Ad Agency Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Clients sometimes get confused about the difference of between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. I’ve found the following football analogy helpful:

Objective: To win the game.
An objective is specific and measurable. In this case, winning is the primary objective. A secondary objective may be to enable a player to gain enough yards to break a school record or to score a certain number of points. Goals are broad and intangible, so the team’s goal could be to become the best high school football team in the world. Because there are no world playoffs at the high school level, the goal couldn’t be measured.

Strategy: The other team is bigger, but we’re faster. Therefore, we’ll utilize our superior quickness to achieve the objective (i.e. to win the game).

Tactics: The specific plays we will run throughout the game, especially those that favor quicker players. You also could think of tactics as the action plan.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

9 thoughts on “Ad Agency Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

  1. Don,
    This is a great illustration. I find that not only clients, but often times marketing and advertising practitioners themselves get these things turned around.

  2. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for this post, it is really useful!

    I’m planning to start a business in marketing and advertising, Can you please help me with some useful information on how to start.


    • Hani,

      Starting a new business can be a very exciting venture. There have been entire books written with advice, but I think that having a clear niche and target audience in mind before you start your business is vital to success. Seeking the advice of others in the industry, as you obviously are doing, also is very helpful. Learn all that you can from others, especially from their mistakes. You also would benefit from talking with a CPA to get your business accounting system set up properly from the start, and to make sure you know when various taxes are due.

      I suggest you try to get a couple of clients on board before you go full time (assuming you have a full-time job right now and are getting ready to transition into your own business). That will help jump-start your business. Having some cash reserves is also handy so that you can keep going if it takes longer to establish your buisness than you think and so that you can weather downturns. No matter how successful you get, never stop looking for new business opportunities because things can change lightening quick. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to follow the Golden Rule — treat others as you would like to be treated.

      You may be interested in a recent post I did about what I’ve learned from running my own PR agency for 10 years. Here’s the link to it:

      I wish you the best!

  3. It is said ‘more ranking gives more traffic’, and of course having more traffic could lead to making more money.

    It first collects data or information about the marketing problem, then it records this data, analyzes this
    data, then it draws conclusions about this data, later it gives suggestions or
    advice for solving the marketing problem. The web cannot be treated like some great new gadget; it must be viewed as part of the firm’s long-term marketing strategy and it should be integrated with all other means of formulating and implementing strategies in a way that conforms to the principles of a sound business strategy.

    • There are a lot of variables when it comes to setting goals and objectives. I don’t know about your particular situation, but when I started my agency 12 years ago my number one objective was to survive my first year in business for myself. I was surprised and very blessed to have far more business than anticipated my first year, but that is not the norm.

      I would find a niche, if you don’t already have one, and start establishing yourself as an expert in that area through blogging, social media, articles in trade or industry publications, etc., so that you can be “discovered” by those looking for help in your niche. Ideally, you should have 3-4 anchor accounts that first year to provide you with ongoing business. That might be another objective — landing at least 3 solid accounts. A third objective would be to at least break even that first year so you can pay your bills as you get established.

      You might find my post, “What ten years running my own PR agency has taught me,” to be useful as you get started. Here’s the link to it:

      Best wishes for great success!

  4. Very good blog! Do you have any suggestions
    for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start
    my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there
    that I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Cheers!

    • I’ve been using WordPress for several years now and have been pleased with it. I haven’t tired the upgraded paid version, so I really can’t advise you on that. Best wishes for much success with your new blog.


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