Tactical vs Strategic Measurement: What’s the Difference & Why You Should Care

February 16, 2023: Let’s just start with a quick definition.

Strategy = Plan

Tactics = Actions

This is a bit of a facepalm definition, and it feels obvious.  That said, I often struggle with customer engagements where the lines between tactics and strategy are murky and ill-defined.  

Here’s an example.

“I’m data driven, and we need to measure everything.”

Statements like this are often listed as the strategic measurement objectives for an organization, while in actuality they are a bucketing of similar tactics with no clear objective.  It’s for this reason that so many organizations get bogged down in effort and cost in their data practices and are able to show clear results when asked.

The easiest way to show that a perceived strategy is actually a bunch of tactics is to respond with a one word question: “Because?”  The inability to clearly answer this question is indicative of a lack of real strategy, and therefore a lack of alignment to key value drivers for the organization.

With that in mind, here’s another example.

“Our entire business revolves around creating long lasting relationships with our clients and increasing the number of transactions and dollars they contribute on a yearly basis.  Our goal for measurement is to collect any and all data that helps us understand and improve customer lifetime value (LTV).”

Now we’ve got a strategy.  

A clearly defined business objective with a focus on the types of tactics that it will take to accomplish it.  While this strategy is currently based on data collection and reporting, it can easily evolve over time into a marketing and analytics strategy.  Data being captured and connected for reporting creates the required foundations for successful data driven marketing initiatives.

Let’s update that strategic example to incorporate marketing.

“Our entire business revolves around creating long lasting relationships with our clients and increasing the number of transactions and dollars they contribute on a yearly basis. We want to capture and understand all required data to understand LTV by customer segment, and then use that data to run messaging and personalization campaigns to grow LTV by 20%”

This is the kind of data driven strategy that an entire organization can get behind, align on, and win with in 2023.

A big part of the reason why organizations conflate tactics and strategy when it comes to data is a lack of executive sponsorship.  It takes senior leadership to pick a point on the horizon and move the company in that direction, and often those leaders forget that data needs to be a key component of their planning.  Most times when I see a ‘bundle of tactics’ plan it comes from a member of the client org who isn’t senior enough to define true strategy but has been tasked with owning data.

While a purely tactical approach to data still has the ability to generate wins for your business, they will be happenstance rather than deliberate.  Organizations that have a data strategy, especially one that is designed to evolve into a marketing and data strategy are positioned to survive and thrive in the next few years.

 

Cheers,

Jim

 

Curious about data strategy and tactics in your business?  Want some advice on how to both approach and implement a marketing and data strategy?  Napkyn’s team is here to help.

Latest Articles

Preserving Historical Data From Universal Analytics: Strategies and Limitations

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital analytics, the preservation of historical data from Universal Analytics is paramount for organizations...

Shreya Banker, Data Scientist February 29, 2024

How to Navigate Cookie Deprecation: Strategies for Comprehensive User Insights - Part 1

In the evolving landscape of digital marketing, the impending deprecation of third-party cookies presents a significant challenge. However, amidst...

Monika Boldak February 26, 2024

Navigating the Digital Landscape: Google's Consent Mode Implementation Guide and the March 2024 Enforcement

Understanding Google Consent Mode:

Google Consent Mode is a powerful tool designed to tackle the challenges posed by evolving privacy regulations...

Monika Boldak & Ricardo Cristofolini February 12, 2024

January GA4 & Google Updates

Key Product Changes for Existing Consent Mode in 2024

Ricardo Cristofolini February 7, 2024

Curious about data strategy and tactics in your business

Want some advice on how to both approach and implement a marketing and data strategy?  

Graphics