Long Term vs. Short Term Marketing Tactics

Not all marketing strategies are alike. The right strategy for you depends on the end goal you have in mind.

Some marketing tactics have short term aims – how can we grow traffic to the site by 20% this quarter?

Others have long term goals – how can we become the market leader in this category by 2021?

It is clear that those two goals will lead us to wildly different tactics. So the first step in deciding what strategy to pursue is to know what your goals are. Once you have clearly defined your goals, you can better determine how to reach them.

Most companies will have a healthy mix of short term tactics to help them hit their targets for this month, quarter, year, as well as long term strategies to position their brand where it will succeed for years and years to come.

But be careful, because some of these tactics will conflict. Short term strategies can have a negative impact on long term goals. So part of working toward the long term goals you have set includes the patience required to sustain at least some short term slumps and pains.

Case in point:

Short term strategies like deep discounts and frequent promotions are great for getting new customers through the door right now. But over the long run, you may damage the brand value by conditioning the marketplace to rely on the discount.

JC Penney is a perfect example of this. For so long they successfully ran a sales and discount strategy that got customers into stores and through the checkout lines. When their new CEO decided he wanted to take the company away from that and toward an “everyday low prices” strategy, it flopped. Why? Because customers, as it turned out, shopped at JC Penney precisely because of the frequent sales.

Conclusion:

In order to successfully hit your short and long term goals, you must carefully mix marketing strategies aimed at short and long term impact. Focusing too heavily on one or the other could lead to unintended results.