Monday, February 12, 2007

Consulting Tactician

Will you see a clip about a “consulting advertising tactician” on YouTube? No. Is there room in life for one more title? Maybe. Will you read about it here on my weblog? Yes.

After several years’ mulling, I have coined consulting advertising tactician as the best way to describe what I generally do for a living – It encompasses my “copywriting, advertising tactics and branding” language into a holistic approach. The new phrase knits my capabilities together and defines the value I add to my clients’ efforts.

Look at it from the top down. Clients (or good marketing agencies) are supposed to define business and marketing strategies. The whys and the wheres are strategic matters and should be decided at the upper levels of a corporation – even though they sometimes are not. In classic military thinking, a strategy is the art of using battles to win campaigns or entire wars, operating on a different scale: regional, national, global.

Strategies are absolutely necessary for tactics to have an enterprise-wide effect.

But frequently, the tactical plan needed to make the strategy a winning one goes missing. Sometimes, implementers jump directly to the tactics they know (ads, direct mail, events, brochures and so on) in the hopes that getting a sales message out in these forms will win the war. Sometimes, mid-level decision-makers don’t quite know how to develop a comprehensive approach to taking the strategy to market…or don’t realize that there may be new elements which can become powerful tactical weapons.

When “battles” are fought out individually, divorced from the strategy, without assembling the tactics into a strategically embracing campaign, there is no overall victory. Each battle may be successful: the direct mail campaign may have a terrific result; the webinar may pull in hundreds of participants. But the strategic effect is lost.

Nope, this isn’t a flashback to marketing warfare. Yep, companies recognize that something is missing. Agencies do too, which is why some people have titles like ‘strategic planner.” This term is vague; it’s never quite captured what the job is.

I am a tactical planner as well as an executor of the tactics themselves. It was one of my jobs as Creative Director for many years. Now, because I freelance, I’m a consultant.

So clients who have needed plans that connect their strategies to their tactical executions have called on me to develop these plans for them. A consulting advertising tactician does three things (at least, this one does).

First, fit together a company’s marketing objectives with an experienced and nuanced view of a particular market – and the customers at whom the tactics will be aimed.

Second, represent the customers’ human nature and the appeals of the company’s products or services to it.

Third, work directly with clients to produce a step-by-step plan for getting the strategy into the marketplace, define the nature and the timing of individual tactical elements and propose measurement of results.

Condensing consulting advertising tactician into an elevator statement isn’t immediately easy – but that’s one of my jobs as well. So consider this a work-in-progress. Stay tuned for the next development.

My thanks to War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, by Manuel de Landa. Photography © Photographer: Jonny Mccullagh Agency:

1 comment:

Susan Kirkland said...

Richard, nice picture.

"After several years' mulling, I have coined consulting advertising tactician as the best way to describe what I generally do for a living--"

Tactical Advertising Consultant or Advertising Tactical Consultant is more grammatically correct, thank you.

Advertising Tactics and Strategems by Richard Laurence Baron III...SDK