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Are you mistaking marketing tactics for strategy?

One of the fun parts of my job is that I work with very smart people–my clients. One of them told me that they have no interest in figuring out their LinkedIn strategy. It’s not that he doesn’t care about LinkedIn–far from it–but he is voicing something that is critically important in marketing: understanding the difference between tactics and strategy. His point is that if you don’t understand your overall strategy, you’re not ready to think about LinkedIn. 

If this seems somehow off to you, let me try it a different way. Suppose you just landed at a new company in charge of marketing and someone walks into your office the first day and says, “We need a strategy for billboards.”–what would you say?

Diversification (marketing strategy)
Diversification (marketing strategy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, understand, depending on the company, you might really need a strategy for billboards–I don’t know. But that’s the point. First, you need to understand your overall market strategy, and how digital fits into it, and then you can start thinking about social and maybe LinkedIn. It makes no sense to dive into LinkedIn just because all the cool kids are doing it. Or because your competitors are doing it. Or because the boss asked for it.

Now that’s not to say that you can’t have a LinkedIn strategy or a social strategy or a search strategy. In fact, we even provide training that helps you set your digital strategy in any of these areas. But it’s important that you be thinking strategically. What do any of these approaches do for your business? Why are they important? How do they fit with other things you are doing? How will you know they are working.

That’s a lot more important than being able to tell the boss that you have a LinkedIn group.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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