Almost every day, we hear the word “strategy.” And it is used in a variety of contexts, from geopolitical sophistry to Instagram posts. This word is becoming a cliché, often used in wrong situations. Marketing experts think the main problem is that market experts do not understand what a strategy is in principle and how it differs from tactics. So there are misunderstandings and inconsistencies. Also, few people know that the strategy can be and is present in various company areas. The issue is simply in the terminology that needs to be deciphered and recorded in the head. Therefore, to avoid confusing ourselves and our partners, it is critical to clarify which area of the company’s activity we are talking about and at what level of strategy we are working on.
It is a general, non-detailed plan, covering a long time, a way to achieve an important goal. The task of the strategy is the effective use of available resources to accomplish the primary purpose(strategy as a way of action becomes especially necessary in a situation where the direct achievement of the main goal is not enough available resources). The concept comes from the idea of military strategy – the science of warfare, one of the areas of martial arts, its highest manifestation, which covers issues of theory and practice of preparation for war, it is planning, and conduct explores the laws of war. (Source: Wikipedia)
It means that:
Plans, algorithms, etc. that take a short time, say 1 day or several hours, or even a month, cannot be called strategies. For example, a travel plan from work to home or even on vacation cannot be called a strategy.
It is also crucial that this is a general, non-detailed plan. Therefore, if it includes many small details and basic steps – this is not a strategy. But what then? That’s right; this is nothing but tactics.
it is a conceptual action that takes the form of one or more specific tasks. (Source: Wikipedia)
It turns out that tactics are separate actions consisting of simple tasks. That is, traveling from home to work is a tactic, a different activity that includes several specific tasks (get out of the house, take the subway, make a change, drop by a coffee shop, go to the office). And this applies to any other process. In general, we can use the following definition: strategy is a system of tactical actions designed for a long time (for example, for a business, you can take 1 year, although depending on the size of the company, this period may vary) to achieve a great goal. And tactics are a system of elementary specific tasks designed quickly.
Strategy and tactics
It works the same way in marketing. A content plan for social media for the month is not a strategy, even if you add the word SMM before it. It is a tactical action and nothing more. In marketing, we work with several levels of strategy, each of which has its tactics and basic tasks. And depending on where we start the analysis, the same part of the plan can be both a strategy at its level and a tactical action within a higher-level strategy.
The hotel chain serving business customers is suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Many other hotels have large vacant rooms in the cities where their facilities are concentrated. Business customers travel much less – services such as Zoom or Google Meets have become the worst competitor. There is an ample supply, but demand has become much less. The company’s management expects that the situation will not change over time, and a new remote work format will become the norm. The company decides not to make money on overnight stays for business people but entertainment and wellness services. The network management develops a business strategy for the company’s development for 5 years, considering the new pandemic and post-pandemic reality.
It answers the question, what does a business do? What value or values does it create? The plan includes shifting the focus from providing business services for business travelers to providing travel services, as management believes that this segment is more promising. This requires the following actions:
It answers the question of how can businesses gain the necessary market share over the next 5 years to ensure the implementation of business strategy? At the same time, market share can be measured in money, customers, occupied rooms, or the number of goods sold. To implement a marketing strategy, you must perform several actions:
It answers the question of how can a business reach its target audience and tell what business can be helpful to it? To implement a marketing strategy, you must perform several actions:
Answers the question: how to best and most effectively contact the new target audience and includes:
This structure forms a tree of goals, which helps to achieve the implementation of the strategy at each level:
Based on this tree, you can build a funnel that shows the dependence of business goals on implementing, for example, media or communication strategy. Thus, there is a tool to adjust tactical actions depending on changes in the company’s external market or internal circumstances. This gives variability and flexibility to the business and creates opportunities for adaptation in today’s turbulent business environment. It turns out that the strategy helps increase the likelihood of success in marketing and provides tools for operational monitoring and marketing management of the company. The main thing is to use it correctly and not substitute the concept.