Ever get confused about the difference between objectives, strategy and tactics?
It’s important to have a working knowledge on this subject to channel your time, energy and resources into the most productive areas for your business. You only have so much time and money – why not put them to the best possible use?
The What and the How
Objective is the end result of your marketing effort. Strategy is the “what” part of the equation and helps you answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” Tactics define “how” you will accomplish the strategy. They answer the question, “How are we going to do it?”
Let’s say your objective is to become the market share leader in your area. There are a number of strategies you might implement, including
- identifying your company with quality products,
- delivering great customer service or
- offering the lowest prices in town.
In this example, you decide to accomplish the objective of becoming the market leader by implementing the strategy of offering remarkable customer service. To support that strategy you employ the tactics of:
- Never miss a promised deadline,
- Always follow up installations with a call from the staff and
- Regularly post anecdotes and photos from installations on your Facebook page that demonstrate the outstanding rapport your installers have with your customers.
If you commit to the strategy of delivering remarkable customer service and decided on a set of well-defined tactics, you’re now free to ignore the other distractions that compete for your attention and marketing dollars.
And, a specific strategy defines who you are as a company.
With a strategy like that in place, you know you’re not the low price leader, and you don’t overbuild every project either. Instead, you deliver happy customers – every time. Knowing who you are and what you do best helps build company culture, which serves to reinforce your brand in the community.
Differentiate Your Business
Ultimately, a well defined and implemented strategy has the effect of reducing competition because it sets you apart from everyone else in your category. As strategy guru Michael Porter puts it, “Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.”
Keep in mind it’s possible to pursue more than one objective at a time, each with its own set of strategies and tactics. You might also use multiple strategies to accomplish the same goal. But, also keep in mind that pursuing multiple objectives dilutes your time and resources, which may be overwhelming to a small business. So, choose carefully.
Once you have settled on your new direction be sure to educate your staff about your goals, strategy and tactics. It’s amazing how often such lofty designs never make it out of the front office. Communicate to your staff how strategy and tactics work in tandem, with the larger goal always in mind.
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