What’s the difference between marketing tactics and a marketing strategy?

What’s the difference between marketing tactics and a marketing strategy?


What’s the difference between marketing tactics and a marketing strategy?

Often, I’ll meet with a new client for the first time and be told, “I want a really great website,” or “What our company needs is to sort out our social media.”

While websites, brochures, social media, email campaigns, billboards and the like are very useful marketing tools, it’s important to remember that marketing tactics without a marketing strategy are useless.

Sure, that online campaign may generate a few sales leads. But if you marry your marketing tactics with a great strategy, they will be exponentially more effective. Tactics alone are what I call ‘makeshift marketing’. This kind of marketing takes a lot of time and chews your budget, but it’s not strategic and delivers a low return on investment.

It’s very exciting to jump right in and create that clever campaign you’ve come up with, but it’s a far better investment of your time, effort and money to start off by developing a decent marketing strategy. The campaigns can come later.

Planning perfect

Taking the time to develop a marketing plan is crucial to ensure your marketing efforts are relevant, make the maximum impact and deliver the best possible return on investment.

You need to develop the foundation for any good marketing intervention. There is no doubt that if you have a well thought out strategy, it is a lot easier to think about the right tactics.

As an illustration, a company decides to embark on a Google AdWords campaign or a social media advertising campaign, but the results are dismal. There’s no evidence that the campaign has had any effect whatsoever.

Why? Well, the company didn’t understand its target market, so the keywords chosen were the wrong ones. If they’d spent some time developing a picture of their ideal customer, they would have been able to target him or her far more effectively.

Before setting out to market your business, you need to understand your clients and what your competitive advantage is. Then you can strategically channel your efforts and your funds in marketing to the right market in a way that appeals to them, and ensuring they see the value of your product or service.

Know who you’re talking to

Once you know who you’re talking to, what makes your product or service “wow” and what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, you can begin to look at tactics.

Instead of wasting time on campaigns that may or may not work, you can pick three or four initiatives, focus on them and ensure that you get the maximum return on your marketing spend.

Donna Rachelson
Donna Rachelson, branding and marketing specialist, is the author of three books.She has held marketing director positions in blue chip organisations and has a solid business education, including an MBA and is a guest lecturer at GIBS .As a successful businesswoman and investor in businesses, Donna is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and women, uplifting them with her unique brand of inspiringly practical, strategically results-driven guidance. She is currently Chief Catalyst at Seed Academy- a training and incubation ecosystem for entrepreneurs.