You have a marketing strategy, right? You don’t just go from one tactic to another chasing the hottest idea, do you? Well, actually, we all do from time to time. When we need more business, we often employ marketing tactics to accomplish our goals. We may announce a promotion, reduce our prices or develop an alternative offering.

But a business needs a marketing reason. Simply selling products or services to people is not a reason or a strategy but a result. I believe the best approach is to determine your marketing reason, layout your marketing strategy and then develop and implement your marketing tactics—in that order.

So, before you implement the latest tactic du jour, consider answering a few questions to define your marketing reason.

  • What do you want your target market to know about your services?
  • What do you want them to believe about you?
  • What do you want them to think about you?
  • What do you want them to say about you?

Now that you have these key points nailed down, plan your strategy around them. An example of a great strategy (and one that is certainly less expensive than employing a new tactic) is to develop and focus your efforts on a specific, predetermined niche. Do you have a niche or a narrow market focus? Do you have offerings targeted to that niche? Do people in that niche know about you? Does your website speak directly to them?

Your marketing reason should be behind every business and marketing decision you make. Tactics can take us away from our strategies and distract us from our reasons. If you find yourself being distracted by how to market yourself, revisit the above questions to remind yourself why.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.