Strategic Marketing vs. Tactical Marketing: What’s the difference?

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Strategic Marketing vs. Tactical Marketing: What's the difference?

Strategic marketing and tactical marketing are like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. They are very different and work on their own, but the magic doesn’t happen until they come together. Strategic marketing directs marketing tactics with the company’s short and long term goals in mind. Tactical marketing brings strategies to life with attention to detail – and measurement. They work differently, but together, to help you achieve your goals.

What is Strategic Marketing?

Strategic marketing is focused firmly on your company’s goals. The strategic marketing plan combines market knowledge and customer behavior. It brings together a series of different tactics designed to help you achieve your goals. The process may include discovery questions such as:

  • What are your company’s realistic goals?
  • Who are the customers you need to achieve your goals?
  • How do you reach these customers?

Strategic marketing also requires involvement from other departments within your organization such as the financial, sales, operations, and human resources teams. Their input and intel are invaluable when creating a strategy. After all, if the operations team is planning a new service launch and marketing isn’t aware, it is not going to be successful. Once a unified strategy is assembled, you’re ready to go. Make sure to include measurement strategies and regularly check back to be sure you are on the right track.

What is Tactical Marketing?

Tactical marketing is rolling up your sleeves and getting in the weeds. The word ‘tactical’ just like ‘strategy’ comes from the military mindset of how to win a battle or organize troops and execute an operation. Tactical marketing is not so different. Instead of ships, tanks, and infantry, we use websites, blogging, social media, digital ads, and more. These tactics support the overall goals and should be evaluated on a continual basis to ensure success.

Who doesn’t like pizza?

Depending on who you ask, there is a strategy for making a pizza. A plan is needed to purchase the correct items to make the dough, sauce, and desired toppings.

Tactically, you lay out the pepperoni, cheese, homemade sauce, tomatoes, and you got a pizza, right? While each of these (tactical) items is delicious on its own, without the plan (strategy) to make the pizza, they are just not as good…. or as effective.

Marketing tactics are just like this. They are good on their own but without a common company goal and strategy, they may flounder and not succeed. The sum of the parts is less than the whole.

Now let’s tie the strategic and tactical marketing plans together.

Tactical marketing is practical. It is social media posts, digital ads, e-blasts, and much more. Without the strategy, tactical marketing efforts do not deliver the why. They aren’t unified and working toward your company goals.

If the Facebook post differs from the message on the website, a customer may be confused and struggle to understand your message and offering. A confused customer is much less apt to engage or purchase and will leave the website – probably to visit your competitor’s instead. When messages across different channels aren’t firmly unified, marketing tactics simply don’t work as well.

Do you know if your marketing investment is generating the results you need?

Perhaps you are working the strategic marketing process without a strategy?

Is the strategy lost within the organization and it may be time to regroup and review the overall company goals?

Is your marketing reactionary rather than proactive?

Let’s schedule some time to talk about your company goals and how a strategic marketing plan can help you achieve them. Our passion is helping businesses just like yours use strategic and tactical marketing strategies to achieve those goals. We’d love to put our experience to work for you!

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