Stop depending on tactics, string them together for a better business strategy

I taught my son several years ago the basics of chess. I love the game and can remember the countless hours I spent playing with my father. It was something I wanted to share with my son.

He did not take to the game like I had hoped, and so our games have been sporadic over the last several years. It wasn’t until recently that he has found a new fascination with the game. He engages with the game better because he now understands that the pieces should never move independently of each other – but in coordination. The power of each piece is multiplied by the pieces involved in any given gambit (for non-chess players that is a short sequence of moves that provides a specific result – usually involving the sacrifice of minor pieces to accomplish a better position).

He has discovered that playing a strategy is much more effective – and fun – than playing with unrelated tactics.

The same is true for business. Often business leaders become dis-interested in marketing or business strategy because they are trying to play with tactics and forgetting the overall strategy. They find themselves frustrated as everything they try is thwarted repeatedly.

So how do you know if you are using marketing tactics instead of strategy? Here’s a quick test:

  • You are not sure how your customer interacts with a tactic. What do you expect them to do? What grabs their attention best? What have engages them and keeps them coming back to it? A great example for this is social media. Most businesses spend months trying to conquer this medium without understanding how their customers interact with it and how to encourage those customers to leave the social media space to interact with them in a new way.

Which leads us to test question 2:

  • Your marketing does not coordinate with any other methods you plan to use in your marketing. How do you get someone from your page to your leads list? How do you follow up on that lead?
  • Finally, you know you are using a tactic if you are not sure how this will result in a sale or repeat sales.  Without a clear path from tactic to sale, you are throwing money into the wind and hoping some of it blows back to you. You will only get partial results.

If you find yourself doing any of the three above, you are only playing the game with pawns. You will find yourself disinterested in the game in the long run.

As a side note: I never beat my father at chess until I was in my 20s – and that was because I finally started using a deeper strategy than he did.


 is a professional keynote speaker and the author of the book Building Your Booming Business. He is also an executive business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

%d bloggers like this: