Roadmap to Success in Marketing: Strategy Versus Tactics
Updated: May 29
Great ideas deserve to be rewarded with excellent execution.
That excellent execution requires strategic planning to ensure your great ideas can achieve their full potential. But how do you build that marketing strategy? And what’s the difference between marketing strategies and marketing tactics? Read on to find out!
What is Strategy?
The term strategy in marketing is broad and all-encompassing to determine a goal for a business need. A strategy is about knowing there is a goal to be achieved and coming up with steps to reach it. It's about the long term and creating a roadmap to achieve your business goals. With a brand strategy in your marketing, you can determine your content strategy and how to reach your audience.
A brand strategy determines your business's strengths and weaknesses, what tone of voice you have, and what platforms your ideal client would be using. The style of the voice you decide should make sense for you and will be more likely to be read by your ideal audience.
Strategy in Action
Let's pretend you are a public accounting business whose goal is 20 new leads for full-service business accounting. You might ask yourself, how are you going to get 20 potential leads in the door? Before you start posting or sending promotional emails, it’s important to define your marketing strategy. You can begin by asking yourself questions like… what sets you apart from other accounting firms, how would this client find you, and how are you going to convert this lead into a client? Coupling this analysis with your brand strategy will allow you to determine which tools and tactics are best suited to your needs. In this case, your strategy may include cultivating and nurturing potential leads from a Facebook page for your business because you’ve determined this platform is best suited to speaking to your ideal audience and showcasing your voice as an industry leader.
Of course, this is just one small example to show what a strategy might look like for a business. Your business could be interested in building a following on socials, being a guide for your niche, building an email list, or whatever you may be trying to achieve; this is the first step in reaching that goal. (And can we just say your goal can absolutely be reached with a marketing strategy in place.)
What are the Tactics
Tactics describe the steps you will take to implement a strategy. Once you’ve identified your goal and have a strategy in place, it's time to execute it all in a way that optimizes your plan. As we said before, great ideas deserve to be rewarded with excellent results.
Many times we see people jump from their goals to tactics. They overlook the strategy in between to get to the solution. While the tactics may be to post on your business Facebook page, just posting with no plan will lead to less than favorable results.
Tactics in Action
Returning to the Accounting example and their strategy to utilize a Facebook page for the business, what actionable steps does the business need to take to see their desired results? One of their tactics could be to post on that page with a specific cadence - 3 times a week, for example - with a message that directly addresses the pain points of their target audience. They might also explore putting money behind their content through Facebook Ads to help them reach a larger audience. To help convert fans from in-person events, the business might include a QR code to their Facebook page on the business cards they hand out at networking events - gosh, even the networking events are technically a tactic to increase brand awareness!
For your tactics to be successful, they need to be tied into both the brand strategy and your content strategy so that you can more efficiently try new approaches to your marketing - these strategies ensure you aren't just throwing tactics online to see what appeals to your target audience. Without the brand and content strategy, you may have just been posting without a defined brand voice on 7 different social media platforms with an almost non-existent posting cadence. That sounds exhausting!
Tactics and Strategy Together
The best way to start seeing results for your business is to have defined strategies for your business. By defining your audience, your strengths, and what sets you apart from others, you’ll be able to create strategies for your business that can truly move the needle.