There are a lot of disputes going on around the meaning of the two words: Strategy and Tactics and how to differentiate them. Today I will try to give a clearer understanding of these words, by showing differences and providing some examples.
It is very important to mention that a strategy cannot be separated from tactics as well as tactics can not exist without a strategy. Basically, a strategy itself can be alone, however without a tactics it will not be possible to accomplish a strategic objective. Imagine a small box inside the bigger one. A small box is tactics and the bigger one – strategy. It is impossible to place a small box in big one without actually making the big one exist. In other words, strategy creates a framework for actions and tactics determines these actions to satisfy the strategy.
First of all, a strategy has to be formulated and it has to answer a question WHAT has to be done using strategic objectives (Sage). After it is done, tactics will answer a question HOW it will be achieved (Owyang).
Strategy not only has longer duration compared to tactics but also tactical elements can be changed frequently, due to any market conditions, whereas strategy tends not to change for a long time (Owyang). There is a great example given by Gadi Shamia, explaining how flexible tactics can be because of the different effects on the market. I will give my own example using Gadi’s thoughts.
Let’s imagine that a company created a website with its product there and their strategy is: To connect with customers browsing the website and to increase online sales. In this scenario, tactics will be different depending on the period of time. Nowadays it would obviously be using online chat, WhatsApp and Skype to talk to online customers. Around 10 years ago, it would be e-mail support. And going back for 15 years – just having a phone number on the website.
To sum up, strategy and tactics are interdependent. Choosing a proper strategy predetermine the success of the business. Furthermore, strategy without tactics will not be successful as strategic objectives will not be accomplished, as strategy answers a question WHAT has to be done and tactics HOW it will be done. Finding a “golden mean” between these meanings will not only lead your business to success, but also will help to win a race among those companies that are not able to distinguish the differences between strategy and tactics.
- Owyang, Jeremiah. “The Difference between Strategy and Tactics.” Web Strategy by Digital Business The Difference between Strategy and Tactics Comments. Jeremiah Owyang, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2016. <http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2013/01/14/the-difference-between-strategy-and-tactics/>.
- Sage, Shannon. “Examples of Strategic Objectives.” OnStrategy. Shannon Sage, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Sept. 2016. <http://onstrategyhq.com/resources/examples-of-strategic-objectives/>.
- Jackson, Ted. Digital image. Balanced Scorecard Software from ClearPoint Strategy. Ted Jackson, 15 Mar. 2015. Web. 19 Sept. 2016. <https://www.clearpointstrategy.com/top-20-business-strategy-thought-leaders/>.
- Shamia, Gadi. “The Difference between Strategy and Tactics.” Review. Web log post. Web Strategy by Digital Business The Difference between Strategy and Tactics Comments. Jeremiah Owyang, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2016. <http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2013/01/14/the-difference-between-strategy-and-tactics/#comment-768098162>.