There’s an important difference between marketing strategy and tactics. Many business owners I work with don’t understand the difference. Marketing strategy is big picture. Marketing tactics are the day to day decisions.
Marketing strategy is a deep understanding of the core of your business. Here are a few areas marketing strategy covers:
- Vision, mission, and values of your business
- Strengths and weaknesses of your business compared to your competition
- The uniqueness of your product or service
- Your ideal customer
- Your market position
Marketing tactics are the operational decisions you need to make, such as:
- What social media platform to use and how often to post
- What colour your logo should be
- What kind of pages to add to your website and whether to have a blog
- Where to advertise and how much to spend
- Whether to invest in SEO
You have to have a marketing strategy before deciding on your marketing tactics. That’s usually the biggest mistake that business owners make in marketing. They start making the tactical decisions before the strategic ones. The strategic decisions are harder to make.
Here’s an example: We recently worked with a dentist on redesigning her website. One of the decisions to make for a website is whether to use stock photography or use custom photos. As we discussed her marketing strategy, we determined that the core of her business was a genuine care for people. Her competitors were corporate dental clinics that were more profit-driven than people-caring. Understanding this helped us decide on using custom photos (a tactical decision), so we could position their clinic as personal compared to their impersonal competitors (a strategic decision).
Having a marketing strategy helps you make the right tactical decisions. And because so many small businesses do not know how to create a marketing strategy, developing a great one is a competitive advantage.