So today we are talking about the difference between Strategy and Tactic. In order to achieve a specific goal, like reaching the destination X in the below picture, we have to choose a combination of strategy and tactic, like choosing the strategy of taking the river, not climbing the hill or crossing the desert, and the tactic of using a boat, not swimming.
First, for further understanding of these two concepts, we’d better learn some background information about them. According to wikipedia.com, both words come from Greek: strategy is στρατηγία, with meaning “art of troop leader, office of general, command, generalship”, tactic is τακτική, with meaning “art of arrangement”. They are widely used in military, chess, sports and business contexts.
Second, why we need to make both strategical and tactical plan? Because both of them are the metrics of success when we want to achieve our vision. Many entities have declaimed that they had carried out a social media strategy, but most of them are failure. Why? Because they mixed up these two concepts, they actually lacked one of them. For example, to have a presence on Facebook and post some updates are just a tactic not a strategy, and rolling out an enterprise social network to improve collaboration is also not a strategy. With out one of them, just like a chair has 4 legs and you only keep 2 there are chances it will collapse.
Furthermore, considering many people are easily confusing with these two concepts, we’d better to list the important differences between them.
|Purpose||To identify clear broader goals that advance the overall organization and organize resources.||To utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission.|
|Roles||Individuals who influence resources in the organization. They understand how a set of tactics work together to achieve goals.||Specific domain experts that maneuver limited resources into actions to achieve a set of goals.|
|Accountability||Held accountable to overall health of organization.||Held accountable to specific resources assigned.|
|Scope||All the resources within the organizations, as well as broader market conditions including competitors, customers, and economy.||A subset of resources used in a plan or process. Tactics are often specific tactics with limited resources to achieve broader goals.|
|Duration||Long Term, changes infrequently.||Shorter Term, flexible to specific market conditions.|
|Methods||Uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication.||Uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams.|
|Outputs||Produces clear organizational goals, plans, maps, guideposts, and key performance measurements.||Produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, time.|
Finally, I will use a example to describe how I apply these two concepts in business context. Last year, 2013, my former company decided to continually attend the “double 11” Online Big Sale, organized by Alibaba–the biggest IPO company in NY Stock Market in this month–on tmall.com on Nov 11. After analyzing last year’s data and predicting the trend in 2013 statistically, we set the goal of sales revenue at 15 millions RMB and cellphone sale volume at 15,000 on that single day. Based on the data and analysis, the strategy we chose was focusing on the exiting users’ smartphone change demand, different with last year’s new users acquisition plan. In order to achieve the goal, we designed several tactics, for example, to gain the enough traffics–in fact we needed at least 1,500,000 visitors, almost 100 times as normal time–we set the price of just launched iPhone5S to 1 RMB, with limited quantities of course; to gain the sale volume, we gave our exiting users a 100RMB additional limited-time e-coupon to specified smartphone; to acquire the new customer, we put out a limited-time plan with additional 500M data; to guarantee the in-time delivery, we asked our courier partner to prepare 50 staff and 4 trucks waiting outside our garage. With these strategy,tactics and resources, we finally achieved around 20 millions RMB revenue and 20,000 sale volume.
So you might have your own understanding of these concepts, or your own cases, please leave your comments.