Understanding Tactical vs Strategic Planning (Plus Examples)

tactical vs strategic

Understanding Tactical vs Strategic Planning (Plus Examples)

In business, getting an official document that outlines a business’s core activities, objectives, and roadmap to achieving its goals is important. Stating clearly what to do and how to do it is at the core of attaining success.

Planning in business covers the “what’ When’ and ‘Why’. And, can be done in two ways – strategic and tactical. While both are crucial for achieving long-term goals, they differ significantly in their scope, timeframe, and level of detail.

Understanding the distinction between these two planning approaches is essential for businesses to effectively adapt to the dynamic market world. This article explores Tactical vs strategic planning and lists key differences between the two alongside examples.

What is Tactical Planning?

Tactical planning is the process of developing and implementing specific action plans to achieve the goals set in the strategic plan. It is a short-term planning process that typically covers a period of one to three years.

They are generally more detailed than strategic planning and possess key elements like

Goals, actions, resources, timelines, and measurement. A tactical plan ensures businesses are on track to achieve their long-term goals.

Tactical planning is typically the responsibility of middle managers, while strategic planning is the responsibility of senior executives. Generally, businesses with tactical plans enjoy improved focus and alignment.

It also helps them to identify and eliminate inefficiencies in the organization’s processes.  Tactical planning can help to reduce risk by identifying and mitigating potential problems.

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is a process that organizations use to define their strategic direction and make decisions on how to allocate their resources to achieve their strategic goals.

It is a high-level process that involves setting the organization’s short-term and long-term goals, as well as identifying the strategies that will be used to achieve those goals.

A good strategic plan should include key elements like mission, vision, and values. It must also include strategic goals, strategic initiatives, resource allocation, and performance measurement.

Companies with effective strategic planning enjoy increased agility, enhanced communication, and collaboration.

Related Article: What Is Enterprise in Business? Types and Enterprise Risks

What is the Difference between Strategy and Tactics in Planning?

The difference between strategy and tactics is a fundamental concept in planning and decision-making. While they are both important for achieving goals, they serve different purposes and have different time horizons.

While strategy is a high-level plan that defines the overall direction and objectives of an organization or individual, Tactics are the specific actions and activities that are undertaken to achieve the goals outlined in the strategy.

Basically, Strategy is long-term and spans over years or even decades but Tactics is short-term and focuses on achieving specific objectives within a defined period.

The table below summarizes the key differences between strategy and tactics:

ScopeHigh-level, overarchingSpecific, focused
TimeframeLong-term (years or decades)Short-term (months or quarters)
PurposeDefine overall direction and objectivesImplement specific actions to achieve goals
Level of detailBroad, generalDetailed, specific
ExamplesExpanding into a new market, developing a new product line, diversifying revenue streamsLaunching a marketing campaign, hiring new employees, implementing a new software system

How Do you go from Tactical to Strategic Planning?

To successfully transition from tactical to strategic planning, you must embrace a shift in mindset. Strategic planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.

So, it requires continuous evaluation, adaptation, and alignment with the organization’s evolving needs and aspirations. To go from short-term planning to long-term planning in business, follow the steps below:

#1. Understand the difference between tactics and strategy

You must first grasp the distinction between tactical and strategic planning. Tactics are the specific actions taken to achieve short-term goals, while strategy is the overarching plan that defines the organization’s long-term direction and objectives.

#2. Develop a clear vision and mission:

Define your organization’s purpose, core values, and long-term aspirations. This will provide a foundation for strategic planning and decision-making.

#3. Conduct a thorough assessment:

Analyze your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This will help identify areas for improvement and potential strategic initiatives.

#4. Set SMART goals

 Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that align with your organization’s vision and mission. These goals should be challenging yet attainable within a defined timeframe.

#5. Prioritize and align tactics

Evaluate your current tactical plans and ensure they are aligned with the strategic goals you have set. Prioritize tasks that contribute to achieving the overall objectives.

#6. Empower and delegate

Delegate responsibilities to team members and empower them to make decisions within their scope of authority. This will free up your time to focus on strategic planning and direction.

#7. Establish performance metrics

Define clear metrics to track progress and measure the effectiveness of your strategic initiatives and tactical plans. Regularly review these metrics to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed.

#8. Communicate effectively

Clearly communicate your organization’s strategic plan to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors. This will foster understanding, engagement, and support.

#9. Continuously review and adapt

Regularly review your strategic plan and make adjustments as needed in response to changing market conditions, internal developments, or new opportunities.

