Better Strategy

Strategy Icon

Yes, we’re a marketing agency, but when it comes to strategy, we think beyond the marketing department.

We see strategy as a business tool that touches every corner of your organization… from sales to product development and right down the hall to member services and human resources. What we do here only matters if it has an impact there (and there, and over there).  

There are plenty of ways to get from point A to point B. So many, in fact, that it’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a solid plan to keep you on course. So before we jump to solving, we’ll get down to the business of understanding your business—who the players are, what’s at play, and why it matters. We start with getting to know you and work outward toward your audience. We use business tools like SWOT analysis, audits, and research to get there.

We recommend that strategy inform tactics, not the other way around. What works for some doesn’t always work for others.


Branding, Creative, Strategy, Research

Want better strategy? Let’s Talk.


How do you define marketing?

GOOD question. So many definitions out there. We think it’s the creation, management, and measurement of programs designed to INFLUENCE the CHOICE you need people to make to meet your objectives. (Thanks to Matthew Willcox, author of “The Business of Choice,” for that one.) We’re really business consultants with a focus on behavior and the use of marketing tools to influence it. Those tools vary widely.

What’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a plan?

Short answer: the strategy defines the who, what, and why; the plan describes the how, where, and when. And the long answer: a marketing strategy gives your organization a focused set of rules for approaching your goals and some boundaries for using your resources. It’s big-picture thinking, informed by research, and influenced by what makes the brand unique and how humans behave. A plan is the tactical implementation of the strategy. It usually includes fully fleshed-out tactics and channels for how you will communicate with your audience, a timeline, a budget, and a media buy if applicable. And yes, we do both. Like toothpaste and a toothbrush, they’re better together.

Do we need a separate digital strategy?

Nope. Unless digital marketing is your only strategy. That’s a whole other conversation. Maybe a long one. Digital marketing stopped being its own thing a long time ago. (Just like public relations and content.) We know this feels a bit like splitting hairs, but say it with us: “One strategy, many tactics.” Your strategy should be for ALL of your marketing to work TOGETHER in alignment with your brand and your business goals. If you compartmentalize it, you lessen the impact and risk losing your mind wondering what in the world “the people in digital” were thinking! Unless of course, you ARE the people in digital, which means you’re probably using the word conversions instead of goals, and nobody is telling you what the ten-year plan is. We get it. We do the digital thing, too. Read more about that in the Digital FAQs here.

Think of it as a three-ring circus. One big tent (strategy), lots of wildly different ways of engaging the audience. Lions (digital) and trapeze artists (public relations) do different things, to much different effect! So you’ll want a plan for each. We’ll be the guy in the top hat in the center ring bringing it all together. Only we use a WIP (Work in Progress), not a whip—that would be cruel.

Do we need a separate public relations strategy?

See the answer to FAQ #3 and enjoy some cotton candy.

How far in advance should we be planning?

We typically say one year, but your mileage may vary. We want to know where the organization intends to be five years—even ten years—down the road before we start planning. Are you building to sell? Or buy? Passing a family business to the next generation or inviting shareholders to the table? Expanding your product line or your geographic footprint? It matters.

We’ll keep your long-term business goals in mind as we create the annual plan, knowing that every year builds toward the next. That said, we usually recommend splitting the year into quarters in order to best manage tactics and measure results. What can be measured can be improved, so we build in metrics to take you from good to better. We don’t believe in “best.” Best doesn’t leave room for improvement, and there is always room for improvement.