Strategies Are Better Than Tactics
Strategy and Tactics. On the surface, these words look like the same thing. The difference is very subtle, but the philosophy behind them is not.
To understand the important mindshift between using tactics and employing strategies, let’s first look at the definitions of each.
1. A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
2. a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
1. An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.
2. A way of doing things so as to be at an advantage.
What I see a lot of businesses doing is looking for the “magic bullet” — the one tactic or combination of tactics that will start pouring money in the door. Tactics are all about gaining an advantage from a short-term, low-effort fix. A specific action that works today, that will rig the system to get you on the first page of Google, or trick the system into giving you more than your competitors for your cleverness.
The problem is, on the battlefield of business, all the targets are moving targets. The tactics you used a couple of years ago might be completely irrelevant today.
There are no “set it and forget it” answers anymore.
Examples of short-term tactics that worked long ago, but now do more harm than good would be keyword stuffing, building backlinks on unrelated sites.
The mindset of employing tactics is“What can I do to get ahead today? How can I trick the system to pull ahead of my competitors?”
Tactics never work long-term, because the systems get smarter. Not only that, you’re aiming at the wrong target when you worry about systems over humans.
When someone talks you into redoing your site content to trick Google into ranking you higher, adding tons of spammy keywords, you may gain a few spots in the search results, but no humans visiting your site will take action! People are a lot smarter than machines, and they can smell the inauthenticity a mile away.
Why No One Employs Long-Term Strategies
Businesses shy away from long-term strategies because they require continuous, sustained effort. They take a long time to pay off. They are the antithesis of set it and forget it.
Strategies sound less appealing than tactics because everyone wants the instant payoff. We are conditioned to believe anything that doesn’t show results right away is a wasted effort. Essentially, we find it easier to quit than to commit. Even people that I respect the hell out of have struggled with quitting good things way too early.
But if you go down the list of people you admire and want to be like, I guarantee that 100% of them went all-in with long-term business strategies, and said “Fuck short-term tactics.”
Very few people go all-in with content strategy, because it takes a long time to build an audience for your words. But commitment to long-term content strategy is the only reason you are reading these words right now.
Every business is slightly different. But the potential payoffs for thinking and acting long-term are increased visibility, more qualified customers in your funnel, better insight about your customers and a healthier overall business.
It may require a shift in your whole business philosophy to move from simply fixing things to intentionally implementing strategies that you won’t see big results on right away. It’s a big leap of faith that most businesses will never take. And that’s exactly why you should take that leap yourself.