Goals, Strategy and Tactics in digital marketing

What is the difference between Goals, Strategy and Tactics in digital marketing and why is that important?

What we will cover

Is there a golden ticket?

Storm the castle or plan for success? A study from 2010 showed that companies grew 30% faster with a plan but for small business owners knowing where to invest time or even finding time to dedicate to the business is a real challenge.

We know, we are small business owners too, and all our clients amaze us with their skills in certain areas of running their businesses, like magpies we nab good ideas that work well for others and share their stories with our tribe.

So let me encourage you to be a digital magpie for a moment, our clients often come to us with a success story they have heard, some golden ticket viral campaign, or nugget of info that “newsletter is the highest converter, let’s do that”, or the blind hope that surely with a new design all my dreams will be answered.  

Perhaps it is, it’s certainly not my role to dampen any ambitions and the idea to trial “a new something” is certainly admirable, and may even win you rich rewards. 

However, experience tells me there’s a way to go about successful marketing, and you will not be delighted to hear that like everything else in your business it requires planning out. 

With marketing, to get the most from any activity involves developing empathy with your audience and meeting them on their terms with the best offer in your marketplace.

There’s a lot of work in that paragraph above. 

It is unlikely that by chance, your first campaign will be the right answer, in the right place at the right time. So how can you get the best from your digital marketing with so little time?

Enter: Goals, Strategy & Tactics

There, three dividing lines for your efforts. Let’s quickly explain:


A goal is an outcome, completely detached from doing anything, and should be aligned with a business goal or target. Want to increase turnover by 10% this year? Need x more leads for x product. What will you measure success by? 

Sounds really dumb and obvious but I am always surprised by the lack of clarity for so many small businesses, there was a goal when they started out, now they are just busy doing stuff.


This is the plan, not the doing, if I want to increase turnover by 10%, how do I best go about that, increase existing order value for my trade customers by £500? Gather 300 new clients this year?

It’s important to know, this line of thinking without being underpinned by a business goal will struggle to become a priority day to day.


The doing bit.  This could be, in order gather 300 new clients, I will invest in an Adwords campaign with a goal of getting 50 new leads a month. 

The key here is that you are now in a position to approach someone who does tactics with a measurable goal, you can share the goals and the plan and they have the experience to tell you if that is realistic. Goals, Strategy and Tactics in digital marketing is the balance you need to get the most from your efforts.

Does this sound blindingly easy and obvious?

Well, like everything, theory is fine and in practical terms there’s still a lot to do. 

Remember we haven’t even discussed empathy with your audience, this bit is all about you and people don’t buy from someone because that person wants to increase their turnover.

The key takeaway is that as a business owner, you want to be setting goals and targets. You see the marketplace, know your competitors, have entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to start implementing change. 

You need to start off at the beginning, not the end. Share your goal with your team, discuss the potential strategies to achieve it, and fill any tactical skills gaps with an external expert. 

If you need help defining or working with your Goals, Strategy and Tactics in your digital marketing then feel free to discuss the Tribe with us.

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