Tactical vs. Strategic Marketing

The difference between MD and other service providers


First, so that we’re on the same page about what tactical marketing is (and isn’t), here are some common examples:

  • Keeping the website updated
  • Making sure everyone’s business cards match
  • Posting something on Facebook
  • Creating and placing a radio ad
  • Creating and maintaining brochures
  • Purchasing logo wear for your co-workers
  • Organizing a newsletter

Just as people need water and oxygen to live, businesses need tactical marketing functions to survive.

For instance, if you didn’t make brochures for a trade show, fewer prospects are likely to call. Or, if you publish a typo that offends readers, business could come to a screeching halt. Basic, foundational marketing processes and systems need to be in place for your business to attract and retain customers. And, before you can grow these elements, your marketing needs to be rock solid.

Tactical marketing tasks are the basic functions you need to execute to keep doors open and customers happy.

But do you want MORE? That’s where strategic marketing comes in.


Here’s a question for you: Where do want to see your business in five years? Now, here’s my favorite question: How will you get there?

The answer to that is in your strategic marketing plan.

Marketing strategy is what guides your marketing tactics. Below are a few examples of marketing strategies:

  • Grow sales by $250,000 with the new Acme product aimed at Gen Yers, to attract market share from A&P and Roadrunner Inc.
  • Develop new product lines for the dynamite division that will appeal to catalog distributors.
  • Cross-promote Acme and Wilde product lines to introduce them to the next generation of users.
  • Develop a distribution partnership with Looney Tunes Inc.

Once again, the things you do every day (tactics) are what support the strategies. In the example of a new Acme product line, the strategy will be supported by tactics such as the creation of a brand name and logo, packaging design, media release, social media launch, trade ad, new banners at your trade shows, ads featured on your website, etc.

Are you operating tactically but not strategically? If the answer is “tactically” then slow down what you’re doing, step back and start thinking longer term.

To be candid, the #1 reason we find some U.P. companies lack strategy is the lack of experienced marketing talent on their team.  Stay tuned to learn how to build a marketing team that is equally strategic and tactical.



Recharging a Logo with Iverson Snowshoes

IversonwebIverson Snowshoes has been making beautiful hand-made snowshoes in the U.P. since 1954. With the touch of an artist, every snowshoe they create is made with care from traditional, renewable and locally sourced materials. Although the quality of the product has never faltered through the years, some aspects of the branding were neglected. Now under new ownership Iverson approached us to help recharge their logo.

With such a classic brand, we didn’t want to completely redesign the Iverson logo, but we did want to clean it up and create usable formats to help keep their branding consistent. The only versions of the old logo file that Iverson had were very low-quality JPEG images.

ivpixle logo
As you can see in the images above, the old logo was so pixelated, it was not high enough quality for print or web use. If Iverson wanted to print T-shirts or stickers, or just have a clean, sharp version of the logo for their new website, they needed some help.


Iverson brands their wood products with an actual hot branding iron that burns the logo into the wood. The brands are fairly expensive — it made sense for us to not stray too far from the art on the existing logo, so they wouldn’t have to invest in new branding irons.

IV drawing

With nothing other than the low-resolution JPEG to use, I started by hand-drawing the snowshoe part of the logo. When the logo is branded into wood it will always have cool and unique distortions to its edges. Hand-drawing the art on a large scale and then reducing it down gives a cool “distressed” look that matches the look of something that has been branded.


I scanned in the new drawings and created a clean vector-based version of the logo, an important step in logo creation. Vector-based art can be scaled from the size of a business card to a huge billboard and it will not distort or pixelate.

ivfirst go

I played around with a few different versions of the snowshoe logo and bounced them off the client. In the end, the design closest to the original felt best to all of us.

ivfont redo

We were just about to call this part of the project complete when our designer, Bob, who owns a pair of Iverson Snowshoes, noticed that the text branded into his snowshoes was a different font than the logo we were given from the old Iverson website.


Luckily Bob is a font master. With thousands of different typefaces available, he was able to recognize and find the font used on the Iverson branding irons. It was back to the drawing board (literally) to focus on the minute details of kerning and balancing each letter into a final logo.

ivvector example

The final version of the recharged Iverson logo is really a restoration of sorts. It stays close to the classic logo but is now in a clean vector format, ready for any usage Iverson might have for it.

iverson new logo

Learn more about Iverson’s beautiful outdoor products at www.iversonssnowshoes.com.

– Taj, Creative Director at Upper Peninsula Marketing Department.