Execution is producing results in the context of those choices. Therefore, you cannot have good execution without having good strategy. But too many jump to the wrong conclusion that this makes execution more important than strategy. But execution is only part of the solution. Strategy is the other part and that’s where you want to be focused.
Execution is what you do.
Strategy is what you choose.
Robert S. Kaplan, Corporate Strategist and former CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
Why are we talking about Execution vs Strategy?
If you haven’t paid attention to the last 10 years of social media it’s probably not your fault. We’ve had a rocky ride.
In the end, this article is about managing expectations.
Being able to ask the right questions, and set your expectations on your own side is a powerful tool to keep the client happy.
One of the first reasons to keep reading is you have the wrong expectations about social media. As previously mentioned, execution is an under-appreciated part of social media. Second, the wrong choice of strategy will lead to failure. If you are looking for a silver bullet or quick fix, this article won’t be the one to point you in the right direction.
Too many agencies tap in to an over-inflated market. The theory is that “social media is even bigger than we can imagine,” but the truth is that “social media is still a small part of marketing budget.” More money is invested in television ads every year than ever before.
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Invariably people will say this is about the execution, not the strategy, but I’m not sure that’s true.
Strategy is the subset of management function focusing on the future. It must be grounded in the organization’s culture and values. If it’s not, it’s a distraction. If it’s not grounded in the organization’s culture it lacks meaning. If it lacks meaning, it will become measurably worthless.
Narrowing down the right strategy for your business is possible (and necessary). It is no different than the execution of a business – that’s the essential difference between a plan that fails and one that succeeds.
Nowadays we’re all doing so many things that it’s possible to execute on them all at once, but that’s not without its problems.
The problem with strategy is that it deals with the future, and the future is very hard to predict.
To act on a strategy though, you need to know what it is. Many people learn about strategy through the long process of observing others execute it (often in a painful way) and put through their paces. Slowly, they take note of what works and what doesn’t, and they start to put their own twist on it.
But even so, strategy doesn’t do much good until you have a plan that leads to it.
If you are going to do something different, you need to say what it is, what it is going to cost, and why you don’t know how it will work. Then you need to test it out and see what happens.
Doing this means you have a plan that works.
In marketing, the most valuable part of all the planning and research is the results that come out of it. If you can show proof, then you can put it into action.
Strategy is to do things differently than the competition. You can’t just copy what the competition is doing, it’s counter-productive to learn from them.
The most effective way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to leverage your resources. If you see most of your competitors doing something and you don’t have enough strategy to be better than them at it, then you need to rethink your strategy.
I’m in the process of revising our new business strategy, and we’ve asked ourselves some important questions about where we are and where we’re headed.
As an example of the strategy, we decided on this instead of simply moving to Facebook. The reason this is different is that we have a feature coming soon that will let you see if your customers have interest in what you offer. We’ve done some other things that are different than our competition. We’ve been working on a feature that says – “how likely are you to recommend your business to your friends” and we’re measuring it at 50 percent. It’s sort of transparency and contribution to the community thing.
Why Does This Matter?
Finding out who your customers are will help you understand what you’re doing. That will help you understand how it’s working. When you understand it, you’ll be able to tweak it.
There’s nothing better than that than saying “yo momma is sick, I’m drinking Pepsi,” and when you get to 4:00 you tell them you changed your mind and broke out the Coke. It’s about having the right strategy to begin with, and then executing it.
Strategy is not about doing what you think is fun, what the other guy is doing or you think is cool, it
is what makes you the best at what you offer.
Everything comes back to execution. It is the means to an end, the means to measuring its success, to linking it to sales, to how it organically grows out of what you are trying to achieve.
Business Strategy Versus Marketing Strategy
Photo by Flickr User: zrealest
Spending a lot of time thinking about strategy will separate you from the competition. Institutions and institutions are not differentiated by innovation. They are differentiated by their scale.
It is a matter of scale. Scale is not determined by the size of the company but rather on how much its corporate gets to spend in a given year.
Your budget shows how much you want to invest and your strategy tells what you are planning to do with that money.
Even businesses that have a lot of money do not break through if they do not have a strategy.
In the end, the way to decide which of two choices is best is by picking one and hoping that it works.
It’s the difference between haphazard and efficient.
If you choose haphazardly you’ll go through a lot of the same experiences that the competition has already gone through, but you’ll come out with a product that isn’t better than theirs. If you choose it efficiently, you have something that customers can appreciate, and if you’re able to do it right, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the competition, and will be able to generate more revenue.
Business Strategy is a list of actions that can be taken as a result of the current position and resources to achieve the goal. They should be on a short-term basis and should be able to lead to a longer-term goal.
Business strategy is usually high level and provides broad guidelines for the entire enterprise that determines how it will operate in the long run.
Business strategy is designed to produce a gain in any given year.
Examples of these are:
How to Get to the Top
Business Strategy: Generate a Competitive Advantage
Business Strategy (Pabrai)
Business Strategy (Keeney) 
How to have a good strategy
Get the most out of your marketing and networking Follow up on all of the contacts you make Get your business names into people’s heads If you’re a business owner, build a strong brand or persona Talk to people about your business Provide other small favors for them if you run a business Get into the customer’s mind on what they need or want If you want to push the envelope and actually use the word “strategy” or “PR” or “marketing” in your description of your business, you better back it up with results You’ve got to have the right stuff and be aggressive Prowl for new clients and customers
Marketing strategy refers to the following three things from the different extremes
if you’re a new start-up, you’re not going to be spending money on rebranding your company.
you should not always use the same brand name or logo.
you should not always be working the same strategy.
If you’re not going to change your strategy you need to have a brand that stands out from the crowd.
Why Do You Need a Strategy?
There are a lot of things you can do to maximize your business, but don’t let the parts of a strategy rule the strategy.
Regarding your funding, which is a small part of the whole plan I’m not sure that the system is always effective over time. I’m just testing it out at the moment before we put all of the funding in to it. the money goes into another area of our organization, so it’s important to know what the exact percentage goes to and in what amount of time.
How this system could work within our particular organization is with regard to your risk and your systems of record. Assumptions and assumptions. The key thing here is to break down what it’s going to take and when it’s going to take it. That way we don’t have to guess. We’ll give money in the form of a recurring payment. So it’ll be great once it’s started and we get all of the documentation about what it’s costing us, and we’ll know in advance what types of things we’ll be funding.
I’m trying out this strategy at the moment. It all depends on how the test goes. We don’t have anything to measure it against other than the money that is spent. But I would imagine that as a small business, if it makes sense, and it’s a sustainable thing, that we could pretty much continue with it. You can never have too much info for an planning process. In the projects that I take on, I like to have an idea in my mind of what it’s going to cost, and the timeline ahead of time, to be able to budget more efficiently.
What they don’t understand is that with everything they are doing, they’re following a strategy that they’ve been following for years. and expecting it to work. It’s 2007; if you don’t have a perfect strategy in place, it’s not going to work in 2007.
They need to come up with a perfect plan, and implement the perfect resource allocation, in order to be able to get the perfect results. Success at this stage is far more important than the perfection of the process. You can’t do everything perfectly.
In a world that is moving so fast and is full of uncertainty, the world of strategy has to be more flexible, so that it is able to change with these changing conditions.
Dismiss it if it is not a good enough strategy to achieve your goal.