Marketing 101: Choosing the Right Tactics

The American Marketing Association-approved definition of marketing is, “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” One of the most visible aspects of marketing is arguably tactics.

But, there is much more to tactics than simply posting to social media or writing a blog. You need a plan.

If you have been following along with the Marketing 101 series, then you already know your Four Ps and have identified your target audience (or audiences). Now it’s time to really delve into planning. To do that, let’s quickly review the differences between goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. These four elements work together to get your product to the right people in the right place at the right time.

When considering these factors, it’s a good idea to start at the top and work down.

Start with a goal. Your goal is your big picture or big idea. It is the WHAT you plan to accomplish. It should be broad and qualitative.

Once you have your goal, it’s time to move to your objectives. Your objectives will be the measurable steps taken to achieve your goals. They will be the framework for your strategy and tactics.

Next, it’s time to think strategically to achieve your objectives. Your strategy should be based on research and planning. Strategic planning involves a long-term vision. Your strategies need to be adaptable, but should also be strongly considered and weighted before changing. Strategy and tactics are the HOW that supports your objectives and goal.

After you have developed a strategy, it is finally time to start utilizing tactics. Tactics are the short-term action steps that are used to achieve your strategy. Tactics can be more flexible and are more easily adjusted and course-corrected if they are not effective. In fact, it is easier to change tactics than it is to implement an entirely new strategy.

So, does that mean strategy is more important than tactics? It means they are both very important and must work together to support objectives and goals. The best strategy will never happen if tactics are not in place and tactics without a strategy are just random tools.

When determining tactics, remember these steps.

1. Research. Know your audience. Know your company and brand.

2. Set clear goals and objectives.

3. Develop a long-term strategy.

4. Choose tactics that will support your strategy, objectives, and goals.

It is also important to make sure your tactics are in line with your budget and other resources. They should include realistic timelines, budgets, and reporting metrics.

Some examples of tactics include:

  • regular blog posts

  • targeted social campaigns across various channels

  • targeted email marketing

  • a strong website that incorporates search engine optimization (SEO)

  • targeted advertising

  • content marketing

Regardless of the tactics you use, remember that they should keep you focused, give you direction, help you measure results, and give you a much better chance of success. And whatever you do, please don’t start implementing your tactics without a plan.

This is part three of our Marketing 101 Series. For part one, see Marketing 101: The Four Ps of Marketing. For part two, see Marketing 101: Do You Know Your Audience?