Marketing 101: Goals, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics

“We help develop strategy. … “Tell me your objective?” …” “What are your advertising goals” … “Here’s a list of tactics you can pick.” I can’t help but wince when people—especially people in the marketing communications business—indiscriminately throw around the terms goals, objectives, strategies and tactics without considering their true meaning. Each of these words means something specific to a company that is selling goods or services. With very little effort anyone can understand the differences between these concepts and how they build on each other—and with this understanding will instantly become a savvier marketer.

In the busy day-to-day of operating a company in our fast-paced world, it’s easy to jump right to focusing on a marketing communications tactic—such as a website, brochure, media release or an ad—without considering the goals and strategies that said tactic is supposed to help fulfill. So, while it may seem elementary, let’s take a moment to define these terms:

Goals are broad statements about what a company or organization hopes to...