Strategy Vs Tactics

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It’s so easy to jump into tactics, as quite honestly, they can be the most fun to plan, but the strategy should always come first, and if you are working in marketing and communications, you need to be good at both.

Paying attention to strategy in the first instance can prevent wasting your time and money on the wrong tactics; using guesswork and intuition about what will work isn’t always the best plan. This is where PR Smith’s SOSTAC® planning framework comes in, as a simple-to-recall and easy-to-apply model. 

We are pleased Sali Midjek-Conway has joined the Nesma team to facilitate these masterclasses. To get to know her better, we asked her to tell us more about herself and why she thinks everyone can benefit from having the SOSTAC® framework in their back pocket.

Sali, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mum of two children, who are my greatest achievements. I love chocolate and eating out, and I am a big fan of Joe Wicks’ Body Coach app, where I regularly do HIIT workouts – essentially to offset the chocolate and eating out!

Professionally, I am a Chartered Marketer and accredited communications professional of the CIPR and have worked in marketing and communications for approx. Twenty-two years now, during which one of my favourite projects was launching the first-ever higher education institution at Wembley Stadium. I am also Chair of the CIPR NW Committee and a Vice-Chair on the CIM NW Board.

How did you get where you are today?  

I would say with a combination of ambition, tenacity and enthusiasm. I have always put my hand up for all sorts of projects and activities throughout my career where possible – including volunteering. I didn’t go to university after my A levels, and so studied at night school as a part-time student, which probably fuelled my determination to succeed further and quickly, owing to my impatience! I love learning new things and continue to enhance my professional development daily When planning/starting something new, what is your BIG question?  What will success look like? What’s the big goal we’re aiming for? I am a strategic thinker, so I think more broadly than just about the campaign or project in front of me. So many strategies and projects can often be based on aims – what we intend to do – rather than stating actual SMART objectives or KPIs that indicate when and by how much or what/who, etc. I have found that asking these questions and understanding the overall purpose of delivering a strategy or project usually uncovers a distinct goal that helps reach the expected results rather than making assumptions and hoping for the best. Or, as I have heard it named, “Spraying and praying!”

Who do you think would benefit from these masterclasses?

PR Smith says that SOSTAC® provides a “reassuring sense of order” to any plan, which sums up the benefits of having this model as part of our planning toolkit wonderfully. The masterclass takes you through each stage of the model, along with case studies, quizzes and debates to help apply the knowledge with context for your role no matter what sector you’re in.

What do you think is the real value of understanding this framework?

Time saving and accuracy. These are massive benefits when you work in a busy marketing
environment! SOSTAC® is easy to recall and encourages you to stay focussed on what you’re working towards. It is also easy to apply in any situation. I have even used it during an interview once to structure my response on the spot to a question that required me to set out how I would approach a particular task/challenge – I only had 5 minutes to prepare, so it was perfect to ensure I covered all the bases in my response. Ideally, in marketing planning, you’d spend longer! The model’s simplicity, combined with the ease of recall, makes it practical to apply.

What’s your favourite thing about SOSTAC®?

Action is what I now understand much better than I did before I took the Certified Planner course. I was always a little confused about the difference between Tactics and Action, assuming they were similar. But now I realise how comprehensive the model is in ensuring a plan succeeds! To see what Action stands for, I’ll leave it for you to look online or, better still, come to one of the masterclasses to find out!

SOSTAC® Principles (1 Day – Live online) £300 +VAT 

SOSTAC® ‘Certified Planner Advanced programme (2 Day – Live online) £500 +VAT 

If you are interested in these nesma masterclasses, contact Lydia at 07734 222 254 or email (Psst: If you are a nesma alumni, you also get a 20% discount!)