The Importance of Strategy and Tactics

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/05/12 •  5 min read

This morning I’m on the (not-so) snowy slopes of Vail, Colorado.  I’ll approve any comments as soon as I’m done 🙂

All too often I find myself looking for the magic bullet.

No, not in the grand scheme of things because we all know there is no magic bullet to life, love, or business. However on a smaller scale, I find myself on a fairly regular basis looking for that magic tactic that’s going to propel me to the next level.

Perhaps it’s new copywriting ideas for my email marketing, maybe it’s a new productivity app for my computer, or perhaps it’s something as simple as buying a new gadget.

I’m constantly looking for that tactic that will make life easier.

We all do it from time to time.  That’s why the world loves list blog posts.  Here’s 10 easy ways (tactics) to do blank.  They are easy to read, easy to write, and if even one of those 10 things seems interesting to you, the post was worth reading.

The problem with this is that tactics alone won’t propel your business forward.  You’ve gotta have a solid strategy in place to make the tactics worthwhile.

Maybe you learned that sharing a photo on Facebook results in 3 times as many clicks as a simple link. Ok, that’s cool, but if you don’t have a solid strategy behind it, then it means very little.  What types of photos are you going to share? If there’s a link included where will it take the reader?  How are you going to keep the reader interested and engaged once they look at the photo?  How are you going to keep them coming back from more?

Tactics are simple, but it’s the strategy that’s going to make things happen.

So what’s the difference? A tactic is a way of going about something. Email auto-responders are a tactic.  Tweeting is a tactic.  Emailing every new subscriber personally is a tactic.

A strategy is an overarching way of combining tactics to achieve an end result.  Tactics alone won’t show you the growth you need, and a strategy without well implemented tactics means nothing.

Bottom line, tactics without strategy will kill your business.

So how do you go about developing a killer strategy?

First, understand the why behind your goals.  In the comments of my last post about discipline, a lot of people mentioned how important it is to understand why you’re doing something.

Knowing the why will make your strategy much easier to develop.  It also allows you to ensure that your strategy is inline with your goals and the desired end result.

“Why do I want to make a six figure income this year?

So I can continue to travel without worrying much about money, and have the money to invest in projects that will allow me to help other people.”

Now that I know why I want to achieve that goal, I can ensure the strategy will be a compliment to that.  If my goal is to help other people, I wouldn’t implement a strategy that makes money by taking advantage of them.

Goal –>Why–>Strategy–>Tactics

Once you know the goal, and the why behind it you can start piecing together the components of your overarching strategy.  A mindmap is an excellent way to do this. Being able to visaualize and easily update your business or life strategy is incredibly valuable.

When you have a solid strategy in place, that’s when you start implementing the tactics, not before. Tactics will help you achieve your strategy, but not the other way around.

In the past I’ve relied far too heavily on tactics.  One person might give good advice about something that has worked for them, and so I’ll blindly implement it, not understanding the full reason why.

The best example of this are amateur marketers who look at the pros and hang on their every word. There’s a major flaw with this though – many of the biggest marketers are the sleaziest guys around.  The chances are their tactics will not work for you or me. Sure maybe an idea or two here or there could show some results, but over the long run, sleazy and spam filled marketing is a surefire way to lose your audience. You have to identify the strategy that works for you.

From there you need to understand which tactics fit in with your strategy, rather than blindly following something because someone told you it worked.  Testing and failure will become two of your best friends.

So now that you understand the importance of how strategy and tactics work together, how are you going to use that information to grow your business this year?

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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3 comments on "The Importance of Strategy and Tactics"

  1. You should have come to Telluride! We have the best conditions in Colorado right now!

    Also, this reminds me of something one of my friends said recently: “Resolutions are doomed to fail as the consequences are too delayed. Instead, set small, attainable goals with immediate consequences and build from there.”

    If you are still working on your overall strategy, small actionable steps in different areas of your life can help you develop that.

  2. Maria says:

    Hi Sean! You are nailing it in this post.

    Actually thinking about the why has one more special effect – it reduces the fear that you feel with a new goal. It makes you feel that it is OK to want to achieve that goal, or that you may actually deserve to achieve it!

    This is crucial because fear is something that can prevent you from pursuing a goal, so mitigating it will increase your chances of success! 😀

    As for shortcuts…humans are designed to look for them. As long as we don’t deter action waiting for a shortcut, looking for them is fine…because who knows? We may actually find one! 😉

    Happy New Year!

  3. Chris Fisher says:

    I think a great help for deciding a strategy is to visualize and outline the end product through a tool like a business plan. What do you want your situation to look like when you’ve succeeded? Many people have a vague goal and think they can wing it going forward. They start something and believe their project is too small or young for a detailed outline.

    At least I always have, and I’ve never been able to see things to fruition as a result. Had I sat down and crafted a plan from the beginning, I wouldn’t have stalled and looked around for my purpose so much.

    Also, love Risk!

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