It’s terms like these that we all take for granted because they’re so boilerplate, so common. You can practically hear a small business owner (or even a large business owner) saying, “I’m too busy doing my job to think about all that theory. Besides, what I DO in MY BUSINESS is so incredibly unique that we should never do as everyone else does.” The words strategy and tactics can slip through the cracks of our intelligence until we’ve forgotten there is a difference.
Merriam-Webster defines strategy as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time” (“Strategy”). In class we discussed SMART strategy. Encompassing a criteria for business planning, SMART organizations are wise to ensure their plans are:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – timely.
As well, competition was highlighted in class. Because each organization plans its own strategy, it inevitably defines its competition, but “don’t forget the obvious,” Bhupesh warned us. “What did people do before your product came out” (Shah)? Potential customers survived well enough before the development of my product or service and that — nothing — is among my competitors.
Merriam-Webster defines tactic as “an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal” (“Tactic”). In a best case scenario, tactics are the implementation of a strategy. Check out some of these visuals from Inside Intercom (Traynor). The article mostly talks about vision and the necessity for organizations to be clear about their mission, yet it is plain that tactics are derived from the development of a strategy.
Part of a larger system, strategy is created based on identified goals. And goals are developed from the organization’s vision.
For some reason the pyramid diagrams at the link seem unrepresentative to me. The vision of an organization, the way I see it, should be broad in scope and in a diagram like this it should rest above all the layers beneath it, like an umbrella. For that reason, I created the following diagram that I believe better reflects the relationship between and organization’s vision, goals, strategy, tactics, and activities.
Fig. 1. Strategy vs Tactics graphic from: Trube, Rob. “Inbound Marketing: Strategy versus Tactics.” Demand Leap. 3 June 2013. Web. 26 September 2013.
Shah, Bhupesh. Personal Communication. 27 September 2013.
“Strategy.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2013. Web. 26 September 2013.
“Tactic.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2013. Web. 26 September 2013.
Traynor, Des. “Why Startups Need a Strong Vision.” Inside Intercom. N.d. Web. 26 September 2103.