Anatomy of a Marketing Plan - Strategies and Tactics

Last week, we focused on drafting the objective of our marketing plans. Now that those are written, the fun really starts. Strategies and tactics are the muscle of any marketing plan. With the right tools and processes in place you’ll be on your way to reaching those big dreamy goals of yours!


What is a strategy?

In simple terms, strategies are processes that support your objective. They focus not only on the singular goal, but how to get there. For example, “I want to lose 20 lbs,” is a goal. By contrast, saying “I am going to lose 20 lbs by losing 1 pound a week for a total of 20 weeks,” is a strategy. See the difference?

The strategy becomes more like a story than a statement. You can virtually watch the process unfold before anything ever really happens. This is valuable for a number of reasons: First, it gives you a plan (yay!). Second, you can start to imagine the tools and resources you will need for your specific plan, such as a special event venue or a really good web designer. It also allows you to better predict and plan for risks that may occur along the way.

As a best practice, each strategy should be specific to your target audience(s) and be tied to at least one measurable goal. If your business sells through multiple channels (e.g., you sell to businesses and consumers), then it makes sense to develop strategies that address the needs of each group.

How do tactics fit in?

When it comes to executing your strategies, tactics do a lot of the heavy lifting. These are the tools and techniques that you will use to promote your business throughout the year. Depending on your business model, you will need to choose an appropriate mix of inbound and outbound tactics.


Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via things like content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization. And while we all dream that these sexy, inexpensive inbound tools will have customers banging down your door with wallets in hand, inbound marketing is best for raising awareness about your brand or product. (Which is not to be underestimated!)


Outbound marketing is more direct. This technique involves outreach via mail or email, meeting in person, and selling over the phone with a strong call to action. Outbound marketing is most effective after awareness for your brand or product has been established. Think about it in terms of making friends. If someone you didn’t know asked you for a favor, would you say yes? Probably not. In the same way, taking the time to let your customers get to know you first is pretty vital.

It’s worth noting that a fair amount of research is needed to develop a coherent tactics list. Specific opportunities, such as event dates, editorial calendar topics and ad deadlines should be researched and identified as tasks in this part of your plan.

The nerdiness continues in our next post on metrics. Stay tuned! 

Tonic Marketing helps our clients research and develop complete, coherent marketing plans for our customers. If you would be interested in a brainstorm to discuss your specific needs and goals, let’s grab coffee.


Sara Soergel