You hear a lot more about strategy than you actually see.

The most important part of marketing is also the most misunderstood.

Probably the most common error perpetrated by those who seek a strategy is to draw up a list of stuff and bestow upon said list the hallowed label: Strategy. The thinking is: if we have identified, say, a website refresh and a social media blast as “What We Need to Do,” then what we’re talking about here is a strategy. But no. This is a list of tactics.

Sun Tzu: Smart dude.

The legendary thinker, were he alive today, would sweep through your typical conference room with a sword, bringing a blood-curdling end to the endless chatter about tactics. “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer,” he said, “but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”

Tactics are the way to keep busy. Strategy is the way to win.

This is why strategy is so rare: it’s easy to work hard doing a bunch of stuff. But if all that activity didn’t start with a clearly defined goal and thoughtful path to achieve that goal, it is mere bustle.

The question at the heart of strategy.

A client arrives at our doorstep and asks us to build a new website. Our first question: Why? It’s not that we don’t want to build the website. We love building websites. But if we are going to really, truly solve our client’s problem, we need to know what is their ultimate goal. If they say “We want more money,” then that is a start. Next question: Why aren’t you getting enough now? They might say “Our customers buy once and we never see them again. We need repeat business.” Okay, now we are getting somewhere. We will keep asking “Why”-type questions—on and on and on—until finally, we have identified the root reason for the client’s problem that stimulated their desire for a website. Only then can we confirm that yes, a website is the right solution. After that, we begin designing and building one that will best achieve the goal.

Of course, a great strategy is only great if it’s executed well. That’s where knowing how to manage and deploy tactics kick in. The first tactic we would recommend, of course, would be contacting us.