The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

By Gee Ranasinha

I get the feeling that many small business owners consider marketing as nothing more than a tactical endeavor, completely lacking in any semblance of strategic thought.

Sun Tzu, perhaps the greatest strategist ever, was a Chinese general and philosopher who lived somewhere around 500BC. His teachings are documented in The Art Of War, a book summarizing his philosophy on managing conflicts, wining battles, and beating the enemy.

While originally a military text, The Art Of War became rather fashionable in sporting and (especially) business circles. Back in the 80s, in the days of Big Hair, power suits and Filofaxes, every self-respecting yuppie had a copy of The Art Of War strategically placed on their business bookshelf. Even if they hadn’t actually read past page three.

Sun got the point of strategy. He understood the importance of the destination over the journey. He knew that tactics, while clearly important, were pretty much useless without a defined strategy. Perhaps the most famous quote from The Art Of War is “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Yet here were are, two thousand years on, with businesses concluding the reason their sales suck is because their don’t have a chatbot on their Facebook page.

Confusing Marketing “Strategy” With Marketing “Tactics”

Let’s take a step back and look at the difference between strategy and tactics. In marketing terms, strategy is defining the space where the business decides to engage, and how it plans to win in the market. Tactics, in contrast, are the tools and executions deployed in order to deliver on that strategy,

In Sun Tzu’s day strategy meant first looking at the battlefield in great detail, evaluating the enemy’s forces, strengths/weaknesses, and capabilities. Then it was a question of deciding where and when to attack, and what military units would be deployed. Once the strategy was defined, the generals would give their orders to the appropriate regiments, battalions, or squadrons. The leaders of these troops would focus on the tactics that would deliver on their stated objectives.

At its most basic, business marketing follows a similar set of operations. The first stage to define is a map of the particular market, identify the players in that market, and categorize it into clear segments based on discovery, research, and analysis. The next step is to decide on which market segments to attack, and work out how to position the brand and value proposition in the most effective way to achieve those aims. The final stage is setting clear and unambiguous strategic goals for each of the defined target segments, outlining the tangible and measurable goals that we’ve defined as ‘success.’

Only once all of the above has been decided and agreed is it time to look at the tactical execution of that plan. Once the target has been defined, we can then decide on what kinds of tools and processes might be deployed to hit that target.

It’s during this last phase Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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