If there is ever a time to be marketing your brand, it’s now. Especially if you’re a business that has been temporarily closed. Marketing helps to tell stories, right now, see this as a moment to invest ‘time’ back into the brand. Often marketing gets the backburner as a lot of us get stuck into the daily grind of working in the business instead of on it. Though as we always say, if you don’t communicate to people who you are and what you’re about, people won’t know about your brand or they make their own assumptions about it.
But before we go pushing random content to market, it’s important to make sure there is an overarching goal. In this blog we’re going to break down the difference between strategic and tactical marketing, and how you can understand it better to plan it to your advantage.
A quick rundown on branding vs. marketing
Do you know the difference? Because if you don’t understand, I reckon you should have a read of our past blog ‘Do you know the difference between branding and marketing. But for those who can’t be bothered, the quick answer is branding is your foundation – who you are. Marketing is how you translate messages to market – the communication.
Put simply, branding builds loyalty and marketing gets sales.
The two work together in synergy.
Now the difference between strategic and tactical marketing
Now that you have a brief understanding of the difference between branding and marketing, we can move into the difference of strategic and tactical messages.
- A strategic message is the idea. The ones that align to the overarching brand and its goals.
- A tactical message is the execution. The tactics you use to achieve those goals.
Your branding will never change. Your marketing should always change, or be tweaked.
Strategic marketing communicates a brand message – the why and how. For instance: what you do, how you started, why you exist, your purpose, your processes, your people, your difference etc. Strategic marketing helps you to achieve a goal like establishing a niche target market, building brand recognition or cementing brand positioning.
This type of marketing isn’t for a quick win, it’s the ongoing, repetition and consistent message informing your audience about your brand in order to build those above important metrics.
These are the messages that have positioned Apple to where they are today. It isn’t about the discount, in fact Apple don’t discount. It’s about the ‘feeling’ you get when you have an Apple product and the ‘association’ that comes with it. There is a reason Apple and Samsung fans argue. Unknowingly to them, it’s not the product they’re arguing about, even though they think it is, it’s their internal motivators and what shapes them as people. It goes beyond the product itself and offends the very core of the person who made the choice in product. Cue consumer psychology, a story for another day.
Tactical marketing on the other hand is how you execute those messages – the what and where. They’re generally timelier and expire quicker. An example of tactical messages are ones that want you to take action.
To give you an example, let’s take a clothing store for instance. A tactical message would be one that attracts the audience’s attention – get 20% off, buy one get one free, occasional/seasonal promotions, share with a friend to win offers, etc.
Knowing the difference between the two helps you to establish a clear and precise approach to marketing and what you want to achieve from it.
Which brings us to our next point.
Create a marketing plan
This is where a good marketing plan comes in. Your marketing plan helps to establish which channels you want work with/ be on and the tactics you’re going to implement in order to communicate these messages.
What the actual heck does that mean?
Well, in layman’s terms, it goes like this:
- Build your brand strategy and overarching grand plan (check out our past blog ‘How strategy can make or break your brand’ here)
- Create your marketing plan to align with those goals
- In the marketing plan, include the mediums/channels that will help you in reaching your ideal market. Note: this isn’t just social media, we’re talking sponsorship, collaborations, print marketing, radio, speaking gigs, podcasts, paid ads etc (read ‘Why posting on social media isn’t a marketing strategy by Stevie Dillon here).
- Also include how you will execute these messages creatively *raises hand up in a shameless plug* in a range of different types of content (e.g print brochure, video, imagery).
- Track and measure results (if you can) and change plan accordingly
Your marketing plan can change all the time pending audiences, circumstances, occasions, channels and platforms etc. Your brand messages on the other hand, shouldn’t change at all.
Don’t get distracted
The biggest problem? Brands going straight to marketing without understanding the underlying strategy (plan). So, all the audience will see is confusing, disjointed collateral that has no overall meaning. Which leads to one thing – them ignoring and switching off because they can’t figure out what you’re trying to say. We don’t want to lose them folks, it’s hard to get them back!
Know what it is that you want to achieve and don’t be misguided by the clutter going on around you. ‘But [what’s his face] is doing this?’ we hear you say. Short answer to that – who cares. Your brand plan and direction won’t be the same, so don’t worry what they’re doing, their road map leads to a different destination.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things, especially when you see everyone else doing something and feel you should too. But here’s a hot tip, if everyone else is doing it, it’s trending, meaning you want to go in the complete opposite direction to not look like a ‘me too’ brand (aka a sheep). Focus on telling your own story, staying true to your vision and values, and building an engaging audience. Be patient, everything will fall into place.
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