Strategic vs Tactical Marketing

Strategic marketing is method of how a brand can differentiate itself from its competition. This strategy involves using the strengths of that brand to promote a value proposition that is consistently better now and into the future. It is a process of comparing the various options a consumer may have, in both the B2B and B2C worlds, to create moments of positive differentiation.

Tactical marketing is a strategy which is used to reach a specific goal or metric with specific actions. These goals may be broad-based, such as meeting a general revenue target, or be quite specific, such as meeting a specific sales figure within a targeted demographic. For tactical marketing to be implemented, the goal which must be reached needs to be set first. Then the strategies to meet that goal can be developed.

In the strategic vs tactical marketing debate, there are many similarities. Most brands will incorporate both strategies into their marketing efforts. Determining which option is the best one right now depends on these key differences.

1. The Approach

Strategic marketing involves developing the specific components that are required by the recipients of the message to want what is being offered. For this content to be developed, it is necessary to research the targeted demographics of the campaign. Consumers need the message to resonate with value, defined as a problem they have, realized or not, that can be solved if they decide to purchase what is being marketed to them.

Tactical marketing takes the approach of what actions a brand or business must conduct to meet the specific goals of goods or services that are being offered. Instead of determining what the value definition should be, tactical marketing looks for avenues that can be useful in spreading that message outward. Choosing what advertising methods to use, the implementation of a follow-up system, and other tactics are implemented so a product is placed in front of the consumer.

2. Engagement

Strategic marketing tells consumers what the value proposal happens to be. “If you buy this product, then you will save 30 minutes and it costs $40 less than what you are currently using.”

Tactical marketing shows consumers what the value proposal happens to be. It puts the product within reach of a brand’s potential leads and allows the consumer to examine what has been offered. It is up to the consumer to determine if the value proposition of what is being offered can apply to them.


3. Implementation

Strategic marketing is about implementing a vision. The intent is to fulfill a goal that has been predetermined and meeting objectives that are required for the survival of the business. Every activity in a strategic effort must contribute in some way to the goals that are necessary for survival first, then growth.

Tactical marketing is about implementing a course of action. It focuses on the practical things that can be done to achieve specific goals, mission statements, or metrics. A marketer who writes a blog post is implementing a tactical marketing strategy. Updating a Facebook post, sending a tweet, or creating an email campaign would all be examples of the tactics that can be used to achieve marketing success.

4. Vision

Strategic marketing is the overview of what needs to happen for a business to find success. Its vision must be based on goals that are specific, measurable, and actionable. If the goals are not relevant or do not have a time-based component to it, then it becomes difficult to implement tactics that can help it be successful.

Tactical marketing is the overview of what actions need to happen for a business to find success. If the goal for a business is to move from a 5% marketing share to a 15% marketing share within the next 5 years, it will focus on the specifics of what must be done to make that happen.

Strategic vs Tactical Marketing: Is One Better Than the Other?

Understanding how strategic and tactical marketing are different from one another is an important component of a brand’s campaign development. When that campaign is implemented, however, both components must be in place.

A strategy will not succeed if there are no tactics available to support it. Tactics will not be successful if there is not a strategy behind them.

This is where many brands struggle. They’ll create a good strategy, but implement the wrong tactics to reach their intended demographics. Or they’ll “wing it” and hope for the best with tactics that others have used successfully.

If both strategic and tactical marketing are working in harmony, success can be found. The differences between the two become one of the greatest strengths a brand can have.