This is the last article in which we will talk about GSOT.
We have been moving down the line from broad to more specific. We’ve talked about goals, strategy, and objectives that will help you achieve those goals. Now it’s time for tactics.
Before we do, let’s do a quick review. GSOT stands for:
Goals are the broad primary outcomes you want to achieve.
Strategy is how we are going to achieve our goals.
Objectives are the measurable steps that tie to our strategy and will be markers to meeting your goals.
Last, is our tactics but what are tactics and how should they be used?
What Are Tactics
Tactics are the action you are taking when you’re implementing your plan.
Most people like to jump straight to tactics because it’s action and we love to take action. Sometimes it feels like we aren’t really doing much until we take action that everybody can see.
I can understand why people love to jump into action. However, without going through the previous steps, it’s just activity that may or may not get you to where need to be.
Tactics in Action
Let’s look at an example so you can see how each piece works together and where the tactics fall in this process.
My goal is to go to Boise State from where I live. My strategy is that I’m driving in my car on the freeway. The on-ramp is an objective. Taking the connector is the second objective. Exit on River Street is the next objective…you get the idea.
The tactics are all those actions that I take to get from my house to Boise State. Turn right on to this street. Turn left on to that street. Merge onto the freeway. They are very specific actions that will help you reach your objectives.
Your tactics are informed by your strategy but as I’ve previously said, they also tie back to your objectives.
Look at your objectives and strategy. Now, how are you going to get to that objective? Those actions that you need to take are the tactics.
Here is a business example. If the objective is to get 30,000 leads and your strategy is to use paid, shared, owned, and earned media, what actions need to be taken?
If you are using paid media, a tactic might be to run Facebook ads that drive people to your blog content.
A shared media tactic could be to promote blog content on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
A tactic for owned media could be to create blog articles that focus on those specifics topics that you have discovered through research are important to your target audience.
Earned media can also play into this. Maybe you take a blog post from your website and rework it for a 3rd party site such as Fortune with a link back to your site
Don’t Forget To Measure
As you’re creating tactics it’s important to remember you need to measure what you are doing.
For the goals and the objectives, you entered a number or date. Something specific and measurable.
You aren’t creating metrics for your tactics. You’re measuring them to see how well they are working.
Here is another quick example. I write a blog article and promote it via Twitter and LinkedIn. I measure how many people clicked through to that article from each. I’m also measuring views of the article.
I’m putting something out there, my blog article, and then measuring it to see how well it does. I’m also measuring how well sharing it on Twitter and Linked promotes the article.
If you’re practicing search engine optimization (SEO), and you should always be doing this, you will also be able to measure how much organic traffic is coming to the article via search engines.
I use Google Analytics which is a free web analytics tool that tracks and reports web traffic (If you haven’t set up Google Analytics, there is a fantastic article on the Orbit Media blog written by Andy Crestodina that will walk you through the set-up step by step). I can see the traffic of each page and where it’s coming from. It will help you make decisions on what is working and what isn’t.
At one point I was using Instagram as a channel to promote blog posts. I used it for 15 months before I finally dropped it because it wasn’t sending hardly any traffic. Beyond that, the people who did click through were gone quicker than it took you to read this sentence.
If I hadn’t been measuring, chances are I would have continued to use it. Because I was measuring it, I was able to easily identify that it was a poor return on investment.
Don’t be afraid to divorce something that isn’t working. That said, don’t try it for a month and then drop it because it’s not working. You need to give it time.
Tactics are the action that propels you towards the objectives and ultimately the goals. They are the engine of the GSOT model. However, don’t sacrifice the other steps for the sake of tactics. There is a reason that we walk through this process leaving tactics for last. To truly help you, they need to have a purpose and that’s what the previous steps provide.
When you’re creating your strategic marketing plan, GSOT is a top-down process. You start with defining goals and move down through each step until you have your tactics. When you execute the plan, it’s bottom-up. You’re executing your tactics as part of a strategy to reach objectives and ultimately your goals.