What Is a Tactical Plan in Marketing?


Tactical planning is closely related to strategic planning. Whereas the strategic plan outlines marketing's overall goals, the tactical plan defines how an organization will achieve those goals. Strategy comes first, but an organization must execute both plans correctly to succeed with its product. In addition, the tactical plan guides marketing's everyday operations.


  • Typically lower-level managers develop marketing's tactical plan because upper management uses its interactions with other departments to focus on longer-term goals and strategies. Short-term tactical plans are heavily detailed but easy to research and develop because facts about the current market are readily available. However, all levels of management work together to ensure that strategic and tactical plans are complementary.

Public Relations

  • Developing a tactical plan for marketing begins with outlining how the organization will interact with the public. After establishing a budget, planners must identify targets for their product, create a schedule, develop a consistent branding image and discuss how they will contact the media. For example, an organization with affiliates may decide to allow them to communicate with the media, but only if they pass through a media training program, which will require its own budget and development schedule.

Advertising and Publications

  • Once marketing planners establish communication guidelines, the next tactical step involves developing advertising material and publishing it. Marketing planners must decide which ads to create for all markets and which to target for specific customers. A sample tactical plan would include advertising goals for particular markets and a budget for development and publication. Good tactical plans schedule evaluations that will determine an advertisement's success and whether or not marketing should change strategies.

Social Media

  • Modern marketing departments cannot ignore social media such as blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others. In additional to developing advertisements for traditional media, tactical plans must allot a budget and scheduling for blog posts, online-inquiry response teams and viral marketing strategies, which are especially important because they are more cost-effective than published advertisements.

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