What success looks like

Too often, I'm in situations where tactics are thrown about as a substitute for real planning. "We need a Facebook campaign," or "We need a five minute web video," or "What we need is a website with X, Y, and Z." If you're in a marketing meeting where you immediately witness others diving into discussing or presenting very specific "solutions" such as these, be very suspicious. And, brace for a proverbial roller coaster ride.

You cannot arrive at marketing solutions until you define (succinctly and exactly) what it is you're trying to achieve. One of the ways I've found that helps to do this is to ask the question, "What does success look like?" And I mean exactly. The more exact and defined the goal or objective, the better you'll be able to prescribe a tactic (or tactics) that address the need to achieve the end. It's as simple as that, but somehow so elusive.

People often think that putting such "parameters" around ideation or tactical creation is too confining. I disagree. I choose focused creativity over chaos. Know what you're doing before you set about to do it. Creativity without boundaries or structure is called interpretive art, not marketing.

Don't be afraid to get specific. At the end of the day you'll be glad you backed up for a moment to define your goals (your own idea of success) before diving into creative tactics or media.