Business Strategy Monday–Strategy vs. Tactics


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(1) Strategy: The general thing you do to succeed

Our strategy is to provide great customer service.

(2) Tactics: The specific things you do.

We carefully hire associates and train them to make the customer happy.

(3) Timeless: Something that time doesn’t change.

A great story is timeless. It doesn’t matter when you’re born, you’ll enjoy it.



1. Which of these is a strategy?

a. Giving a credit card holder a special color card

b. Providing a fun setting for family dinners

c. Increase sales

2. Which of these is a tactic?

a. Letting an airline passenger sit in a special waiting room

b. Making customers feel important

c. Growing the customer base

3. Are game dynamics a strategy or a tactic?

a. Strategy

b. Tactic

c. Both

7 ________________________



chess piece

By Jeremy Schaar

So, what is strategy anyway?

This week on Stuart Mill English, I’m featuring game dynamics. Game dynamics are the things that make us want to keep playing games. They motivate us. In business, we can use game dynamics to motivate customers to do what we want them to do.

What does this have to do with business strategy? First, we should define what strategy is.

Strategy is the general description of the company’s plan.

Strategy is not a goal. A goal is something you want.

Strategy in not a tactic. A tactic is a very specific way of doing something.

Let’s look at two examples.

Example 1 Goal: Increase sales

Strategy: Go global

Tactic: Open an office in France

Example 2 Goal: Develop better products

Strategy: Take financial pressure off engineers

Tactic: Open a R&D center away from the main office

My favorite way to check if something is a strategy is to ask if it is timeless. Timeless just means that time doesn’t change it. We might say “our love is timeless” because it won’t change over time. In business, timeless strategies are just as good in 1813, 1913, and today. The strategy of expanding the places you sell will always be an option. 100 years ago, that might have meant moving to a new town. These days, maybe you start selling the product online. Those last two things–moving to a new town, starting online sales–are tactics.

So, how about game dynamics? Well, the dynamics themselves are timeless and therefore they can be a strategy. The specific way you use them is a tactic. For example, one game dynamic is “status”. Status is feeling important. For a company strategy, you might try to make customers feel important. That means to give them status. How you do that is a tactic. For example, airlines let people sit in a special waiting room. That’s a tactic.

Tomorrow, for Global Marketing Tuesday, I’ll talk about how game dynamics can be used to market a product.

Want to study Business English? Check out the main site for our lessons.

Want to learn more about strategy vs. tactics. Click here, here, or here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, A, A


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