Marketing Strategy vs Tactics

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a small business—you must get your company name and product or service information in front of potential customers, or else risk losing them to your competitors. To accomplish this, you need a marketing approach that includes both marketing strategies and tactics. 

The terms marketing strategy and marketing tactic are often incorrectly used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Understanding each one and the distinction between the two will help you develop a better marketing plan. 

Jump to:

Marketing strategies vs marketing tactics

Marketing strategies are your overall game plan for how you will accomplish a specific marketing goal. Marketing tactics are specific actions that you will take to carry out your strategy and achieve your marketing goals. Tactics focus on the implementation of your strategy and often employ specific digital marketing tools. In essence, a marketing goal is a broad outcome you want to achieve, a marketing strategy is a road map for how you plan to achieve it, and marketing tactics are the specific action items that will get you across the finish line. 

Related: What is Strategic Marketing?

Examples of marketing goals, strategies, and tactics

Your business’s marketing goals, strategies, and tactics all work together to help you accomplish a desired outcome. Below are two examples that will help you better understand what role each one plays and how they all work together.

Example 1: Product marketing

The example below illustrates a comprehensive marketing plan for a business that wants to promote the launch of a new product.

Marketing goal: Generate awareness for an upcoming product launch

Marketing strategy: Leverage an omnichannel marketing approach to reach the defined target customers

Marketing tactics: 

  • Launch paid social ads to reach the new product’s target audience.
  • Use an email marketing software tool to send an announcement with key product information and pre-sale or launch dates.
  • Research and work with micro-influencers whose core audience matches the new product’s target audience.

Example 2: Lead generation

Another core function of most digital marketing is lead generation. In the example below, the marketing goal, strategy, and tactics work together to lay out a detailed plan for growing inbound leads from digital marketing channels.

Marketing Goal: Increase the number of inbound leads referred from marketing channels by 25% over the next 6 months.

Marketing Strategy: Drive traffic to the lead collection page on the website.

Marketing Tactics:

  • Launch an SEO-optimized blog that includes links to the lead collection page.
  • Use specific calls-to-action (CTAs) in all social posts, blog posts, and emails 
  • Increase the frequency of organic and paid social media posts by scheduling and tracking content with a social media management tool

Why is it important to identify marketing strategies and tactics? 

Each piece of the marketing puzzle works together to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Without clear goals, strong marketing strategies, and specific marketing tactics, it will be difficult to achieve your desired results. 

Some small business owners try to skip straight to the marketing tactics after setting goals, but this also typically produces poor outcomes. Without marketing strategies, the tactics are often disorganized, unstrategic, and disconnected from the primary goal. Taking the time to craft a marketing plan that includes both strategies and tactics helps ensure your long-term success.

Read next: Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has expertise in marketing, human resources, technology, leadership, and business management. She enjoys helping small businesses navigate the unique challenges that they face. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications.

Must Read