Copyright (c) 2008 Christian Fea
Most businesses have both a strategic marketing plan and a tactical marketing plan, and it is important to keep these two platforms separate. People often mistakenly assume that when you talk about marketing, you’re speaking of “tactical” marketing, which consists of placing ads, generating leads, sending out mailers and brochures, etc. However, strategic marketing focuses on the message and communication of the message. Simply put, tactical marketing is the execution of your marketing plan – the medium by which your message is delivered, and strategic marketing focuses on the content of your messagewhat you say and to whom you say it.
The key difference is the focus on making sure overall customer situations mesh with your overall company direction. Not to get distracted, or veer off course of your overall company direction, but at every step of development for your strategic plan, and execution of your plan, that you are indeed on course of what the overall vision and goals of the company are.
Content vs. Execution
Many companies try to figure out how to sell more before they find out how to provide a solution to their consumers’ needs. The procedure for accomplishing this is exactly the same every single time, for every kind of business. It is the advertiser’s job to pay attention to human nature, to research human nature, and to have some insight into how people make their purchasing decisions. Strategically, marketing programs and advertising should get the attention of target market prospects and facilitate their decision-making. This lowers their risk for taking the next step in the buying process. By understanding what’s important to your target market, you can then put together a strategy that gets more qualified prospects to call, reduces your sales cycle, and increases your conversion ratios. After the strategy is in place, the tactical execution simply consists of testing and implementing your strategic plan. Business-to-business Strategic Marketing
There is a business-to-business aspect to many companies, in which case these business-to-business transactions count as customer situation. For marketing to businesses who are your clients and customers, this means combining industry sector segmentation and product use with other factors related to purchasing decisions. For example, this would include purchase criteria and decision motivations that effect larger, enterprise sized purchases. In this case, part of your strategic marketing plan is to build strong, personal relationships with these larger businesses, and focus on providing customized service, products and even anticipate the needs of your business clients. Although a business is obviously a larger entity than a single customer, many of the same principles prevail; the most important being a keen sense of service, and making them feel they are important and that you pay special attention to them.
A strategic marketing plan encompasses developing a message, and developing the best way to communicate this messageand contemplates the best strategy to deal with communicating this message. Tactical marketing is important as it executes the strategic plan, but it is important to keep these two subjects divided as you develop a successful marketing plan for your company.
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