Marketing and Branding Goals vs. Strategies vs. Objectives vs. Tactics

Marketing and Branding Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics
Do you understand the differences when it comes to marketing and branding goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics?

There has always been confusion in marketing and branding circles as to not only the differences among goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics, but how they relate to—and are dependent on—each other. It’s important to understand those distinctions and relationships, as they’re key to developing a comprehensive, measurable, and attainable marketing and branding plan for your organization.


A goal is a broadly defined, observable, and desired end result. Goals are focused on the big picture and are usually associated with several objectives, but aren’t necessarily measurable. They are “whats,” not “hows.” Examples:

  • Elevate the brand by demonstrating thought leadership in the IT services industry
  • Improve profits by putting more promotional efforts into higher-margin products
  • Increase market share in the distribution and logistics space


A strategy is the overarching method or methods used to attain a goal, such as brand advocacy, market leadership, or customer preference. Strategies often focus on the approaches the company will use to persuade prospects to purchase its products or services and usually involve SWOT and/or PEST analyses. Strategies are “hows,” not “whats.” Examples:

  • Publish educational, entertaining videos on YouTube to drive targeted website traffic
  • Align the marketing, sales, and service teams to focus on improving customer experience
  • Develop a downloadable interactive tool to foster long-term engagement with customers


An objective is a measurable step that’s taken to implement a strategy. It can be a desired achievement or something that is desired to be avoided. Objectives are specific, actionable, realistic, measurable, and time-based. They are “whats,” not “hows.” Examples:

  • Increase our website lead-to-sales conversion rate from 9% to 12% within six months
  • Reduce the average customer acquisition cost from $187 to $165 by year end
  • Grow customer lifetime value from $32,000 to $50,000 within three years


A tactic is an action or a tool that’s used to accomplish an objective that’s linked to a strategy. Tactics are typically the various actions you take on a daily or weekly basis. They are “whats,” not “hows.” Examples:

  • Publish a content marketing campaign featuring white papers, blog posts, and videos
  • Participate on social media via LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Apply the latest search engine optimization best practices to our new website

A final thought: “A sound strategy starts with having the right goal.” ~Michael Porter