Strategy vs. Tactics: What’s Driving Your Marketing Plan?

 In Partnering for Growth

Is your marketing team looking to create that one new flyer to accelerate growth within a local facility? If so, it may be time to apply a new lens to your marketing strategy.

In the dynamic world of healthcare marketing, two terms often come up in discussions: tactics and strategy. While they are closely related and both crucial for success, understanding their differences can significantly impact how healthcare organizations approach their outreach to the communities and providers you serve. Let’s delve into what sets marketing tactics apart from marketing strategy and why both are essential for a well-rounded marketing plan.

 

way finding signage with arrows pointing toward various marketing tactics

Defining Marketing Tactics

Marketing tactics are the specific actions, techniques or steps implemented to achieve short-term goals. These are the hands-on, practical maneuvers that marketers use to execute a broader strategy. Tactics can include social media campaigns, email newsletters, printed brochures, website updates and more. The key characteristic of tactics is their immediate applicability and direct impact on reaching intended audiences.

 

Map graphic for marketing strategy

Characteristics of Marketing Strategy

In contrast, marketing strategy refers to an overarching plan designed to achieve long-term goals. It involves analyzing competitors, identifying intended audiences and understanding how to best reach them, developing personas and the journey towards brand engagement, brand differentiation, and outlining the overall strategic direction of marketing efforts.

Strategy is more about the “big picture” – it guides decision-making across various channels and campaigns. A good strategy is data-driven and aligns marketing activities with business objectives, ensuring consistency, coherence and longevity in messaging and brand positioning both internally and externally. According to McKinsey & Company, organizations that integrate data analytics into their marketing plans overwhelmingly outperform their competitors.

Extensive Users of Customer Analytics Outperforming Their Competition: Profit 126%, Sales 131%, Sales Growth 186%, ROI 132%

The Relationship Between Tactics and Strategy

While tactics and strategy are distinct, they’re certainly interdependent. Effective marketing strategy informs the choice of tactics, ensuring that each tactic contributes to achieving the larger strategic goals. For example, if a hospice organization’s strategy is to increase brand awareness among African American family caregivers over the age of 45 in a southern, rural market, the tactics chosen might include targeted Facebook digital advertisements, media placements on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and the creation of engaging content designed to resonate with that demographic. Although both strategy and tactics are necessary to implement a successful marketing plan, it’s imperative that the strategy is in the driver’s seat.

Why Both Matter

Imagine you’re going on a cross-country road trip and a paper map is your only form of guidance. Mapping out your path from point A to point B and planning the stops along the way to get you there is the equivalent of your strategy. The stops you make at hotels, gas stations, restaurants and Instagrammable landmarks are your tactics that are key to making the journey worthwhile. Both are needed to make the trip successful and enjoyable (especially if traveling with kids).

Without a clear healthcare marketing strategy, tactics can be disjointed and ineffective, potentially leading to wasted resources and missed opportunities. You can develop every piece of collateral that comes to mind and post three times per day on social media (please don’t!) – but if it lacks a cohesive strategy, it will not yield the desired results.

Although both strategy and tactics are necessary to implement a successful marketing plan, it’s imperative that the strategy is in the driver’s seat

On the other hand, a well-crafted marketing strategy without effective tactics lacks actionable steps to achieve its goals. Organizations need both to thrive in competitive markets – a robust strategy provides direction and purpose, while well-executed tactics bring that strategy to life and drive measurable results.

So, what’s next?

By carefully integrating both elements, organizations can maximize their marketing efforts, build brand equity, and ultimately achieve long-term success by meeting patients, families and referral sources exactly where they are sooner and more effectively.

Understanding how tactics and strategy work together empowers marketers and growth leaders to make informed decisions, adapt to changing trends, and create impactful campaigns that resonate with their audience. By striking the right balance between strategy and tactics, healthcare organizations can position themselves strategically, adapt to market dynamics, and achieve sustainable growth in their industries.

The team at Transcend Strategy Group consists of experts with extensive home-based care marketing experience and we are here to support your growth needs. If you’re interested in developing a data-driven marketing strategy or seeking an experienced strategic partner, let’s have a conversation hello@transcend-strategy.com.

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