A well-planned business always consists of three essential factors. It has a business goal, a strategy, and a set of tactics. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make today is not knowing the vital distinction between a marketing strategy and a tactical strategy. Some often skip the strategy and go straight to the tactics. If you find yourself confused with the terminologies, too, let us help you understand everything you need to know about these crucial business elements. It will help you, especially in creating your search engine marketing or digital marketing ads.

The Consequences of Not Utilizing These Elements

If you have an e-commerce site and you allot a lot of budget for paid search but do not notice any increase in sales, maybe you don’t utilize a strategy, to begin with. If you regularly send out newsletters but fail to drive traffic to your website, there may be something wrong with your tactics. The two concepts are not the same, and it is vital to know their differences to make them work for you.

Their Difference: Strategy vs. Tactics

What makes marketing strategy different from marketing tactics?

Marketing strategy is your game plan to reach your target audience and keep them engaged until you reach your business goal. Your strategy helps ensure that all your marketing goals add value to your business.

On the other hand, marketing tactics refer to the activities you do to bring your marketing strategy to life.

Basically, you only have one marketing strategy, but you can have multiple tactics to achieve it.

What About the Marketing Plan?

If the strategy answers why you aim for a particular business goal and the tactics tell you what you can do to achieve it, your marketing plan shows you how it should be done.

Let’s say your strategy is to clean your house before the day ends, and your tactics include all the areas you need to clean, plus the cleaning tools and equipment you need to achieve the task. Your marketing plan would tell you what room to work on first and what tools to use to meet your target deadline.

It is also in your marketing plan wherein you identify the KPIs (key performance indicators) you’ll use to track your progress. For the said example, you can consider each room or part of the house you finish cleaning as your KPI.

What Makes Up a Good Strategy

Now that you understand how each differs, let’s go back to the marketing strategy. To make a great strategy, you need to have the following elements:


  • Marketing goals – What you want to accomplish
  • Target audience – Who you are aiming to engage with
  • Brand guidelines – Do you have specific directions for engaging them? How would you reflect your brand in your advertising methods?
  • Opportunities and threats – List down your rewards and the potential risks you need to keep in mind throughout the process


With a good strategy, you know that your business and marketing goals are always aligned.


Knowing the difference between these concepts and terminologies can help you plan your next marketing move thoroughly. Remember that the first step is establishing your business goals, building a marketing strategy around it, and then introducing tactics that will bring your strategy to life. Don’t hesitate to abandon tactics that don’t work and to try and develop new tactics again.

If you find all these terminologies confusing and need help applying them to your business, we’re always ready to assist you. We are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Buffalo, NY, and we can help you answer your question of how to stand out in marketing.