For Strategy, Avoid a Simplistic Tactical Response

cheerful multiracial teenagers in trendy outfit with smartphones

While strategy and tactics are interrelated, they operate at different levels of detail, scope, and time. Strategy sets the overall direction, while tactics are the specific actions taken to implement that strategy. It’s essential to understand and communicate these distinctions to avoid confusion.

From various sources, I have summarized several points that can help explain these distinctions (and distortions). As a wrap up, I also provide an example taken from common case in the digital marketing.

Scope and Timeframe

Typically, strategy is a broader, high-level plan that outlines overall direction and long-term goals. It involves decisions about where to compete and how to position in the larger context. Strategies often cover a more extended time frame, often spanning years.

Tactical plans are more specific and focus on shorter time frames. They involve the implementation of elements of the overall strategy. Tactics are actions and decisions that support the strategic plan, and they are often more concrete and detailed.

Level of Detail

Strategic plans are more abstract and conceptual. They set the stage for the future, addressing questions such as market positioning, competitive advantage, and overall vision.

Tactical plans are more detailed and specific. They involve the day-to-day activities and decisions necessary to achieve the strategic objectives. Tactics can include specific campaigns, projects, or initiatives.


Strategies tend to be more stable and enduring. They provide a framework for decision-making over the long term and are less likely to change frequently.

Tactical plans are more adaptable and subject to change based on short-term circumstances. They are often adjusted in response to immediate challenges or opportunities.


Strategy focuses on the big picture, answering questions like “What business are we in?” and “How do we create value for our stakeholders?”

Tactics focus on the details of execution, answering questions like “What specific actions do we need to take to achieve our goals?”

Let’s consider a hypothetical example for a company in the fashion industry that wants to develop a digital strategy for social media marketing.
Strategy #1Strategy #2
Increase brand awareness (position the brand as a leader in sustainable fashion), engagement, and drive online sales by optimizing social media platforms for a seamless shopping experience.
Target Audiences
Fashion-conscious individuals aged 18-35 interested in sustainable and trendy clothing.
These two strategies work in tandem, with the first strategy focusing on building brand identity and the second on converting that identity into increased online sales. The tactical plans provide specific actions for each strategy to achieve the outlined objectives.
Elevate brand awareness through Sustainable Fashion advocacyBoost online sales through engaging Social Commerce strategies
Instagram and TikTokInstagram and Facebook
Tactical Plan
Monthly Sustainable Fashion Series
Feature a “Sustainable Style of the Month” on Instagram and TikTok, highlighting the eco-friendly aspects of a specific clothing line. Include behind-the-scenes footage of the production process.
Instagram Shopping Integration
Implement Instagram Shopping to allow users to browse and purchase products directly from posts. Run targeted ads on Facebook to drive traffic to the Instagram Shop.
Eco-Tips Series
Launch a weekly series providing practical tips for adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. Encourage audience engagement by asking followers to share their eco-friendly practices.
Flash Sales Events
Announce surprise flash sales exclusively on social media. Use countdown features in stories to build anticipation.
Influencer Takeovers
Collaborate with influencers to take over the brand’s Instagram and TikTok accounts for a day. Showcase their sustainable fashion choices and lifestyle.
User-Generated Testimonials
Encourage customers to share their experiences with the brand’s products on Instagram and Facebook. Curate user testimonials into engaging video content for increased credibility.

This case not only illustrates the details we’ve discussed but also sheds light on the seamless integration of strategic planning and tactical execution.

Let’s see another illustrative example that highlights the clear distinctions between strategy and tactics.

Therefore, when faced with the inquiry, “What’s your digital strategy for Q1 2024?” refrain from responding with a simplistic “We will use Instagram and TikTok.” 

Instead, articulate a comprehensive approach by stating, “We aim to maximize our presence on trending platforms that have demonstrated significant impact consistently over the past year.” This response reflects a strategic mindset focused on sustained influence and adaptability. It goes beyond a mere listing of chosen channels.

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