It’s surprising how often certain words in the advertising profession are used interchangeably. Take these terms for example: plans, goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics. Most of us have heard these terms used interchangeably, even though they not only mean something different, but are specifically different aspects of a larger process.
Understanding how these are different, and how they work together, is important — particularly if you are a client working with a branding agency, creative agency or, really, any kind of advertising agency. When there’s a goal to achieve in terms of advertising or marketing, your chances of defining it — much less achieving it — are much greater if you understand the differences.
Think about it this way:
- A goal describes the overall, broad outcome desired.
- The strategy is the specific approach you will take to achieve that goal.
- An objective is a measurable step you take to achieve your strategy. (Measurable means it must be defined by a number.)
- A tactic is a specific tool used to achieve the objective associated with your strategy.
- Finally, the process by which all of these are tied together is usually the called the plan.
So, how might this come to life in a real work setting? Our plan would contain elements similar to these:
EXAMPLE SITUATION: Organizations fraudulently claiming to support veterans raise funds that don’t actually benefit veterans’ causes. This makes it difficult for those wanting to help veterans to know which organizations to support, which in turn makes it difficult for legitimate organizations to raise funds that actually help veterans in need.
Create a national association designed to authenticate veterans’ support groups so that supporters and donors can feel confident that their support/donations are, in fact, reaching legitimate groups helping veterans.
Develop a method to curate a list of national support groups that legitimately benefit veterans.
Create a clearinghouse that validates and registers at least 25% of the existing veterans’ support groups so that donors can feel comfortable supporting them.
- Brand the clearinghouse so that it is memorable (name and logo development).
- Create a direct response solicitation targeting registered veterans’ support groups so that they can apply online for validation by the clearinghouse.
- Launch a website that lists these validated groups, as well as information about the groups and the specific support they provide.
- Create a digital advertising campaign to help supporters and donors understand that they can confidently support/donate to veterans’ groups listed on the clearinghouse website.
- Launch a public relations campaign to announce the branded clearinghouse and educate target audiences on its purpose.
Hopefully this example clarifies the differences between these terms and helps you determine the plan, strategies, objectives, and tactics that will ultimately help you achieve your goals more effectively.
DAVID HADELER is brand strategist at The LOOMIS Agency, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top ad agency in Dallas. For more about challenger branding, subscribe to our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog
For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE