The first and most important fundamental principle of marketing is to approach everything you do within the context of a strategy. Most businesses make the critical mistake of only using tactical methods to craft their marketing. The question that must be addressed is: are you strategic or tactical?
What’s the difference? Why does it matter?
Take a moment to look in the dictionary and compare the definitions of the two words. Webster’s defines strategy as, “The skillful planning and managing of an activity. ” The operative phrase here is “planning and managing. ” These are indispensable ingredients a successful business cannot afford to overlook. Both are essential for giving a business clear objectives and direction. They make up the compass which you use to guide your business to your established goals.
Conversely, take a look at the meaning of “tactic. ’ It’s defined as, “A way or method of working toward a goal. ” Tactics are very crucial when creating a successful business, but they always subservient to the strategy. Each tactic must work within the framework of your strategy to accomplish the desired outcomes of your business. Otherwise, there is no direction or true sense of purpose, only a mishmash of activities that might produce a short-term profit.
By operating tactically instead of strategically, many businesses set themselves up for mediocrity. Countless hours and thousands of dollars are spent on tactics without a proper strategy in place. These businesses have no idea what their marketing goals are, let alone the desired outcome they are working toward. Sure, sales may increase a little here and there, but consistent growth is rarely experienced due to the constant chaos of reacting to the whims of the marketplace.
Successful businesses have developed a strategic plan for their marketing and continuously execute it as a core function of their operations.
You’ve seen them before. They are the marketers whose message you see everywhere you turn. They have developed a comprehensive marketing approach that’s delivered consistently and relentlessly to a specific target of prospects and clients. Their success comes from a basic understanding of the difference between a strategic attitude and tactical one.
Simply stated, strategy is the what of a business…what you are going to accomplish and what activities will be required to reach your marketing goals. Strategy requires thorough research, long-term vision, and careful planning as well as a commitment to implement the plan until it produces predictable results.
Tactics, on the other hand, are the how of marketing. These are the means and methods of making your marketing produce sales and profits for your business. Tactics include how you’re going to reach your prospects, how you are going to sell to them, how you are going to service them, and so on. Think of them as the activities and procedures you engage in within the structure of your strategy.
Executing marketing tactics without a strategy is like playing a game of darts in a darkened room; every once and a while you may get lucky and hit the target but it doesn’t happen very often. It’s not the best way play darts or market your business for outstanding success.
Invest the time to properly develop your strategy and then create the tactically actions that will create sales momentum for you. All it takes is focusing on your goals and committing to do whatever it takes to reach them.
Ron Abbott is a marketing coach, entrepreneur, speaker and author of the http://www.small-business-marketing-hub.com where you will find more small business marketing articles, resources, ideas, and tools.