Creating tactics is always the fun part of marketing–whether it’s the advertisement, social media components, television interview or the promotion, these are the enjoyable tools we enjoy crafting to drive our business forward.

However, without a strategy to guide a campaign, they end up being solo components lacking cohesiveness. In marketing, tactics that constantly deliver your message and reinforce your brand are called touch points. Touch points work when they connect to each other like links in a chain, with a common theme and message.

The entire concept is referred to as “stickiness” and really identifies how well your messaging sticks to the customer.

A strategy doesn’t need to be a year’s work poured into binders loaded with content. The shorter the better, increasing the odds that the strategy will be implemented, is a great rule of thumb and most businesses’ marketing strategies can be completed in less than five pages.

A strategy should follow the SMART concept for goal setting: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive (deadline). A goal has to be set; and then a strategy created; this will be your path to reach those goals. Only then is it appropriate to start designing the fun tactics that will push out your message. Your strategy should also contain who your target audience is, a SWOT analysis of your business (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), how you will measure the progress and results and how you will celebrate achieving your goals!

Additionally, you should clearly define your marketing message, understand what is unique about your business, service or products (also known as the USP), and have a solid working knowledge of how your clients use your business and what their needs are.

Your strategy should be a simple road map to accomplish your objectives, move the needle on your progress and obtain the goals you set out for your business.

Chinese philosopher and general Sun Tzu wrote 2,000 years ago, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest rout to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Ira Gostin is a member of the board for the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter. He founded 120 West in 2016 with an exclusive approach to investor relations, marketing and corporate communications. Contact Ira on LinkedIn or at www.120west.biz.