What is an example of Strategy vs Tactic Planning?

As earlier established, strategic planning focuses on long-term goals while tactical planning focuses on short-term goals. To further clarify these two business planning terms, see these examples below:

Example 1

Goal: A  company that wants to increase its sales by 10% in the next quarter

Strategic planning will include

  • Increase brand awareness: Conduct a marketing campaign to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience.
  • Improve customer service: Enhance customer service interactions to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Expand product line: Introduce new products or services to attract new customers and increase sales.

While tactical planning highlights

  • Launch a social media campaign: Create engaging social media content to promote the company’s products or services and reach a wider target audience.
  • Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system: Utilize a CRM system to track customer interactions, identify sales opportunities, and improve customer service.
  • Develop a new product prototype: Research and develop a new product prototype that aligns with market trends and customer needs.

Example 2 Tactical vs Strategic Planning in Details

Goal: Increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter.


  • Increase organic search traffic by 10%.
  • Increase social media traffic by 5%.
  • Increase referral traffic by 5%.

Strategic Plan;

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Research relevant keywords and incorporate them into website content.
    • Optimize website structure and navigation for search engines.
    • Build high-quality backlinks to the website.
  • Content Marketing
    • Create engaging and informative blog posts, articles, and videos.
    • Share content on social media and other relevant channels.
    • Promote content through email marketing and other outreach efforts.
  • Social Media Marketing
    • Develop a strong social media presence on relevant platforms.
    • Share engaging and shareable content.
    • Engage with followers and run social media contests.
  • Paid Advertising
    • Run targeted online advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and social media.
    • Retarget website visitors to increase conversions.

Tactical Plan

Month 1

  • SEO:
    • Conduct keyword research.
    • Optimize website titles and meta descriptions.
    • Submit website to search engines.
  • Content Marketing:
    • Create and publish 2 blog posts.
    • Share content on social media.
    • Promote content through email marketing.
  • Social Media Marketing:
    • Create engaging social media posts.
    • Run a social media contest.
    • Increase social media engagement.
  • Paid Advertising:
    • Set up a Google Ads campaign.
    • Retarget website visitors with Facebook ads.

See this article: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: The Importance of Teamwork

Month 2

  • SEO:
    • Continue optimizing website for search engines.
    • Build backlinks to the website.
  • Content Marketing:
    • Create and publish 2 blog posts and 1 infographic.
    • Share content on social media and other relevant channels.
    • Promote content through email marketing.
  • Social Media Marketing:
    • Continue creating engaging social media posts.
    • Host a Twitter chat.
    • Run a social media contest.
  • Paid Advertising:
    • Optimize Google Ads campaign.
    • Increase Facebook ad budget.

Month 3

  • SEO:
    • Monitor website traffic and rankings.
    • Make adjustments to SEO strategy as needed.
  • Content Marketing:
    • Create and publish 2 blog posts and 1 video.
    • Share content on social media and other relevant channels.
    • Promote content through email marketing.
  • Social Media Marketing:
    • Continue creating engaging social media posts.
    • Run a social media giveaway.
    • Host a social media event.
  • Paid Advertising:
    • Continue optimizing Google Ads campaign.
    • Explore other paid advertising platforms.

Read: Business Investment Strategies: Types and Factors to Consider

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between tactical and strategic planning?

Tactical planning is the process of developing specific action plans to achieve the goals set in the strategic plan. Strategic planning is the process of setting long-term goals and identifying key strategies to achieve those goals.

Who is responsible for tactical and strategic planning?

Tactical planning is typically the responsibility of middle managers, while strategic planning is the responsibility of senior executives.

How often should tactical and strategic plans be reviewed?

Tactical plans should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are still relevant and achievable. Strategic plans should be reviewed less frequently, typically every two to five years.

Why is both tactical and strategic planning important?

Tactical planning ensures that the strategies outlined in the strategic plan are effectively implemented. Strategic planning provides a roadmap for the organization’s future and helps to ensure that all resources are aligned with the organization’s goals.


Strategic and tactical planning are two essential components of achieving long-term goals. Understanding the key differences between strategy and tactics is fundamental to effective planning.

By aligning tactical plans with strategic goals, businesses can increase their chances of achieving their long-term objectives. This article provides a guide on tactical vs strategic planning transition.


  • Hubspot.Blog  – Strategic vs. Tactical Planning: The What, When, & Why
  • – What is Planning? definition, characteristics, step
  • – Strategic vs Tactical Planning: Definitions and Differences

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