What’s the difference between marketing strategies and tactics?

ImageMany newbies and experienced marketers confuse strategies for tactics. This is quite common in the digital industry, especially social media, which is full of savvy social media users, but most times they don’t see the big picture and deal with just the tactical execution.

Strategies are a subset of your business goals. Tactics are the actions taken to achieve the goals. Everything starts with the business goals, for example grow sales by 20% this financial year. These are the high level targets for the business. Strategies explain how you will achieve the goals.

Like most organisations, soft drink/ soda manufacturers would look to grow sales, but in a saturated market they would look at other food lines/ categories to achieve their goals. The ice-cream category is often used by soft drink manufacturers to broaden their sales. Ribena, a popular blackcurrant drink has released an ice-block product.

Ribena would have done their market research and understood their target market likes to keep cool in summer and ice-blocks fit that need. Research probably also told them that consumers for years had been creating their own version of Ribena ice-blocks by freezing the juice at home. In addition the ice-cream confectionary market has been growing steadily as a result of hotter and more prolonged summers.

When it came to tactics, Ribena would have most likely used a combination of television and print advertisements and social media to promote the new product. Social media is used a lot these days to launch a product, for example a simple 25 words or less competition is good way to generate interest in a new product. Once brands have built-up a good following on social media they can leverage this for product launches.

Now I’m not sure of the success of Ribena’s ice-block product, but if you want a better example check-out the blog ‘Brand Insight Blog’, John Ferguson references the famous ‘Arm & Hammer baking soda’ example.

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