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Thanks for the Tactics. Where’s the Sauce?

How many marketing plans, how many blog posts, how many conversations in meetings or online revolve around tactics? Far too many.

Tactics are easy. We understand some more than others, but when we over-rely on them instead of the raison d’etre: inspiring stakeholders to do or feel something, we fail. This is the sauce, the necessity of creativity.

Without sauce, there’s nothing but bland empty gestures, usually filled with corporate messaging.

Impactful marketing speaks to people. No matter how proficient tools become, we still need that element of humanity that inspires people to act.

Consider all of the top campaigns of 2012. While the tactics are often celebrated, the creative pierces through to inspire people. Here are some examples:

Social: Mashable wrote up Kraft’s Mac & Jinx as one of the top social media campaigns of 2012. But the Jinx aspect was offbeat, and caught everybody’s attention instead of the atypical Twitter give away. The campaign had sauce (and not just cheese), and that’s why it worked.

Public Relations: Invisible Children’s controversial Kony campaign brought fierce debate to the media and social web about the appropriate role of a nonprofit in international relations. Yet, like it or hate it, the Kony campaign thrust the issue of child soldiering in Africa to the forefront of international policy for weeks. Controversial hot sauce made that campaign go.

Advertising: One of the most unforgettable campaigns of 2012 was Procter & Gamble’s two minute spot on Olympic Sponsorship. The hook, how Olympic moms across the world had the hardest and the best jobs in the world. The emotional tug here was just stunning, yet another example of why Wieden + Kennedy is one of the best ad agencies in the world.

As you can see, regardless of dissemination tactic, it’s the communication or content that drives the stakeholder response. Without great creative, tactics just have no sauce.

What do you think? Can we succeed with tactics alone?

Image: Takanori Ishikawa (Creative Commons)

About Geoff Livingston

Geoff is president and founder of Tenacity5 Media, a digital marketing agency that provides content marketing and social media services. A former journalist, Geoff continues to write, and has authored five books. Follow him @geoffliving.

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