Both Strategy & Tactics Make A Great Marketing Plan

Understand your overall business strategies and how they differ from tactics

If you want a cohesive marketing plan, the first step is to understand your overall business strategies and how they differ from tactics. Your strategy is an idea, a big idea. It’s the WHY. A great strategy is something that you can build your whole business around. It helps define and drive your business. It’s an idea your customers can rally around. 

A tactic is an action, something that you do. A tactic is HOW you are going to achieve your strategy. Sometimes the difference is difficult to understand, so here’s a real life example to see how strategies and tactics differ while at the same time working together.

Domino’s Pizza

In the early 1960’s Tom Monaghan had one small pizza joint in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was sandwiched in between two major universities, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. The dorm rooms, student apartments, and frat houses in those two giant universities were filled with students who were always getting a terrible case of the munchies. Now these people didn’t want the best pizza, or the tastiest pizza, they wanted the fastest pizza. They had the munchies and they wanted their pizza NOW. 

So Tom Monaghan came up with the strategy of having the fastest pizza delivery. Being the FASTEST was his big idea and he built his entire business around that strategy. In order to be the fastest delivery he had to make the pizzas faster. I don’t know exactly how he did it. Maybe he used pre-cooked crusts, installed more ovens, or gave his cooks better training. 

After the pizzas were made, he needed to deliver them faster. Maybe he hired more delivery drivers. Maybe he hired better drivers who actually knew the area, or drivers who knew how to use a map. All those actions were the TACTICS that supported his strategy of having the fastest pizza delivery. Strategy: fast. Tactic: More ovens. Tactic: Better delivery drivers. Those tactics grew out of his strategy which was being fast. 

His marketing tactics also grew out of his overall business strategy. The most memorable marketing tactic was his guarantee and his slogan. It’s so memorable that you probably know it even though it hasn’t been in use for decades… 

“Your Pizza Delivered in 30 Minutes or Less, or It’s FREE” 

That tactic, the guarantee and slogan, was the cornerstone of all the rest of his marketing efforts and it sprang naturally from his main business strategy. Dominos didn’t spend their money on better ingredients or fancy restaurant décor – they invested in more drivers, spent money on their great guarantee and on ads plastering that awesome slogan everywhere. When you’re clear on your strategies, the tactics start to flow naturally, effortlessly.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to just one strategy. Most retail businesses have between 1-5 strategies – any more than that and you start to lose focus.

Discovering Your Own Strategies

Don’t stress out about this! You can see the power in this concept and you want to grab that big idea right away. But it rarely works like that. A strategy is something that needs to be DISCOVERED. Take your time and think about it.

  • ·     What is your big idea?
  • ·     What do the customers need and want?
  • ·     What big idea will really resonate with your customers? 

Understand that your strategies are there, waiting to be discovered. If you give them time and thought, they will reveal themselves to you. And then you can use them to create the tactics, to create the marketing plan, and to build your business. 

Talk to you soon. ~Norma

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