Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics: What’s the Difference?

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics

Top significant differences between strategy vs tactics

A strategy is a plan for how to reach a goal. The tactics are the specific steps or actions that make up this plan. Strategies are long-term plans with goals that take into account many different factors, while tactics are short-term plans with more specific goals and less consideration for other factors. So, let’s take a look and see why marketing strategy vs. tactics is a legitimate subject.

The difference between marketing strategy and tactics

The difference between marketing strategy and tactics
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When you’re in the business of marketing your product or service, there are two important things to be aware of: marketing strategy and tactics.

Marketing strategy relates to the big picture of how you want your company, product, or service to be viewed by consumers. It includes decisions like how much money you want to spend on advertising and promotion, how much emphasis you want to put on social media versus more traditional forms of marketing such as print ads and radio commercials, and who your target audience is.

On the other hand, tactics are actions you take to accomplish your goals. They include things like creating a landing page for a new product launch, crafting email campaigns to increase customer engagement, and running special promotions or discounts.

For better understanding, let me point out a sort of example:

Strategic marketing example

  • Increase brand awareness by 20%

Tactic marketing example

  • Develop a website, publish content on social media, and develop an email marketing campaign.

A big difference between marketing strategy and tactics is that while a strategy is used to map out the direction of a company or organization and influence decisions made on a daily basis, tactics are focused on achieving smaller objectives within that strategy.

A successful strategy relies on effective tactics in order to reach the desired outcome.

How to succeed with strategy and tactics

To succeed with both marketing strategy and tactics, it is important to consider trends in your industry and where you fit in, including how your competition stands when it comes to each.

It is imperative that strategic marketers understand their customers’ behavior so they know exactly which actions will work best to promote their business.

Why it’s important to understand the difference

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics
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One of the most common mistakes that businesses make is a confusing marketing strategy with tactics, which can lead to a lack of understanding of how to implement an effective marketing plan.

Strategic planning involves recognizing competitive advantages (and disadvantages) and assessing risks, as well as considering both business goals and industry trends. It also involves generating leads for your target audience through content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising media like television and radio.

For example, when you’re working on a strategic marketing plan, you might spend time thinking about who your target customer is, what they’re looking for, and how you can best serve their needs.

What comes first, strategy or tactics?

A clear answer to this question is a must, as it can help you decide on the sequence of your actions in executing your campaign. Both are important, and they both play the same roles in a successful marketing campaign.

However, strategy came before tactics for the same reason that a person who is about to drive a vehicle must know his final destination before he can figure out how to get there.

The table above shows the relationships between tactical and strategic marketing elements.

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics
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Source of the image:

A business needs both a strategy and tactics to be successful. A good marketing strategy will take current industry trends into account and provide insights about your target audience; this way, when you’re creating tactical marketing campaigns, you can be sure they will resonate with your target customer’s demographics. The best strategies allow for flexibility, so you can use different marketing tactics in order to reach your business goal.

When developing a marketing strategy or set of strategies, think about things like your brand positioning statement, company goals and objectives (including marketing objectives), target markets and customer segments., and creative content creation)

How to develop marketing strategies in 7 steps

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics
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Take a close look at the demographics of your target customers, the industry trends, your company’s goals, and the marketing strategies that are already in place. This will help you come up with a plan that will work.

Step 1: Determine your business goals

To be successful, your marketing strategy and tactics should match your business goals. This is why you should know what you want to achieve with your marketing campaign before you start making a plan.

Examples of marketing goals for businesses

  • Gain a competitive advantage in the market by differentiating from competitors and providing products that serve customers’ needs better than anyone else
  • Generate leads and establish relationships with prospective customers through SEO, content marketing, social media, and advertising
  • Recognize profitable opportunities to grow business (i.e., higher sales) by understanding industry trends and customer needs

Step 2: Define your target audience

Your target audience is the group of people that your marketing strategy and tactics are designed to reach.

