Tactical Tunnel Vision

Tactical tunnel vision: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Marketing managers today rely on teams of tactical agencies, each a specialist in a specific area of expertise. Content agencies. Digital agencies. PR firms. Creative boutiques. Direct marketers. Website designers. Social media experts. The list of hyper-specialized tactical agencies goes on and on.

The benefits of tactical agencies are obvious: access to talent, enhanced resources and in-depth channel-specific knowledge. But what marketers gain in channel-specific expertise, they lose in critical strategic thinking. By nature, these tactical agencies have tunnel vision when it comes to solving marketing problems. The old adage has never been more relevant: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Consumers utilize an overpowering array of communication channels to make marketing decisions. They fully expect brands to be able to connect the dots from one channel to the next to provide a cohesive, consistent brand message. This is the essence of omni-channel marketing; providing a single brand experience across all channels, all tactics. By its very nature, an omni-channel marketing strategy cannot be executed by a tactical agency.

CMOs are feeling the effects of tactical tunnel vision.

The buyer journey is no longer a linear path. It extends across many channels, often engaging channels simultaneously, leaping from channel to channel in no particular sequence, refusing to be herded into a traditional sales funnel.

In this environment, the ability of a brand to provide a coordinated, omnichannel communications strategy is absolutely critical. And yet, more than 60% of CMOs surveyed stated that they were unable to orchestrate cross-channel delivery of consistent marketing messages to the degree they’d like. ††  

Tactical agencies by nature aren’t designed to provide omni-channel solutions to marketing problems. A true strategic agency is consumer-centric and channel-agnostic. Its expertise lies not in tactical execution, but in a global understanding of the buyer journey. It is fully versed in the way different channels interact with each other and the consumer to drive purchase decisions. Strategic agencies are committed to using data-driven insights to craft brand messaging and channel decisions. The result is a cohesive message executed across a variety of channels to drive well-defined goals. Strategic agencies offer CMOs the omni-channel view they need so badly, and have been unable to get out of their tactical agencies.





*Data & Marketing Association Survey
**2017 Data-Driven Marketing Report
2017 RSW Agency Search New Year Outlook Survey
††Roadmap to Omnichannel Activation, Winterberry Group, Nov 2016