more likely to succeed than if you go all in on a major ad buy and just hope they watch the right channel or visit the right website.

4. Leverage technology, when it can work in your favor 
Technology is amazing. You can target specific blocks of streets, hundreds of different demographic and interest segments, major life events … almost any sliver of the population you could ever want to reach, you can zero in on through the amazing power that is the internet and social media. Technology also allows you to package your message in many different ways so you can leverage whatever will best resonate with who you need to reach, whether it’s a 20-second, no-audio video to reach new moms who don’t have time to read something and can’t risk noise waking the baby or commuters who have a 30-minute bus or trolley ride to read a more in-depth article and headphones to watch a long video. Or the Instagram users who only communicate in pictures. Whoever you’re trying to reach, you have to analyze available data and identify the best tools to reach them. Honing in on who you’re reaching with the tools to best reach them is the difference between nearly guaranteed success and almost definite failure.

5. Adapt and allow for spontaneity 
There’s always the possibility of hitting a detour or a roadblock, even with the best laid plans. So if you do stumble on one, you need to be ready to respond and re-route, which may mean abandoning a tactic or two that aren’t working in favor of new ones that might perform better. The important thing is to establish quantifiable metrics at the outset and track that data so you can see what’s on track and what isn’t, and make adjustments accordingly.

If at first you don’t success, try again … with a new combination of tactics. You can’t just choose your tactics and then sit back, relax and expect to arrive at success. You need to choose your tactics, execute, and then constantly monitor how those tactics are performing and whether they’re delivering the results you need.

So whether you’re at the beginning of your journey, or refining your course after getting a little lost, these tips will help you continue honing your approach so you can reach your destination a little sooner, and avoid some bumps in the road along the way!

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