insights

Why the right strategy matters

November 14, 2018

For smaller organizations who operate without an autonomous marketing team, it often becomes a challenge to lay out a structured media strategy. But why does it matter? Why does a company, especially one operating on a smaller scale, need to worry about media strategy?

MELANIE ELVALD 
Sales Marketing and Communications Manager

Let me tell you.

Media strategy is sometimes overlooked and marketers decidedly turn to tactical executions first. However, strategy plays a critical role. Think about it like this: if you need to get boxes of Niagara apples to a Sudbury store the next day, you need to go by road with a truck.

Strategy is the road that connects your target audience to your objective.

Tactics are the truck that you use to get there.

To recommend the truck, we first need to know that the intent is to use the road. Imagine that we didn’t take the time to understand strategy and we decided to take a boat to get from Niagara to Sudbury. It would be a pretty ineffective journey.

That’s what deciding on tactics without a fleshed out strategy looks like: a boat, laying on the solid ground, not moving any people (or apples!) toward your objective. While tactics may change (you may downsize to a pickup vs a cube van), the constant remains that you will always take the road. The road is your strategy.

Now let’s apply strategy to digital advertising:

A client approaches Suite 66 and tells us that they’re trying to sell winter tires to minivan and SUV drivers, and they know the best time to talk to these drivers is when they’re feeling natural anxiety about being on the road with their family.  Based on what they know, they’ve determined that their strategy is this:

Get minivan and SUV drivers to upgrade their tires by connecting with them at points where they are feeling anxiety about driving.

Now Suite 66 knows that we need to help this tire client find and message at the critical moments of anxiety for these drivers. We would then recommend a variety of solutions, like:

  • Message on AccuWeather when the driving conditions are forecast to be difficult: freezing rain, ice, heavy snow or rain.
  • Messaging on blogTO around winter activities for kids or families

We’ve now answered the brief with tactics that fit the client’s needs and align to their strategy.  These tactics have the best opportunity for success as they are grounded in a strategic framework, backed by thoughtful insights and effective messaging.

Let’s talk about what happens when you do strategy right!

When you get the strategy right, you’ve decided on not only who and what, but how and when; it is with these understandings that your media strategy takes shape.

That’s the thing about strategy vs tactics. While tactics can be changed, adapted, and scaled down or up, strategies are tied to the two things that matter the most: who you’re getting to do what. As long as those two things stay the same, you can be sure your tactics are getting your audience to where you need them.

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