Understanding Strategy and Tactics

Also See These Articles Related to "Small Business Advertising":

1. Marketing Mix
2. Effective Advertising

Many people think small business advertising is the same as marketing. In fact, advertising is only a small part of marketing.

If you've read my articles in the Marketing Strategy section of this website, you know that I consider Small Business Advertising Graphic marketing synonymous with strategy, and that every aspect of your business should be guided by that strategy.

All the ways you implement your strategy are tactics. Therefore, small business advertising is a tactic which is guided by your overall business strategy.

That is not to say that advertising has no strategy of its own. It does. Campaign concepts; media buying; creative direction; writing; art direction; these all require tactical strategy. But that tactical strategy always serves the purpose of supporting the larger company strategy. You might say strategy and tactics are strategically co-dependent.

Let’s define small business advertising as ‘any paid promotional message.’ The word ‘paid’ is important because it is a defining characteristic that separates advertising from public relations which is free.

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For instance, if your local community magazine features a story about you, that’s public relations. If they feature that story because you bought an ad in the magazine, it’s advertising.

It’s important to understand the distinction between small business advertising and public relations because it may be wise to have different tactical strategies for each.

Naturally, to choose the right tactics, it helps to have some understanding of them. You can enlist the help of a professional consultant or agency, or you can do some basic research yourself. T.V. stations, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines have free media kits they’re happy to send out if you call. These kits include information about ad sizes, rates, and technical specifications.

With all media outlets there are also salespeople (called ‘reps’) who will meet with you to discuss your plans and how they can help. Some will even design entire campaigns for you and in the case of T.V. and radio stations, you may get free production services depending on the amount of advertising time you buy. Be sure to ask about that.

But beware, these campaigns will not be based on strategy. Each particular ad (tactic) may be clever, or interesting, Small Business Advertising but remember that it’s essential their design and execution be an outgrowth of your larger business strategy.

Also, remember ad rates are always negotiable. See if you can get a first-time advertiser’s rate, or a frequency discount. Also, ask for the agency discount. This is a discount (usually about 15%) given to ad agencies who place ads with certain media outlets.

Bear in mind that it is possible to have a business strategy that does not include advertising as a tactic at all. In fact, no paid advertising can be a strategy of its own.

The important thing to remember is that marketing (strategy) is not the same as small business advertising (tactics), but they are strategically co-dependent.

For better understanding, be sure to explore the related articles on this site and, if appropriate, get professional advice.

-by Andrew Sokol
Andrew Sokol is a Business and Marketing Strategist.
He is also the publisher of this website.
Andrew is available for private consulting and public speaking.
He can be reached by clicking Contact Us.


1. Marketing Mix
2. Effective Advertising

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