Ideas Should Drive Tactics. Tactics Shouldn’t Drive Ideas
The title pretty much sums it up.
Want to know how to use Twitter? Flickr? Facebook? Social Media Tool X? PPC? SEO? Don't start with the tool, start with an idea.
More and more marketers are calling themselves marketing "experts" simply because they know tools and tactics. Don't get me wrong, you really need to know your stuff to effectively use Google Analytics. However, if you begin with a tactic/tool and then try to make your idea fit the constraints of the chosen tool, versus finding/building tools that compliment your concept, your marketing, design, and ideas will never reach their potential and almost always be disparate and disconnected.
Here's an oversimplified example:
The wrong thought process
...How can we use Twitter?
...Twitter lets me broadcast what I'm doing...
...We can use Twitter to tell other people stuff.
The right thought process.
...Part of our core brand is to be relational...
...How can we build relationships and convey our brand attribute?
...We can use Twitter to build relationships.
If the former thought process happens over and over again for every tactic/tool, you'll have a watered down and disconnected brand on your hands. However, the latter thought process will guide you in what tactics to engage in based on your overall idea.
Let your marketing, concepts, and ideas drive the tools; don't let tools drive your marketing.