Napoleon. Rommel. Grant. These men are some of the most successful generals in history, and not always because they had the best equipment or largest quantity of soldiers.
Instead, they relied on strategy to help them win. They understood themselves, their enemy, and their battlefields, and then crafted a plan that would help them achieve what they wanted to do.
As Sun Tzu once said: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war and then try to win.”
What does a strategy contain?
At its core, we can break the concept of a strategy down into 3 components:
- People - this defines who is involved. In war, it’s usually soldiers, generals, and the other side, with civilians or bystanders sometimes playing a role as well. In marketing, it’s often an agency’s employees, a company’s staff, and prospective customers/leads.
- Tools - this defines what people use within the strategy. It could be a software platform, a type of content, or an email marketing system.
- Process - this is a set of actions that the people from step 1 will take using the tools from step 2. The best processes are easily repeatable and can be implemented by those with minimal proficiency in their given field.
When you have governance over all three elements - people involved, tools used, and steps taken, you have almost all the elements needed for a good strategy. The final two components are a desired outcome, and a way to measure progress towards that outcome.
Deliverables, on the other hand, are just that - the things that are delivered or used during the implementation of the strategy.
The difference between the two
Going back to our war example: Think about what would be the most valuable to a military force. Top-notch weaponry, vehicles, and equipment (deliverables) or the ability to use all that gear in a specific way (strategy) that achieves a desired outcome.
History has consistently shown one offering to be much more valuable than the other. The only question left for your agency: Are you selling guns, or are you selling a strategy your client can use to win battles with guns?