Sandra Laird - Dice

Tactics Smactics: Why Alignment Comes Before Creative Execution

Execution category icon Execution

by Sandra | 13 Apr Read Time2 min

About the writer: Sandra Laird was a highly successful marketer working in various Brand Management roles at Abbott Laboratories before devoting herself to the field of brand analytics and in particular, impact resource measures of pharmaceutical brands. Sandra is a highly respected deep thinker with a keen eye for building brand value campaigns for our clients. Her title is Director of Medical Education and Market Access.


What is it that gets you, as a marketer, excited? Are you all about the strategy or all about the tactics? Do you get excited about where you’re going or how you’re going to get there?

As the Chinese military strategist, writer and philosopher, Sun Tzu, is credited with saying:

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

So, we need to get both the strategy and the tactics right…but they need to work together, and that’s where it most often goes wrong. If I had a pound for every tactic not aligned with the brand strategic objectives and CSFs (Critical Success Factors)…well you know the old adage! But why does it happen and how do you stop yourself falling at the tactical hurdle?

I’ve always followed a simple three-step process…

Three Steps to Aligning Your Tactics with Your Strategy

Take the Technology Challenge

We used to have our heads turned by the pretty pictures and the ad men’s engaging strap lines. Now, we are seduced by the technology. The app that will engage the patient. The virtual meeting that will ensure high attendance. It all sounds fabulous…and it probably is! But no matter how fabulous the tactic, it needs to help you to achieve your goals or it’s worthless. So, stop, think. Are you excited by the technology or what the technology will do for your brand?

Use ‘Three Honest Serving Men’ – Why, What & How!

Ask yourself simply “why am I doing this, what will it achieve, and how will it achieve it?” If you can’t answer all of these with clarity and conviction, the tactic should be shelved.

Bring it Back to the Strategic Objective

The CSFs should be aligned with strategic objectives, but sometimes they suffer from drift. So, always go back to the strategic objective. If your strategic objective is to drive market share, is a tactic that drives earlier diagnosis really appropriate? If you are not market leader then the simple answer is NO. No matter how you try to justify it, the answer is NO!

So, next time you are taken with a great idea, stop and remember – just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Assuming your great idea passes the test…then it’s all in the execution.

At Dice, we strategically align your brand’s tactical initiatives across all channels, allowing us to execute your strategy with impact. We do this through Pharmacohesion; our unique approach to consistent, cohesive brand storytelling. Get in touch with our team here, to find out more about our process.