What’s the Difference Between ‘Strategy’ and ‘Tactic?’

strategy-vs-tacticsTwo of the most common words in the flack’s vernacular (next to coffeeare strategy and tactic. 

According to Michael Porter, strategy leader and author of Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, “Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.”

The conundrum in this industry is that, although you have to think (strategy) before you do (tactic) anything, these two terms are often used interchangeably. It seems “being different” is understanding the difference in the first place.

This should help…

In short, a strategy is a larger, overall plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, less impactful action items that are part of the overall plan. Without a great strategy, there are no good tactics.

And while that doesn’t sound exciting, it’s what happens in agencies across the country every day.

marketing_treeLeaders of accounts sometimes get to jonesin’ so bad for a hit on new accounts that they leave no chance to discuss initial strategy. If you belong to an agency or a team that does this, do yourself a favor and do the exact opposite. It’s a bush league move that cheats the client as well as the team interested in learning how to serve that client.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

The plan should always be the kickoff, the genesis, the inception of every account. The purpose of the plan is to best understand and position the client’s objectives — which are, of course, connected to the overall goal or purpose of the contract.

Understanding this bridge to success allows you to be more productive and ultimately facilitates better results. As professionals, we should learn to abide by this truth: press is always important, but if you have a great story, it’ll still be there tomorrow. Plan today!

Think about every client you have: What’s your strategy? Think about every strategy you have: what are your tactics? If you still don’t know, let’s sum it up in four words:

Strategy = Why?

Tactics = How?

Now, go therefore and conquer!