Making a ton of stuff isn’t a path to marketing success. So what is?
If you have a family – or even just a lot of roommates – this might sound familiar.
You head to the grocery store, planning to pick up four or five ingredients you need to make dinner. But as you walk through the aisles, your phone keeps buzzing. People are texting to ask you to buy elbow noodles. And avocados. Hey, can you get microwave popcorn? And there’s this new frozen pizza they just saw a commercial for, can you get that too?
Marketing has been fragmented by the opportunities of the digital age. And it’s started to feel like one of those shopping expeditions. Professionals start out with a list but add to it constantly, checking off one new tactic after another.
Your list might look something like:
- 3 social media posts a day
- 1 new landing page a week
- 2 new blog posts per week
- 1 white paper a month
- The next newsletter
- The bright, shiny thing that your VP of Sales heard about at a conference
- And on and on…
And that’s not even including tentpole initiatives like videos or paid media plans. Or daily to-dos like website updates and SEO.
Working inside this “shopping list system” of marketing, what can you do other than execute on seemingly endless, random tactics?
If you don’t know or can’t demonstrate how your marketing efforts directly help the business achieve its goals, your marketing plan is probably made up of something estound calls “Slacktics.”
Um, what are Slacktics, exactly?
In Slacktics mode, you prioritize tactics for their own sake. Marketing is all about pushing: push a product, push a price change, push a rebrand, get it done yesterday.
Despite producing work at a breakneck pace, the thinking behind Slacktics is lazy. It defines marketing’s value by comparing the amount of stuff you made last month to the amount of stuff you could make next month. That’s ineffective at best, and a recipe for burnout at worst.
The most insidious thing about Slacktics? They’re addictive! If one thing on your list isn’t working, just add more stuff.
Operating in this fashion, the marketing department adds little strategic value to the business. And it’s treated that way.
“OK, so we need to measure stuff, right???”
Unfortunately, measuring a tactic doesn’t prove its worth.
The ad hoc adoption of digital tactics birthed a seemingly endless, platform-specific fountain of data that gives a business manager all the information he or she could possibly want to know about a campaign, down to the most minuscule detail. Even traditional tactics can be tracked for responses that can be captured through phone calls, website visits, online chat and social media mentions.
The problem with Slacktics’ fountain of data is that it isn’t very useful. Impressions, traffic and engagement aren’t usually linked to strategic goals. Executives drown in data while starving for actionable information.
Your effort will only mean something if you can tie performance concretely to predetermined, mission-critical goals.
Marketing isn’t a function, it’s a strategic imperative.
In strategy mode, marketing is pulling the business towards the marketplace. Because it knows what customers want. And it makes sure the company’s leadership knows it too.
To escape the Slacktics trap, you need to create connections. What are your biggest goals? And how will your marketing strategy, campaigns and tactics deliver on them?
Therein lies the real challenge – it takes cross-functional collaboration to span the gap. You can’t do it alone. You need to break down the walls between your team and others, invite more colleagues into this expanded space, and let them be a part of your plans and successes. That way, when your leadership commits time, money and people to marketing, you’ll know what those resources are supposed to accomplish and be confident you’ve done it effectively.
A marketing department governed by Slacktics, shopping, and reams of useless data can never accomplish that.