SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
This week, we asked: Which do you think is more difficult: planning a social media strategy or implementing it? The results:
- Implementing it: 64.62%
- Planning it: 35.38%
Debate about whether it’s tougher to come up with a solid plan or to execute one well is an old, old fight among marketers. Of course, we’d like to have both, but do you need both? Does one matter more than the other? Can great execution save a middling idea? Can a great plan buoy up a cadre of mediocre performers? What is the real value of a plan in an arena with so many variables? Without a plan, could you truly know whether your performance was successful? You could waste an afternoon listening to people make self-righteous arguments for one side or sarcastic take-downs of the other. You rarely come across a levelheaded discussion of the topic. Why is that?
I think it might be because we have an all-too-human tendency to think that whichever end of the job we’re closest to is the trickiest part. It gives us permission to toot our horn when things are going well — we’re succeeding; look how well I’m doing. It gives us cover when things aren’t going well — we’re failing, and it’s all the other guy’s fault. What if it’s not a matter of strategy or implementation? What if it’s a question of translation?
Does the tactical person in your organization truly understand and embrace your strategy? Does your strategy person truly understand constraints facing the tactical person? If one person is handling both roles, does the person have space and resources to step back and see how the two sides of the equation are aligned?
I can’t tell you definitively whether strategy or tactics matters more, but I can promise this: When the left hand doesn’t talk to the right, both suffer.