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FIR On Strategy with Andrea VascellariThis is part of a series of posts that explores the “Adaptive Digital Strategy Framework”, an operative guide that I created to plan, execute and manage online strategy programs more effectively and efficiently. Each of post of this series comes with an audio podcast in which you will find the audio version of the post with additional audio commentary about the discussed topics. The name of the podcast is “FIR On Strategy with Andrea Vascellari”.

If you conducted your context analysis, defined your audiences, objectives and strategies, well then it’s time for you to focus on your tactics.

As I mentioned in a previous post/episode, tactics and strategies are often misunderstood so before moving on let’s refresh this concept.

  • Objective: It’s your aim – i.e. like reaching the top of the mountain.
  • Strategy: This is about how you will achieve your objective – i.e. the path/way you’ll take to get to the top.
  • Tactics: Means by which the strategy is carried out – i.e. the actions and the tools you will use to climb.

The reason why I always underline the relation between objectives, strategies and tactics is because like a strategy without well planned and implemented tactics means nothing, tactics alone won’t make you achieve your objectives.

A tactic is essentially a way of going about something and only the right tactics that fit your strategy can help you achieve your end result, your objectives.

Sharing your posts on Twitter, updating a Facebook page, sending individual emails to new subscribers, creating a landing page, these are all tactics. But according to which criteria you should choose the tactics? How do you go about developing a good tactical plan?

Well here’s a three step process that can help you out:

1) Choose the right tactics.

It sounds almost obvious right? Well it’s not.

Would a “landing page” be a good tactic for a reputation management/pr project? Probably not. I’m sure there are ways we could use it but that’s a tactic that for example would serve better as a tactical tool for leads generation in a marketing project.

The important thing when you are choosing your tactics is to ensure that they always fit with your strategy and objectives. Often people make a mistake when they want to implement a specific tactic just because everybody is doing it or because it’s the “new shiny tool” that has to be used no matter what.

For example if your target audience is not on Twitter, forget about trying to implementing it as a tactical communication channel in your project because it’s not something that will help you achieve your objectives.

So as a first step keep this in mind.

2) Define tactics for each target audience.

Each audience group needs specific tactics so as a second step make a list of all your key audience groups and define at least two or three tactics that you will use to target them.

Choosing only one tactic won’t guarantee you to successfully achieve your objective/s because the members of each group, even if similar, present anyway some differences. There is always a certain degree of fragmentation so if you want to reach effectively the multiple “touch points” of each audience group, you have to use always multiple tactics.

3) Define tactics for each phase of your project.

What works well with a certain audience group in the initial stage won’t necessarily work in the final stage of your initiative. So as a third step you should define different tactics for the different phases of your project.

Something that I find particularly useful is to divide your tactics in:

  • Pre-Initiative.
  • During your initiative.
  • Post initiative.

This is extremely important because the communication dynamics with your target groups change throughout your initiative and that why your tactical plan doesn’t have to be rigid, but flexible and adaptive.

Of course the digital landscape and the tools will keep changing and evolving but if you follow this framework you will always get a clear tactical plan that depending on the nature of your project (PR,marketing, other…) will tell you which tactics you should use, for which audience group and at which stage of your initiative.

There you have it, like I always do this was another set of “ever green” tips that goes straight to the point. I hope you will find it helpful.

Over To You

This is based on my experience, what would you adjust based on yours? What do you think about it? Is something missing? Looking at the sector you are working in, would you approach this differently? Let me know in the comments.

Andrea @vascellari
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