Day 7 - Think Strategic - Then Tactical

I observed something interesting early in my consulting career.

Clients were coming to me and asking very tactical questions about marketing. "Should I advertise in the Yellow Pages?" was a popular one. The real answer to that question is not a "yes" or "no"- the real answer to this and many other tactical marketing questions is "it depends."

When I had to give the clients a "it depends" answer, I would follow with a question or two. These questions tended to be more strategic or "bigger picture" in nature. In other words, clients were asking me about the little picture and I was responding with questions about the big picture.

Trouble was, the client rarely had good answers to the strategic questions. It told me they were being very reactive to the marketing process versus trying to think it through. In my opinion, when a client does the tactical work (like placing ads, etc) when they have not done the strategic work, they are setting themselves up to fail. Marketing is hard enough when you do it right. To me, this felt like watching my clients flush money down the toilet. It was frustrating to them. And frustrating to me.

I started to record the strategic questions I was asking. After studying them over the course of several years, these questions evolved into the tenants found the in the CUSTOMER PILLARS system.

Entrepreneurs dislike strategic planning. I understand. But trying to pull off success in the marketplace without going through some systematic, strategic steps is a risky proposition. I find clients greatly increase their chance of success (on the tactical items and in general) if they will spend some time considering the strategic aspects of marketing in their business.

Working with clients around the CUSTOMER PILLARS system guides them through this process.

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This course was developed by Curt Clinkinbeard, the author of CUSTOMER PILLARS. He can be reached at