Why Strategy Before Tactics is Needed in Digital Marketing for SMEs

Here is one of my favourite quotes from Sun Tze from The Art of War which I think applies particularly well when applied to digital marketing for SMEs:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
In marketing, especially when a business has limited resources, strategy must always come before tactics.

Strategy is the conceptualised roadmap that guides long-term vision and goal. It defines future direction, sets the framework and defines top-level resource allocation.

A tactic is an action you take to execute the strategy. It is a technique, tool or method you will employ to obtain a ‘measurable result’.

In marketing terms, a marketing strategy is a master plan that aligns directly with your revenue targets, marketing objectives, long-term vision, ethics and business goals. 

Marketing tactics often involve generating leads, advertising, sales promotions, and other activities that directly support your strategic marketing plan. 

Marketing strategy and tactics are interdependent and employed in combination.  

Strategy Before Tactics in Digital Marketing

In digital marketing, the concept still applies. You must first craft a digital marketing strategy that aligns with your offline business strategy and goals.
Subsequently, strategy determines your digital marketing tactics such as search engine optimisation, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing or paid advertising.
A good start to thinking about digital marketing strategy is our “Strategy, Traffic & Conversions” formula that will guide you to develop a digital marketing plan. You can read about it here.

To learn more about the digital marketing formula for SMEs, check out highlights on a master class we conducted recently.

Watch Highlights of the SME Digital Marketing Master Class

To learn more about SME digital marketing strategy, request for FREE ACCESS to watch highlights from a recent masterclass we presented.

In this in-depth online masterclass, you will learn:

    • The Digital Marketing Overview
    • Challenges SMEs Face in Digital Marketing
    • How SMEs Should Approach Digital Marketing
    • The Strategy, Traffic & Conversions Formula
    • The Digital Marketing Funnel
    • A Digital Marketing Roadmap
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J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 12 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing, and analytics. J C holds a Bachelor of Arts from National University of Singapore and is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse". He has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938, and Money FM 89.3.