[VIDEO] How to Structure Your Marketing Department Part 1: Strategic vs Tactical Marketers

by Debra Andrews | April 22, 2020

Structuring a modern-day marketing department can come with a number of unique challenges and pain points. The first is understanding two types of marketers – strategic versus tactical – and determining which is best for where your organization is in its marketing journey.

Strategic versus Tactical Marketers

It’s really important to get the right individual in the right seat, depending on what your organization needs.

Strategic marketers tend to be very good at marketing strategy, and though they might be able to do some tactical execution, it’s really not their strength. When they start working with a company, they will want to do a deep dive, understand where the company is today, how it’s perceived in the marketplace, what the goals are, and what the marketing resources are. From there, they will look to build strategic foundational elements that could include marketing positioning, differentiation, or buyer personas. They are skilled at assessing what’s there and what’s missing – from the marketing infrastructure, assets, resources, staff, and technology – and be able to create a plan to move from there to the documented goals. They’re big-picture thinkers with a handle on how work gets done.

Tactical marketers are the worker bees of a marketing department. They tend to shine when they’re bringing elements of a marketing plan to life. There are shades of tactical marketer, from generalist to specialist, but you can think of them as makers and drivers of marketing assets. They often don’t have the experience or strategic perspective to create a true marketing plan, but they can turn bullet points into useful, measurable marketing. 

Putting the Right Marketer in the Right Seat

Again, it’s really important to distinguish between the two types of marketers. If you have the right marketers in the right seats, it will create clarity on what you need to do to power up your marketing, and it will put your company in a position to hit the pedal on measurable outreach.

If you’re just getting started on your marketing journey, or if you’re not having much luck getting a measurable return on marketing investment, you likely need a strategic marketer to put a marketing roadmap in place for your organization.

If you already have a lot of pieces of the puzzle and are really more in campaign execution mode, trying to drive market penetration, then you’re most likely looking for a tactical marketing professional.

If you have a mismatch in talent and role, you’re going to end up with some very unhappy marketing professionals in your organization. If you put a strategic marketer in a tactical role, you’ll be putting them in a seat to make, create, measure, or deliver. Essentially you’d be putting them in “what” seat, rather than a “why” and “how” seat.

If you put your tactical marketer in a strategic role, they’ll feel stretched too thin. They’ll likely focus too much on their given specialty (if they have one), or they’ll get stuck delivering assets to internal stakeholders without measurable returns. Due to their lack of strategic experience, it will be almost impossible for them to pull together a coherent plan that connects today’s reality to tomorrow’s marketing goals.

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Thanks for watching and/or reading! If you’re interested in marketing department structure, stay tuned for part two of this three-part series. We also invite you to download our free guide: