Marketing: The difference between Strategy vs. Tactics vs. Tactical Planning

what is the difference between strategy, tactics, and tactical planning?

The Strategy is the “why” and “what.”

The tactical plan is the “who” and “when.”

The tactics are the “how” and “where.”


If you would rather watch the youtube video that describes strategy vs. tactics vs. tactical planning…


Think of it like this, in a military context.

In IRAQ, the strategy might be: We’re going to re-capture Mosul, Iraq back from ISIS rebels to reestablish peace to the region and to the Iraqi people because it’s part of the mission of the United States to follow through on our commitments made by past Presidential administrations. It also ties into important promises, and long-held values we hold dear in the United States to bring peace in the middle east.

This is the story, theme, ideas, comms and messaging, tone, voice and more.



The example mission tactical plan: is the cadence (schedule), composition, and measurements for success for releasing certain tactics. What is the formation of our infantry (what are the entry points for the attack), at what point in time does each group commence marching into the city and begin the push of ISIS forces out of the city. What does that schedule look like over time?, what is the composition of the infantry (are half of the men Iraqi police forces, 30% NATO, and 20% American)?

Success = Iraqi forces control 100% of the city.  IT’s going to cost us $X dollars and executed in Y Phases. And we should start on October 30th 2020.

This is the overall plan, the editorial/content calendars, the budget, the media schedule.



The tactics: are the how we go about reaching the who and where (including the tools/techniques we’ll use).E.g. Using a combination of trained Iraqi police forces,  intel on enemy movements in the area, flanking infantry groups, air support, translation teams, and re-established supply routes as we (at certain locations) to execute the tactical plan.

This is the selecting of tactics, aka the disciplines or channels. Paid, SEO, TV, print/collateral. It’s one of the sections that will change the most as you execute and learn. You’ll need to adjust in real time.


Building the strategy is the combining of these details (created in no specific order) in a centralized fashion (a presentation, document, whatever).



If you have any comments and suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out…

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This is an excerpt from Episode 6 of the Bruce show: On Youtube – Theme = How to create a digital marketing plan in six steps.