Ted Simon Says

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The Lure of the Measurable: Why Social Strategies Fail

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Charlene Li of Altimeter is one of the smartest people on the planet, especially when it comes to the world of social. Once again, she's nailed it. In her recent post: Why Most Social Strategies Fail, Charlene highlights the key issues underlying where most companies come up short, namely failing to create coherent social business strategy. She points out that while many companies have a series of tactics, those tactics all too often are not guided by a set of clear business objectives. In fact, in many cases there is no strategy, just a series of tactics without a clear goal or purpose.

Ted Simon Says: Hal-le-LOO-yah! I couldn't have put it better myself and only wish I had.

Tactics Over Strategy

It's been my observation and experience that this "tactics before/instead of strategy" issue has been growing steadily over the past 15-20 years. Not coincidentally, that mirrors the growth of the development of the Internet and digital marketing.

We all know how helpful it's been to utilize the measurability of the digital channel to inform our marketing efforts. However, there is also the downside of overdoing this practice. In this period, I've seen many marketing and business leaders falling prey to what I call, "the lure of the measurable."

The Lure of the Measurable

In the digital marketing and business world so many activities are measurable via the vast array of tools that have developed that they replace strategic thinking with executing their way to success. In many cases, upfront strategic thinking and planning have been replaced by a business culture nurtured on testing tactics, selecting the best performers and iterating up the performance ladder. This mentality has clearly spilled into the world of social as well.

A wise colleague once told me: "You can't A/B test your way to success with a flawed strategy." That pretty much sums up the issue of tactics before/instead of strategy in my mind.

So, how about you? Do you have a clear business strategy guiding your social tactics, or do you have it the other way around?