In the game of chess, beginners and casual, non-professional players typically utilize game tactics in their quest to win against an opponent–while strategic play is the primary foundation of play for experts and masters. Certainly, the experts still use tactical play too, but only in concert with a planned strategy.
So, what is the difference, and how do these concepts translate to marketing?
Understanding the difference between strategy and tactics is critical if your intention is significant success in business. In fact, this knowledge is often a determining factor between the few companies that grow and prosper, and the vast majority that either fail or plateau at an early stage of growth.
In business, strategy involves the elements of determining an identity (your brand); your company mission statement or “philosophy;” customer service policies; and a business plan that includes what tactics will be employed, how they will be employed, and when they will be employed.
Tactics include the tools and methodologies used to implement the strategy; they are the “how” of marketing. Choosing advertising platforms (online, cable TV, print, broadcast radio & TV, social media, and direct sales, etc.) is a tactical concerns, as is the timing and frequency of how these platforms are utilized.
As in chess, in order to become a “master” at business, you are better off spending 80% of your energy and mental focus on creating a winning strategy, and the remaining 20% on tactical concerns.
But of course, just like in chess, in business, the majority of business owners have it reversed!
What are you focused upon in your business–tactics, or strategy? Are you working at becoming a master?