103 responses

  1. silvana
    March 24, 2013

    THANK YOU! im in advertising undergrad and you are so right the internet is FULL OF false and confusing information, now i will never forget the difference between tactics and strategies.

  2. Viola
    March 31, 2013

    Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Raed Bilbessi
    April 29, 2013

    Excellent article and very well written. At times, I feel people use the word “strategy” to sound … well, “strategic”. A goal defines point “B”, as opposed to point “A”, which is where you are now. The goal is what you want to accomplish. A strategy gives you an idea about how to get there, but it’s only an idea. The devil is in the details, which is where the tactics come in. Strategies without a goal will get you somewhere (provided they have supporting tactics), but you have no idea where that might be. Strategies without tactics will always look nice on paper, but nothing will ever happen. Tactics without goals and strategies in turn will not necessarily produce favorable results.

  4. Claire
    April 30, 2013

    Hi John,

    Maybe you can help me clarify this. From my perspective there are many cases where the difference between goals, strategy and tactics is not so clear cut. Say you are an Anti-Hunger nonprofit doing your website. In that context, take the statement “Educate the public about the benefits of anti-hunger programs.” Is this a goal, a strategy or a tactic? It seems like it could be all three, depending on the context, what comes before and after in the chain of actions. Take this longer chain of goal-strategy-tactic–can you clearly establish which is which?

    Alleviate hunger >
    encourage an expansion of anti-hunger programs >
    create public support for anti-hunger programs >
    educate the public about the benefits of anti-hunger programs >
    present program benefit information on our site in an engaging way >
    use stories, video, charts, illustrations

    You could say the first item on the chain is clearly a goal, and the last one is clearly a tactic. What about everything in the middle?

    Thanks in advance

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  6. JaneK
    November 28, 2013

    Great article. I am (and have always been) very confused by Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics. I’m still not clear, and as a middle aged marketer, I really need to get this sorted out!

    Does every person in the organisation set their own Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics, or is each associated with a certain level in the organisation? For example, as a digital marketing manager, am I setting my own Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics, or am I simply executing Tactics that comply with the Goals, Objectives, Strategies my Marketing Director and General Manager have set?

    The answer to the paragraph above may influence the relevance of the following comments. It seems to me that what is a tactic at a senior level of the organisation, can be a goal for a more junior member of the organisation. Is that possible? Or do the more senior members of the organisation not engage in setting tactics? If a Marketing Manager decides on tactics that include the development of a new Facebook page, is it possible that the Marketing Co-ordinator may have “Develop new Facebook page” as a goal, and then has to set Objectives, Strategies and Tactics at his/her level to launch that page? The Marketing Co-ordinator’s Strategies might include “Upgrade web site destination content” and Tactics might drill down to “Write new article on planning a better dinner party for the web site” and “Organise photo shoot for dinner party article” (BTW, I could still have the above examples of Strategies and Tactics incorrect, too.)

    Sorry – I have always been seriously confused by the above questions!

    • John Furgurson
      January 14, 2014

      As a tactical marketer, your goals and to-do list should come from the marketing strategy. That’s the short answer. Thanks for reading!

  7. TiredAdGal
    December 12, 2013

    Love this article because it reminds me of a client request we received a few years back for a “strategy”. We presented strategic recommendations only to be yelled at “Where are your strategies???!!!” Only then did I realize the SVP Marketing client wanted tactics. Cart. Meet Horse.

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    • John Furgurson
      January 14, 2014

      Thanks for reading!

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  16. Dirk
    December 8, 2014

    Thanks for giving a significant definition between strategies and tactics. There still webmasters who doesn’t have a better understanding of tactics vs strategies and I must say that reading this post will give webmasters better ideas and solutions for the success of their online marketing endeavors. Surely, this post will be helpful to them as it is to me. Thanks for posting an amazing analysis here!

  17. Vance
    March 23, 2015

    Awesome blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any discussion boards that cover
    the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be
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    • John Furgurson
      March 28, 2015

      There are some LinkedIn Groups that I’d recommend. Shoot me an email directly and I’ll give you the run-down on them. Thanks for reading!

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