Strategy and Tactics – The same right?
Like tomato, ‘tomahto’, many business people think strategy and tactics are one in the same. Or, they say strategy and mean tactics. Strategy and tactics are distinctly different, both very important, and need to be aligned. Tactics can be easy, fun and creative to conceive. But, creating a tactical plan that will move your business forward without the perspective of a strategic plan will be wasted energy and resources. Like a gerbil on a wheel, you can create a lot of activity but without a destination, you are just spinning your wheel. So, where to begin?
First, let’s discuss how we think of marketing strategy: it must relate to an organization’s broad goals and identify the resources required for success. It is not what you’d like your company to become, or a list of goals or why you exist. It should stretch the organization, be bold, something to reach for, moving ahead of the competition. Tactics, on the other hand, are specific activities, processes and accountabilities that will allow your business to achieve its strategic goals. At Strategy+Design we focus on marketing for B2B clients, and so our advice and thought-process is through that lens.
When developing marketing strategy, there are key questions you need to be able to answer about your customers and business. Knowing the answers to these 4 key strategic questions will help you develop an effective marketing strategy.
Who really are your customers?
What do they need? Where do they look for information to do their jobs better, or be more successful? What are their profiles? Job titles? Pain points?
You may be selling widgets or widget servicing, but what business are you really in?
Understand not just what you are selling but why people buy from you. What problem are you solving? What do your customers like about doing business with you?
What makes you different?
What do you do better than any of your competitors? What is the story of your business? How did it start, grow, or change? Why do people buy from you instead of the other guys? What do they say ‘thank you’ for? Why do customers refer business to you?
Where is the opportunity? What are the growth areas of your business? Most profitable areas? What capabilities do you need to build in order to win?
We love working with our partners to develop competitive marketing strategy. If you need help building a plan, drop us a line or give us a call. We specialize in B2B marketing and deliver strategy and design that gets results.Want to read more on this topic? This blog post does a good job of defining the difference between strategy and tactics.