Strategy stands the test of time, tactics evolve: The essence of marketing

16 April 2023

Marketing is a dynamic discipline that involves a constant process of adapting to the evolving needs and preferences of consumers in your respective market. However, the fundamental principles of marketing strategy remain largely unchanged, this is despite what social media commentators will have you believe at times. While tactics evolve to keep pace with technological advancements and trends, the core strategies driving these tactics seldom change.

Strategy is the one constant in marketing

At its core, marketing strategy is the comprehensive landscape that outlines the goals and objectives of an organisation’s marketing. The strategy involves identifying the target audience, defining the value proposition, and messaging (sometimes referred to as positioning), and determining the optimal mix of channels to achieve success.

The driving force behind any marketing strategy is human psychology. People have innate desires, needs, fears, and preferences that dictate their purchasing behaviours. These factors have remained unchanged throughout history, meaning the strategies that target these behaviours continue to be as effective today as they were fifty years ago.

The marketing field has witnessed monumental changes in tactics over many decades, but the fundamental principles of strategy remain the same. The 4Ps (and more latterly the 5Ps) (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place) introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy in the 1960s are still relevant today. These principles form the basis for all strategic marketing decisions and provide the foundation for developing successful marketing plans.

Tactics, the fluid layer in marketing

In contrast to strategy, tactics are the specific actions and tools employed to implement the marketing strategy. Tactics are fluid and can change in response to market trends, technological advancements, and evolving consumer preferences.

As technology continues to evolve, marketers must adapt their tactics to harness the power of new tools and platforms. For example, the rise of social media in the last 15 years has transformed the way businesses engage with their target audience, allowing for more personalised and interactive communications that build deeper relationships.

Consumer preferences are not static either, and businesses must remain agile to stay ahead of their competitors in the market. By continuously analysing market trends and adjusting their tactics accordingly, marketers will ensure they are delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Balancing Strategy and Tactics

The dichotomy between strategy and tactics in marketing illustrates the importance of balancing long-term planning with the agility to respond to the ever-changing landscape. While strategies remain constant, rooted in human psychology and timeless marketing principles, tactics must continuously evolve to keep pace with technological advancements and market trends.

The key to successful marketing lies in recognising the distinction between strategy and tactics. By developing a robust and enduring marketing strategy, businesses can create a solid foundation that will support their tactical decisions and whilst strategy doesn’t guarantee success, it will tip the odds in favour of success. 

At the same time, marketers must remain vigilant and adaptable, ready to employ new tactics that capitalise on emerging opportunities and address the evolving needs of their target audience.

If you’d like to talk about the brand in more detail and to understand how we can help you with your ability to connect meaningfully in a multigenerational world, then contact us at, call 01908 980 400 or leave a message here.