A good marketing strategy is like having a good edge on your favorite knife. The angle of the bevel is a reflection of the intended use. There are many different reasons to hone your knife a certain way. The edge will be different if you are clearing brush in the forest or getting that perfect thickness of the tomato for the most awesome BLT. The same can be said for your marketing strategy. Whether it’s for brand awareness, direct engagement with your customer, or a new product announcement a good strategy will depend on your desired outcome.

Much like choosing the wrong angle on a knife; the wrong marketing tactics could lead to an end result that may not be what you intended to happen. Honing a good edge starts with knowing the intended purpose for which it is to be used. Likewise, choosing the right marketing tactics depend on the purpose for which they to be used.

I wouldn’t use a 30-40 degree angle if I intend to get the perfect quarter inch thick slice of tomato for my BLT or burger. The result would be a squashed tomato. I want a sharper angle, like 20 degrees, so the knife slices through the tomato for a more precision cut.

The principle of a knife’s cutting job to the sharpness of its edge can be applied to your marketing strategy as well. Using the wrong tactics or the wrong message within your strategy can result in an undesired outcome. An example would be to use TV spots on YouTube without adjusting for the difference in platforms or using Search Engine Marketing when what you really wanted was that quarter in thick slice tomato known as Audience Targeting.

Creating a marketing strategy, as with picking the correct edge on your knife, it all starts with knowing your desired outcome. Even after you have the right angle you can fine tune your knife or strategy by testing slight variations to better hone your edge.