A Strategy and a Tactic Walk Into a Bar…

A strategy and a tactic walk into a bar. The strategy orders a beer. The bartender pours the beer but serves it to the tactic. Why? Because he couldn’t tell them apart.

But how do you tell them apart? Do you know the difference between strategies and tactics; between goals and objectives? In theory, most people do. But in practice, these terms are often muddled together and blurred into a not-so-tasty cocktail of marketing jargon.

At the risk of oversimplifying this subject for the sophisticated readership of this blog (ahem, that’s you), let’s define these terms. This way, we can all speak a common language when you call us to discuss your marketing needs (see what I did there?).

Goal: What you are trying to achieve at the highest level.

Example: Increase revenue by 25 percent in 2017.

Strategy: How you are going to achieve your goal (don’t get granular yet).

Example: Persuade current and potential customers that your new laboratory tool has both the pedigree and innovation required to allow researchers achieve their goals.

Objectives: The milestones or more granular achievements you seek to achieve while on your way to reaching your goal. These should always be measurable.

Examples: Increase web traffic by 35 percent. Identify at least 200 completely new leads and get them into the sales funnel. Upgrade 20 percent of current customers to the new tool by year-end.

Tactics: The practical stuff you do to implement your strategy. It’s what is going to help you meet those objectives/goals.

Examples: A press release announcing your new lab tool and proactive media outreach. Tailored email blasts sent to targeted lists to inform them of your new product and how it will help them. A print and online advertising campaign in relevant trade outlets. Paid search (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns. A mind-blowing booth at a prominent tradeshow. Meaningful and influential new content, such as brochures, white papers and sales sheets. Develop and execute an upgrade program for existing customers.

Do your tactics tie directly to your objectives? Does the messaging and creative within these tactics resonate with your established strategy? If this is still unclear, then check yourself before you wreck yourself.

And, don’t talk to strange nouns you meet in bars.

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