Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 In most cases, marketing initiatives require multiple variations of testing before it can be ruled out. One single change can alter the outcome drastically. For example, the day/time you send an email blast can be huge.

So what do we do? Well, first we need to be clear about our goals. This way when we begin to develop a strategy or when we are creating a single campaign or piece of content, we can always check ourselves to ask, "Is this ___ supporting my main goal?" It will help avoid a lot of wasted time on potential projects that don't support the goal. Sometimes you have to know when to say no to efforts that are not the right move in the current state of your business.

Now, when I say "goal", I'm speaking in general terms, but it's important to break down and clear some confusion around the differences between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.



The easiest way to think of a goal is that it's the "What" not the "How". Goals are what you want to accomplish as a broad primary outcome. 

Example for a children's clothing brand, their "goal" might be: To be the preferred choice of organic cotton, casual children's clothing for suburban mothers in the United States. 

It doesn't matter if the goal is lofty. The point is to keep everyone in the company focused on efforts that support this main outcome.


Here is where we get a bit more realistic and measurable. Objectives outline necessary steps to achieve the primary goal. Think of objectives as actions, such as: increase, double, sell, deliver, convert.

Example for the same children's brand: Grow an email list of women ages 27 - 45 with children, who reside in suburban communities. 


A strategy is the "How" and also the "Why" when it comes to fulfilling the objectives that relate to the main goal. It's both because the strategy is speaking to what the approach will be and it's why you are taking it. Might be easier to understand in the example.

Example for the children's brand: Create authority and credibility via endorsements of the clothing brand and designs by collaborating with top mom bloggers and editors.


These are all the action items to be fulfilled in order to carry out the strategy that will meet objectives and support the main goal.

Example list of potential tactics for the children's brand as it relates to the overall goal, objective and strategy outlined above:

1. Compile list of potential bloggers and editors for outreach.

2. Coordinate a photoshoot to showcase product.

3. Design a visual representation of collection (potentially a digital lookbook).

4. Outreach to media with pitch, imagery and offer of physical samples (or actually provide).



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Happy Planning!