It is important to consider your target audience’s wants, needs, values, and online behavior when thinking of a marketing strategy in order to create an effective plan that reaches them.

In order to build a targeted marketing campaign, it is also important to know what type of media they consume and what channels they prefer to use when shopping or browsing for information about products or services.

Step 3: Identify potential marketing channels

There are many different marketing channels to choose from when planning a marketing strategy, and some work better than others depending on your business goals, your target audience, and the industry trends in your area.

For instance, if you’re looking to get more inbound traffic and generate leads for your business, social media advertising is an effective way to do that because it allows you to target a specific audience that already shares similar interests with you.

Step 4: Create your marketing mix

It is important to have a marketing mix that is constantly updated in order to keep up with changes in customer needs, industry trends, and changes within your organization. Your marketing goals are a big part of how you decide which strategies to use.

The four basic components of a marketing mix are product, place, price, and promotion.

Step 5: Map out a strategic plan

Setting goals

This is the first step in making a strategic plan. Think about the end result you want to achieve as well as any intermediate milestones along the way. Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to create a strategy for how you will reach them. Consider factors such as the target audience, budget, timeline, and resources available.

Mapping out the details

Once you have a clear sense of the goals and strategy for your plan, it’s time to begin mapping out the details.

Start by determining specific tactics that will help you reach your goals. These can include activities such as advertising campaigns, social media engagement, direct mail campaigns, SEO optimization, content marketing, and more.

Create a timeline

Next, create a timeline for executing these tactics. Think about when each activity should begin and end, as well as how long it will take to prepare the necessary materials and resources. Make sure to identify milestones throughout the plan so that you can track progress along the way.

Resources allocation

Lastly, figure out what resources you’ll need to carry out your plan and set a budget for them. This could include personnel, materials, software, advertising budgets, or other expenses related to marketing.

Step 6: Implement your strategy and tactics

Once you have a comprehensive plan in place, it’s time to put your strategy and tactics into action. You will want to start by carefully crafting any materials that are needed for activities such as campaigns, content marketing, or direct mail. Make sure to review all materials before launching any campaigns.

Next, you should think about which channels are best for your goals and your budget. This could include social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, or advertising. You tailor your message and aim it at the right people for each channel you choose.

Lastly, measure key performance indicators (KPIs) like website traffic, conversions, and engagement to keep track of your progress over the course of your plan.

Step 7: Measuring the results

Measuring the results
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It is important to keep track of the results of your marketing campaigns to see if your strategy worked or not. If you want to improve the results, you need to measure them first. In other words, fix it and then improve it. This is the Kaizen principle applied to marketing.

A strategic marketing plan will help you measure these results and create measurable goals for your company so that you can streamline your efforts and provide your company with an edge in the industry.

How to choose the right marketing tactics

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics
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There are a number of factors to consider when choosing marketing tactics, such as your marketing goals and target audience. For example, you might want to measure your success with digital marketing tactics if you’re targeting millennials on Facebook. Or, if you’re trying to grow your business by increasing inbound traffic, paid search may be a better tactic for you than social media marketing.


Having both a marketing strategy and smaller tactics is essential for the success of your business—you can’t have one without the other. And keep in mind that even the best businesses don’t succeed 100% of the time from day one. This is all a process of adaptation that happens step-by-step; as they say, “the map is not the same as territory.” But if you fail to establish either a clear marketing strategy or supporting tactics, your chance of failure skyrockets to almost 100%.

Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics, an important distinction to make when planning the success of your business. By understanding the difference and using them together, you can create a plan for long-term growth and consistency that will get results and propel your company forward. With these tools at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success in the ever-changing landscape of marketing.

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About the Author

Liviu Prodan

Liviu is an experienced trainer and LifeHacker. He’s been living the ‘Corpo life’ for more than 15 years now and has been a business developer for more than 12 years. His experience brings a lot of relevancy to his space, which he shares on this blog. Now he pursue a career in the Continuous Improvement & Business Development field, as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a path that is coherent with his beliefs and gives him a lot of satisfaction.

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