Do you know the difference between a strategic and tactical marketing plan? This might sound like a silly question but the two often get mixed up.

The result is often a marketing plan that’s all tactics and no strategy. So, what is the difference between a strategic and tactical marketing plan.

Strategic Marketing Plan:

A strategic marketing plan is the engine room and outlines exactly what you are trying to achieve – big picture. It is developed based on your current market situation, lifecycle, competitor landscape and identified opportunities. A marketing strategy can be focussed on a number of business opportunities, such as customer retention, diversifying the customer base, market share growth, market value growth, becoming the market leader or increasing purchase frequency.

The strategic marketing plan needs to be written in conjunction with other departments in the business such as finance, distribution, sales, R&D and senior management. Why? Because based on your goals and objectives needed to achieve your set strategy, you are going to need whole business support. For example, if your strategy is focussed on market volume growth, your objective to acheive this may focus on increasing overall sales of a certain widget by 25% over the next 6 months, and one of the tactics you identify to do this is to increase channel distribution, then both the sales and distribution teams need to be on board to ensure this goal can be reached.

If you are a small business then you need to make sure the business (and you) can support the set marketing strategy. Will you need to secure a distribution partner to increase sales, do you need a capital injection, can your production facility cope with an increase in activity, and can you manage increased call volumes to support more customers?

In either case, developing a strategic marketing plan without the support structure in place first will increase the chances of your plans not succeeding.

Tactical Marketing Plan:

The tactical marketing plan on the other hand, outlines how you intend to reach the overall strategic goals and objectives you have set for yourself, and is dealt with quite simply via the marketing mix – promotion, placement, product, people, packaging and pricing etc.

For example, if your strategic focus is to increase sales of widget X, then using the most common of the P’s, your tactical plans will go something like this:

  • Price – Price match competitors or price reduction tactics with a distribution partner.
  • Placement – Negotiate better retail positioning or secondary ranging with a major distribution channel.
  • Promotion – Implement an integrated marketing campaign across advertising, online, in store etc.
  • Product – Change product configuration or enhance packaging.

The easiest way to understand the difference between a strategic and a tactical marketing plan is to break it down into two questions.

  1. What are you trying to achieve? This answer will shape your strategy.
  2. What do you need to do to achieve that? This answer will shape your tactics.

Spend time on getting the answers right and your marketing plans will be second to none.

Need a hand writing your marketing plan? Then contact us, we’d be only too happy to help