"Don't think I'm stupid, but I'm writing that down," said my client....

Stupid? I should think not, dear client! I wish this light bulb would go on more often. This is particularly true for early-stage firms where every day is a cacophony of tactics. The objectives and strategies are usually implied, yet rarely formalized, presented and digested by the team.
In the worst-case scenario, I have seen tactics become a mantra, as if they themselves were the strategy, or .... gasp! .... the objective. And of course, there is the danger of being so caught up in tactics that the original objective is completely forgotten.
While I am not quite sure why marketing planning is so very complicated for many, I do know that is an age-old problem. SunTzu said it best around 500 B.C., and many a marketing strategist agree:
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

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Objectives. Strategy. Tactics. (In that order.)

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Sara Holoubek is a free agent consultant, advising growth firms and investors in the interactive technology and advertising sector. Ms. Holoubek is also the contributing editor of the DM News' SearchBuzz newsletter, and a regular author of the DM News Optimized column.

In 2008 Ms. Holoubek was elected to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) board of directors for a third term. During this time she also co-founded the SEMPO NY Working Group.

From 2003-2005, Ms. Holoubek served as iCrossing's Chief Strategy Officer, building the firm's New York office and repositioning the iCrossing brand as it raised an early VC round of $13 million. Prior to this experience, Ms. Holoubek held posts in client strategy with interactive agencies Organic and Blue Dingo. Her vertical expertise covers over 10 sectors and includes work with Levi Strauss & Co, Bloomingdales, LexisNexis, Texas Instruments, Colgate-Palmolive, Century 21 Real Estate, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, as well as firms within the WPP family and the Aegis Group family.

Ms. Holoubek has contributed to and/or been quoted in publications such as Adweek, DM News, Mediapost's Search Insider, WSJ.com, The Madison Avenue Journal, ClickZ and Internet Retailer. She also serves as a frequent guest lecturer at venues such as SMX, Search Engine Strategies, OMMA, the DMA, Harvard, NYU and Baruch College.

Ms. Holoubek also brings an international perspective to her work, having lived and worked in Latin America and Europe , and is fluent in Spanish and French and conversant in Portuguese. She holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. from HEC in France. She resides in New York City with her husband, baritone Claudio Mascarenhas.