February 22, 2017
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4 Ways Marketing Is Like Going To War

From Strategy To Integration, It’s A War Out There

When you’re working on the strategy for a campaign that is intended to achieve industry (or even world) domination for your client, by reaching the appropriate targets, it can feel like you’re preparing for war rather than marketing activities.

As it turns out, the two contrasting fields of promotion and warfare have a surprising amount in common. At least, they do when done right.

What parallels, then, can be drawn between an integrated marketing agency and the wartime general, preparing to face the battlefront?

 

Formulating Achievable Goals

Before a general even considers introducing so much as a single asset to the theatre of battle, he must first know what his force’s mission is. After all, without defining victory, how can you know if you’ve achieved it?

The outset of a marketing campaign should be accompanied by the establishment of well-defined and, above all, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Tangible) goals. Goals serve as milestones along the road to victory. Their achievement lets you know that you’re still on the path to winning, and they tell you when you’ve won.

If you’re unsure about the goals you should be pursuing, remember that, at the end of the day, a campaign is a solution, or series of solutions, to a problem. Name your problems, and it becomes easier to determine the marketing solutions required to tackle them.

Those solutions are your goals.

Whether military or marketing, a campaign will have two very broad categories of goal.

There’s the grand, overarching goal that reads like a mission statement for the campaign (do you want to sack Rome? Expand brand awareness into Europe?) and then there are the smaller, bite-size goals whose accomplishment will serve as road signs along the path to victory (cross the Alps, accrue 1000 new European social media fans, etc).

 

Careful Strategising

Once he’s laid out goals that are achievable and specific, our hypothetical general can start formulating the strategic framework and timeline for their completion.

As Sun-Tzu said “tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.

You can have the neatest tricks, the biggest dreams, and the most effective assets in the game, but without a plan for how to employ it all, in an integrated effort toward the achievement of a unified goal, your vision is already dead in the water.

Much like the general, a marketing and communications agency uses the strategy formulated at the outset of activities to inform each decision – the strategy will tell us when the campaign is ready for each new step, it tells us when the completion of one goal should lead to the pursuit of another. The strategy gives us an outline of expected activities and outcomes, as well as the ideal timeline along which they are plotted.

 

Strategic Awareness

As a campaign unfolds, both the general and his marketing counterparts will quickly find themselves and their carefully-laid plans overwhelmed as strategy meets the unpredictability of reality. That is, unless they are diligent in maintaining a firm hold on their awareness of the situation they are in.

Strategic awareness is about always being mindful of your circumstances, and how they impact your strategy. It means being aware of changing conditions, rising threats and new opportunities that may necessitate a strategic adjustment.

Famously frightening pugilist, Mike Tyson once said that “everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.”

Strategic awareness allows the vigilant agency to roll with the punches, and adapt the strategy to meet the demands of the reality on the ground.

 

Integrated Assets And Tactics

Before ordering his infantry or armour to advance on a position, the wise general knows to have his airborne assets lay down cover fire so that his troops can move in, free of enemy harassment. Likewise, he needs to have his engineers repair bridges, or have amphibious transport on hand before his marines attempt to traverse bodies of water.

The organisation and integration of diverse skills is absolutely essential in efficiently accomplishing a goal. Marines can swim, and infantry can technically still advance under a hail of enemy fire, but timeous completion of strategic goals can be negatively impacted by a failure to leverage disciplines appropriate to the situation.

Likewise, applying SEO techniques to your website promotion and digital brand-building campaign can succeed in getting your site the traffic and Google ranking you’re looking for, but results will be more efficiently achieved if your SEO is backed up by AdWords that are integrated thematically and strategically with the overall campaign.

Going beyond digital, your online marketing and advertising efforts will achieve more if they are supplemented by offline promotional activities that are adequately and acc
urately aimed at the appropriate target market.

If you want more information, insights and unusual marketing and advertising comparisons, be sure to check our blog out regularly, or contact us and inquire about what solutions Wetpaint can provide for meeting your promotional and branding challenges.

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