Savvy marketing:

In the rush to stay ahead of changing technology, [the latest marketing trends]( and evolving consumer needs, I often see marketers scrambling to be relevant and make a difference for their businesses. Most of those marketers are stretched really thin and have very little time to do strategic planning and proper measurement before the next big marketing or communications challenge comes along.

Regardless of how much time a marketer may or may not have, I’ve seen one foolproof way to ensure that the choices he or she makes are as strategic as possible. By asking this one question before executing any tactic, you can be sure that you aren’t spending time implementing tasks that are not going to reach your target audience or make a difference.

> “What is this activity really supposed to accomplish?”

While this question may seem simple, the answer rarely comes easily and people rarely ask it. [The impulse to jump straight to the tactics]( is irresistible. In less than one week, three different examples of organizations not asking this question – and choosing the wrong tactics – crossed my desk.

For example, a marketer recently asked me for advice about social media planning for an ice arena. Her boss was adamant that they needed an enhanced social media profile, so the young marketer began tweeting in earnest with no strategy. Twitter wasn’t producing results and I wasn’t surprised. As I talked to her, I learned that the target audience for this center was likely not using Twitter to get entertainment information and probably wouldn’t be motivated to visit the center through social media. If the marketing boss had taken a step back and asked, “What are we trying to accomplish at the ice arena?” they would have realized that they needed to increase attendance among 18-25 year olds and Twitter was likely not going to help meet that goal.

In most cases, the goal is a practical one. You need to increase attendance at an event, raise awareness of some company news or drive traffic to your website. Regardless of how big or small the objective, it’s important to ask the question, stay focused on your audience and chose tactics that will resonate with them.

The good news is that savvy marketers, in an effort to be nimble, can quickly ask themselves this question and the answer will ensure that the chosen tactics will reach the appropriate target audience and really move the needle.

Besides this question, what other approaches do you use when recommending marketing tactics? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter via [@IntrinzicSays](