Strategy vs Tactics

Marketing strategy is all about your overall marketing goals. It’s the thing that points you in the right direction by helping you to articulate where you want to go. It’s the overview. The big picture, blueprint planning you do before getting into the tactics.

Tactics on the other hand are the actions. The activity of how you’re going to get there.

Imagine your goal is to build a house. You wouldn’t just order a load of materials and start laying bricks. Of course not. The result would probably be a big fat mess.

So, what DO you do? Well for starters, you’d probably want to hire an architect. And then a builder. They would both set off about getting things in place, like checking for relevant permits all the way down to the nitty gritty stuff such as fixtures and fittings. This is all done BEFORE a shovel hits the ground. That’s Strategy.

Now that you have your Strategy in place, you know how many bricks you need, where to start digging the foundation, how deep it needs to be, where the windows and doors will be going and the type of roof you’re having. That’s Tactics.

When heading into a project, it’s very rare to pull it off without strategy AND tactics.  Employing strategy alone without tactics will lead to paralysis by analysis; no matter how good the architect and builder are for your imaginary house; someone must start laying bricks for the house to get built. They will reach a point very quickly when they’re going to need to say, “Right, ok, the blueprint is good to go. We’ve got the planning permission and notified the council, so let’s get started.”

Tactics without any strategy leads to the bright, shiny object syndrome.

How far do you think you would get by throwing up walls without any plans? Probably as far as it takes you before realising they’re in the wrong place. Then you get to the first floor and discover those foundations you poured last week are not right for this type of house, then you start to dig out an area for the garage only to find a main drain running right through the dig.

This approach clearly isn’t going to work. Yet this is exactly the approach many business owners take. They string together a bunch of tactics in the hope that what they’re doing will lead to a customer; a website is launched with very little thought – only for it to end up being an online version of their company brochure. Or they start tweeting on social media until the cows come home because they heard that’s the latest thing, and so on.

Combining both Strategy AND tactics is the key to marketing greatness. Unlike the chicken and egg, the strategy needs to come first as it dictates the type of tactics you use.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the key differences between Strategy and Tactics and why combining them both is fundamental to marketing prowess.