In marketing, there’s often a temptation to cut corners and skip essential steps to save on costs. However, this approach doesn’t make sense if you want to view marketing as an investment rather than just an expense. To achieve marketing that genuinely adds value to your business, you need a carefully planned process. Only through a purposeful and structured planning process can you create marketing based on data, not just gut feelings or guesswork.
Who Needs a Tactical Plan, and Why Is It Important?
A tactical marketing plan serves two main purposes:
- Internal Planning and Action Mapping: It guides operational activities, helping everyone understand how each action, channel, or method affects the customer’s journey.
- Visualizing and Reporting: It enables the visualization and reporting of the plan to other stakeholders, such as the executive team or marketing partners.
The tactical plan is crucial for guiding marketing actions and tests, as it helps determine which channels or methods work best for a given target audience. Without a tactical plan, you risk drawing the wrong or misleading conclusions that can be detrimental to your business.
Example 1: Company A tested marketing on potential targeted audiences on Facebook and LinkedIn. After one month, they found that Facebook performed better, so they dropped LinkedIn from their marketing mix.
Example 2: Company B targeted potential customers on Facebook and LinkedIn as well. In both channels, they tested three different audience segments. After testing, they found Facebook more effective. Later, they targeted the convincing phase audience, which had already heard of the company. Surprisingly, they found that the LinkedIn audience was more receptive in this phase.
These fictional examples illustrate the importance of a tactical plan in making informed decisions. Unplanned testing and marketing decisions without a tactical plan can lead to incorrect or costly conclusions.
A tactical plan is also valuable for justifying actions and decisions to, for instance, the executive team or for instructing marketing partners based on the tactical plan. This approach ensures that all activities are aligned to serve common goals.
Marketing Funnel as the Basis for Tactical Planning
There are numerous ways to visualize and understand the planning process. Still, the marketing funnel provides a versatile foundation for tactical planning. It offers flexibility and helps understand different phases of the customer’s journey. It is also widely used and understood, making it easy for the receiver to interpret.
How the Planning Process Works
The planning process involves the following steps:
- Integrating Sales and Marketing Funnels
- Defining Contact Points in the Marketing Funnel
- Selecting Appropriate Channels for Each Phase
Distinguishing Tactical Plans from Strategic Plans
It’s crucial to differentiate between strategic and tactical planning in the marketing process. The strategic level defines marketing objectives and guidelines, while the tactical level specifies the means to achieve these objectives. Here are a few examples of the differences between strategic and tactical planning:
- Strategic Goal: Find the optimal target audience.
- Tactical Action: Targeted marketing and A/B testing in specific channels.
- Strategic Goal: Increase e-commerce sales.
- Tactical Action: Retargeting visitors who have already visited the e-commerce site.
- Strategic Goal: Generate B2B leads for sales.
- Tactical Action: Targeted content marketing supported by retargeting for convincing-stage leads.
Do You Practice Marketing Without a Tactical Plan?
Every marketing action, channel, and ad should align with strategic objectives. Tactical plan plays an essential role in this. Joint goals and contact points between marketing and sales are vital for the success of marketing and the organization.
The lack of a tactical plan can lead to unnecessary costs and inefficient marketing efforts that fail to realize their full potential. However, with the right planning process, you can revamp your marketing efforts to achieve more and better results.
If you’re looking for insights to support your marketing planning process, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can explore tools to aid your development.