Tool Confusion: An Argument for Strategy

Our daily lives are filled with ways to save time and money, relieve stress, improve the bottom line, and every promise out there that makes your life easier. The same is true with marketing, but it’s important that you don’t confuse new tools with strategy. Even with the best tools, the best services, and the best people, there must be a strategy, or a method to get the best results.

Let’s consider this in the scenario of a building a house. Every aspect of the build is important to accomplish the job. You have to have the right people to get the job done; without this your timeline will be extended indefinitely. You have to have the right tools. After all, it’s going to take some time to hand cut multiple studs with a hand saw. You have to have the right budget, no money = no supplies. Finally, you have to have a plan. In fact, without a plan, there will be no direction and all of the other parts will be out of sync.

Building the Plan

The first step in building a marketing strategy is determining what you want out of your efforts. Are you trying to drive more sales (is your website optimized for this)? Are you looking to become an authority figure in your market? There are numerous reasons for promoting your business and this is something that has to be determined prior to starting anything else. Then, once you’ve determined your main objective, it’s important to start considering benchmarking ideas.

What do you consider success? Higher traffic amounts to your site, more ad campaign clicks, more conversions, an increase in on-page time? It is extremely important that you have these recorded so you can revisit them in the future. With most goals be sure to be realistic, but also set the bar high enough so that success feels…well, successful.

Setting Your Budget—Accurately

Once you have your goals set, it’s important to consider what type of investment you will be able to allocate towards your campaigns. Our very own Cody See once asked me, “Do you have a lot of time or a lot of money? You’re going to need one.” It’s essential that prior to starting any efforts you recognize if you have the investment backing, monetarily or otherwise, to get where you’re looking to go. You will need to know if you have timing, people, tools, overhead, and other potential investments depending on your unique setup. This step should take time and heavy consideration.

Getting the Right People/Tools

With your plan in place, it’s time to get to work. Choosing your team is essential to the success of your vision. When choosing a team, you will have to decide whether it will be internal, external, or a healthy mix of both. It is important to have people who are thinkers and doers so that your efforts are not only being completed accurately but that stagnation doesn’t plague your efforts. Keep in mind that new ideas are great, so you don’t want to nix everything that comes across the table, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re not reinventing the wheel every month.

Now, it’s time for my favorite part of the plan: picking your tools. With the continual rise of digital marketing there are more “tools” to help you succeed every day but it’s important to understand how those tools help, how they work, and who’s going to use them.

Some considerations prior to picking tools could include the following, depending on your goals/vision:

What benefits come from this tool? Will it…

  • Make it easier for my audience to find me?
  • Minimize/lower my input cost?
  • Maximize/increase my profit?
  • Increase my value to my audience?

How can I measure the success of implementation?

  • Click through rates?
  • Conversion rates?
  • Accurately attributed sales?

Who is going to use this?

  • Internal team?
  • External team?
  • Customer focused use?

Is the cost worth the investment?


With this information, you will be able to take a different look at your current marketing efforts and see if you’re heading in the right direction or if it’s time to revisit and refocus your vision. Be sure to share this information with everyone involved so everyone is clear of the destination and their respective role.


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