Should Marketing Tactics Drive Strategies For The Company?

In Marketing - How To, Marketing Basics, Marketing Strategy by Tarun GuptaLeave a Comment

Marketing tactics versus strategy: Role of tactics in making the overall strategy of the organization. After learning by spending good number of years in a product based Indian startup company as an entrepreneur and also learning from my experience of actively servicing large global companies, I have come to a radical conclusion. Sales, operational and marketing tacticsshould play a seminal role while formulating the overall strategy of the business. Strategy of a company should always be formed and developed by adopting a bottom-up approach and not the traditional top-down.

To explain the above point more elaborately, the driving strategy of the organization should be developed by thoroughly understanding tactics of the business through involvement and deep knowledge. I believe tactics should always guide strategy rather than the other way round. For example, the communication tactic should drive and govern the strategy to be adopted by marketing through the means of direct marketing, online marketing or digital marketing.

Unfortunately, out of many marketers and senior people I got an opportunity to interact with, many of them believe in the reverse. The thought process which is accepted as a standard norm is that the overall strategy of the business should always be set first: and then it can followed by the tactics.

Changing The Traditional Mindset: Tactics Is The Subset Of Strategy

Strategy will always guide and direct tactics, is a golden rule which is deeply rooted in our system. We take it for granted and never ever question this obvious. The one of the best practices followed at most of the companies is to first decide the overall high level strategy and then slowly move down on to the tactics.

Authentic researches and real-life case studies have often tested and proved that businesses or brands that had set their strategies first adamantly refuse to accept defeat or nonperformance because they had figured out that all that was required to turn their assignment into a success was a minor modification in tactics.

In most of the business be it small, local or global business, leaders have the strong tendency to view things as they expect to see. This is tendency of a reacting social behavior. This is why I feel the approach of top down is littered with minefields and is dangerous. Adopting this approach they ignore the factors that aren’t linked to the accomplishment of the strategy.

So, when the process is upside down, you have strong possibility to make startling discoveries. For example an Indian major generic drug company had launched a product few years back which apart from curing headache and running nose also put users to sleep. This turned out to be grave problem if people wanted to go to important activities like driving or go to work. But instead of giving up on the product they positioned the product as the pain relief medicine for nighttime. It was a master advertisement tactic and marketing strategy, it worked brilliantly. It became a big marketing news in print as well as social media. It was for the first time that people had known a nighttime remedy and it created a nice in people’s mind leading to roaring success of the product. The marketing plan or rather I shall say marketing tactic adroitly adopted by the management surprisingly worked very well and It went on to become the most successful drug in the company’s history.

Here in the above example tactic to position the relief product uniquely and differently guided and ruled the strategy for the company which was to introduce a new major pain relief drug. A Master stroke indeed. Highly appreciable.

“How to be different from the competition?”

Competitive Angle in Marketing Tactics

I would like to highlight another useful tip; a tactic should have a competitive bend or angle in order to have a chance to succeed. This can be done by creating an element of uniqueness and differentiation. How to be different from the competition? It could be cheaper, more expensive, smaller, bigger, lighter and heavier. Furthermore, the tactic should be competitive in the complete marketing ring and not just in relation to two or three services or products.

For example, the brilliant business marketing tactic of Volkswagen to introduce the “The first” small car was a stunning marketing and media tactic and it created a competitive edge. At the same time in late fifties other competitors in the industry including General Motors were manufacturing BIG cars. The Volkswagen beetle was a huge success. The Volkswagen was not the small car in the US market but also through right advertising and marketing mix it gradually enjoyed the advantage of occupying the “small position” in the minds of the consumers across the world.

“Think small” was the popular advertisement run by Volkswagen. A highly popular ad.

Easily Identifying Strategic Thinker And Tactical Thinkers In Your Organization

  • Leaders and thinkers in the organization who conceive things strategically always try to force things to happen. While the people who follow and adopt the tactical approach always look for things to explore and exploit.
  • Strategic thinkers adopters will farm in the already existent market and tactical adopters will try to look for new markets at the first available opportunity.
  • Strategic thinkers are internally driven and while the tactical leaders are externally driven.
  • Strategic thinkers will have their eyes set on long – term success and then second priority on short term success whereas tactical leaders first aim at short-term success with long term success in mind.

Go Get Attached With Marketing Tactics

With the courage of stating my conviction openly, I strongly feel any attachment with strategy and strategic thinking is quite dangerous. Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to find more time to implement the long term strategies, but even though you’re working harder, you’re not content with the result and it is no where closer to what you’ve always desired?

Here’s why … building long term strategies are simply worthless. “Strategy” – a lot of corporate managers use it to superfluously describe their thoughts and ideas about what should be done, as opposed to spending time on developing executable tactics be it sales tactics to get more business or be marketing tactics with the aim to promote brand. To put it simply, It is all about doing actual work.

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