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An Introduction To Tactics

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Tactics are the result of capabilities embedded in your firms resources. The activities these capabilities give you provide the tactics you are able to implement and are reflected how you deliver your Value Proposition.

Resources built into your business model provide you with capabilities, which, when implemented, become the tactics that you use to accomplish the goals of your business strategy.

post-0-105-img-001Take the example of Harvard and Stanford graduate business schools. Harvard has set a policy of standardized lectures where some classes have as many as 900 students, broken into sections or groups of more than 90 students each. They have chosen a strategy of delivering a standardized product or service.

In order to meet the demands of this strategy Harvard’s had to implement a tactic that required developing a strong core of set educational materials and structuring their faculty with instructors co-teaching, all so they could meet the requirements of their strategy by delivering a mass produced and standardized product.

post-0-105-img-002In order to compete with Harvard, Stanford developed a Business Model that allowed them to offer a “Tailored” MBA, with no core curriculum. Their tactic was to offer each student a personalized MBA curriculum, tailored to his or her background and professional goals.

Given the model and tactic that Stanford has elected to use, Harvard has been unable to compete. Harvard’s Business Model does not have resources in its structure that allow it to offer a “Tailored” MBA.

Harvard could modify their Business Model, but given the current structure of their business model, it is not possible for Harvard to compete in this area.

post-0-102-img-003Tactical interactions occur when your firm competes directly with another firm. This happens when each you have a business model that targets the same market. Remember Professor Gausse and his petri dishes chock full of paramecium? Remember his corollary? Two entities that are targeting the same market can only survive if they utilize differing tactics? Which is why the birds that only fly during the day can go after the same creepy crawlers as the birds that only fly during the night. One uses daytime flight as its tactic, whilst the other uses nighttime flight as its tactic.

When you have a tactical interaction, there is a response that returns information to the Business Model components based on choices both you and your competitor make.

To illustrate this point, consider a chain tax preparation service that competes with a local independent practitioner, both firms engage in mass-market direct mail in a competition to win customers.

post-0-105-img-003The chain firm has immense resources in the form of marketing collateral and pricing, while the local practitioner is able to offer customized services and possibly technical superiority. These two competitors have segmented the marketplace even though they have implemented similar tactics.

post-0-105-img-004Direct mail, public speaking, becoming a published author, developing a niche or specialty, these are all tactics that may be selected by a professional, depending on their business model and the strategic goals they have chosen for their firm.

The big point, the most important point, is that the business model, the strategic plan and the marketing tactics, must all coordinate to achieve the strategic goal of the business. If these three components are not coordinated, and do not work in harmony, the practice may not survive.

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