Aviation Marketing: The difference between strategy and tactics


Strategy and tactics must work together to achieve business goals

Jeriah Owyang, Industry analyst with the Altimeter Group, posted an article defining strategy and tactics by their associated actions. Below is my interpretation for aviation marketers:

Aviation manufacturers need strategic thinking and tactical execution to move the business forward. If you have strategy without tactics, then the big idea is never implemented. If you implement tactics without a strategy, you end up herding cats.

Breaking down strategy vs. tactics:


  • Strategy – To identify clear goals that advance the overall business and organize resources.
  • Tactics – To utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission.


  • Strategy – Individuals who influence resources in the organization. They understand how a set of tactics works together to achieve goals.
  • Tactics – Specific experts that maneuver limited resources into actions to achieve a set of goals.


  • Strategy – Held accountable for overall health of the organization.
  • Tactics – Held accountable for specific resources assigned.


  • Strategy – All the resources within the organizations, as well as broader market conditions including competitors, customers, and economy.
  • Tactics – A subset of resources used in a plan or process. Tactics are often specific using limited resources to achieve broader goals.


  • Strategy – Long term, changes infrequently.
  • Tactics – Shorter term, flexible to specific market conditions.


  • Strategy – Uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication.
  • Tactics – Uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams.


  • Strategy – Produces clear organizational goals, plans, and key performance measurements.
  • Tactics – Produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, and time.

Below are two examples of how strategic goals can be communicated with clear tactical elements:

  • Strategy: Be the market share leader in terms of sales in the OEM-market segment of the avionics industry.
  • Tactics: Offer advanced technology components that simplify cockpit management with life of the platform warranty.
  • Strategy: Maneuver your brand into top two consideration set of aircraft entertainment systems with MRO decision makers.
  • Tactics: Implement a social marketing campaign that leverages existing customer relationships and encourages them to conduct word-of-mouth with their peers using social platforms.

3 ways to use strategy and tactics to achieve business goals

  1. Educate your colleagues on the differences between terms and how they vary.
  2. Ensure that all tactics align with business strategy, and all strategies are supported by tactical execution.
  3. Reinforce through communication how strategy and tactics work together, advancing and achieving business goals through better utilization of time and resources.

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Aviation Marketing: Marketing excellence requires focus and clear positioning

The digital ecosystem is a disruptive force, leading many aviation marketers to take on too many capabilities instead of mastering a few.

Strategy&, Korn/Ferry International, and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently conducted a survey of 350 senior marketing professionals across many industries to find out how the role of marketing is evolving at their companies in response to changes in the digital marketing and media ecosystem.

Here is my interpretation of their findings for aviation marketers:

Best in class aviation marketers are forgoing being average in numerous marketing capabilities and are instead focusing on being great in a few differentiated capabilities that support their brand positioning.

Aviation marketers are under pressure to contribute to company growth while being challenged with new technologies, new marketing platforms, and flatline budgets. This requires aviation marketers to change the way they approach integrating new marketing capabilities with company-wide marketing programs.

Changing the mindset to reap the most from digital ecosystems requires the following:

  • Collaboration – adopting a more collaborative approach to core marketing functions to ensure that they leverage multiple channels and skill sets.
  • Strategy – being more strategic about the marketing agenda, aligning it with the com­pany’s overall goals.
  • Accountability – adopting new metrics to demonstrate marketing returns through the use of data.
  • Integrative – unifying marketing efforts across business units and product lines to strengthen the effectiveness and quality of the overall marketing effort.

While it is tempting to spread the risk of adopting new marketing capabilities by assuming a “more is better” attitude, astute aviation marketers are prioritizing their marketing capabilities based on a clear and differentiated position, resulting in a competitive advantage.

8 marketing capabilities to consider for driving current and future marketing efforts:

  1. Digital marketing – web, mobile, social marketing
  2. Marketing effectiveness – metrics, testing, dashboards
  3. Innovation – engaging customers in new ways, developing new channels
  4. Integrated multimedia campaigns  – using mul­tiple media across multiple channels
  5. Customer relationship management – managing data and relationships across touch points
  6. Portfolio management – managing performance across a broad set of products or offerings
  7. Customer insights – social media, surveys, panels, ethnography
  8. Owned digital assets – websites, communities, videos, newsletters

An organization that engages and invests in strategic capability building will be better suited to handle the disruptive change of the digital ecosystem.

Click on the following link to view the complete report A Marketing Identity Check:  Differentiated Capabilities Earn the Right to Win