If Your Goal Is “Implied,” You Don’t Really Have a Goal. And That’s A Problem.

I just read a great post from communication expert Shel Holtz, who I’ve interviewed often for various articles, and books, I’ve written on marketing/communication issues. He’s insightful and, best of all (IMO), *strategic* in his approach to communications.

This post , for instance, points out the folly of criticizing communication efforts without having insight into the marketers’ strategy – duh! But, it’s a point often overlooked in our zeal not only to offer input/opinions on what others are doing but, worse, in our zeal to implement our own communication strategies and tactics.

For an in-class exercise in a PR course I teach, I recently asked groups of students to come up with a communication plan based on a case study involving a small hospital in a rural community that was about to raise health care benefit costs for employees. They came up with a number of tactics, but when I asked: “What was your goal?,” none of the groups were able to specifically articulate one.

So I asked: “Without a goal, how did you decide which tactics would ‘work’?”

One student suggested that the goal was “implied.” Hmmm.

The trouble is that if we select (or critique) tactics without a clear idea of the goal that we’re driving toward the odds of us achieving any form of measurable results are pretty slim. And, in these days of tight budgets and increased scrutiny of support functions (like PR/communications) it pays to be strategic!

As Shel suggests: “A strategy begins with knowing the goal: How do you want to move the needle?”

The answer to that “how” question helps communication professionals answer the question of “what” strategically, so that their tactics are clearly aligned with strategies, objectives and – ultimately – goals.

“Just do it” while it may have worked for Nike, doesn’t do it when it comes to implementing effective communication campaigns.

What does is thinking and acting strategically– and that process begins with a clearly defined and articulated goal.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement


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