Marketing, Strategy
May 13, 2021
Marketing tactics: Short-term vs. long-term
Marketing tactics: Short-term vs. long-term

By Candace Huntly

Marketing is marketing… right? Well, if we’re going to talk about it, then the answer needs to be a bit more nuanced. For example, within your business, you should have both short-term and long-term goals. The same goes for your marketing – and that will affect the types of marketing tactics that you use. In fact, the wrong mix of short-term and long-term marketing tactics can throw your whole strategy off kilter.


Being off kilter isn’t a bad thing as long as we learn from it, grow, and kick a** moving forward.

Defining short-term and long-term marketing tactics

I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is the difference between short-term and long-term marketing tactics, Candace???

Short-term marketing tactics are the things that will get you a quick win today, this week, or even this month. Some might say that your short-term marketing tactics can also include efforts up to a year, but I think it depends on the type of tactic we are talking about. With the introduction of different technologies into marketing, your customers (and you!) are really used to instant gratification, which shortens things up considerably because a year can feel like light years away. Short term marketing tactics are also usually tied directly into revenues. I know, shouldn’t all marketing be tied into revenues? Not necessarily, sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and long-term growth of your business where revenues are the end goal but not the means to get there.

That brings me to Long-term marketing tactics. Not necessarily revenue-driven, they are in place for a timeframe longer than 6 months – 5 years, 10 years, 30 years! 😮 Long-term marketing tactics focus more on building better relationships with customers and potential customers, boosting customer loyalty, and increasing brand awareness. These are all the building blocks of longevity when it comes to your business. If you are planning to be in it for the long-haul, you need to do all of these things.

Short term marketing tactics

Now that you know what they are, here are some examples of short-term marketing tactics:

  • Social media contests & giveaways: Designed to give you a boost in followers and engagement, doing contests and giveaways periodically will be helpful in reaching a broader group of your target audience while also rewarding your current followers.
  • Social media ads: Social media ads are a whole different beast when it comes to your social media strategy. The way the platform algorithms are shifting, putting a little money into your strategy can help to boost your reach and even help you grow your community. The challenge is that if you are going to put money into it, then you need to be prepared to keep their attention with amazing content.
  • Digital ads (Hellooooo PPC!): Outside of social media there are a number of other digital ad placements to consider like Google Ads, advertising with relevant online publications, and even with certain communities and influencers who are targeted towards your audience.
  • Sales and promotions: Next to doing a contest, offering a limited time price reduction, early access to a new product for VIPs, and other promotions will garner some attention and a quick buck even though you are taking a bit of a hit with lower price points. Play your cards right and you can convert these customers into long-term, loyal fans!
  • Social media: Social platforms have been a driving force when it comes to instant gratification and spontaneous dialogue between customers and the brands they love (or hate!). It’s a great way to promote content and build and monitor your brand reputation in the short-term. You can also use your platforms to connect with potential customers.

Long-term Marketing Tactics

Here are some examples of long-term marketing tactics:

  • Social media: Social media can be both a short-term and a long-term marketing tactic! It is a great way to focus on relationship and community building, which will help you with your long-term goals. In terms of thought leadership, it’s also an easy way to showcase your expertise and brand story in a creative way all in one place.
  • Content marketing: Fresh content, fresh content, fresh content. Use it everywhere and use it well. I like to think of blogging as the foundation for a great content strategy because that content can be repurposed in so many ways. Where your website is concerned, keeping it fresh will mean that people have more reasons to visit your website. Content marketing is also a great foundational element of any thought leadership strategy.
  • Search Engine Optimization (AKA SEO): If people are going to discover you, they are going to do it by looking up certain topics or words. Those are called keywords or key phrases. Using keywords/keyphrases in your content will help your content become more discoverable organically.
  • Media relations: Who doesn’t want to see their brand mentioned (favourably) in the media??? When you start a media relations strategy, it can happen quickly, but can also take months to see results. I once had a media contact reach out a year after I had sent a press release because they were working on a related story and looking for comment.

What this means for your marketing strategy

This is not an exhaustive list of short and long-term tactics, but it’s a good start to get you thinking about what you can do with your own strategy. Keep in mind that your short-term marketing tactics should always tie in somehow with your long-term tactics. Nothing you do in marketing your business should exist in a vacuum on its own. Tactics work better together and you need both short-term and long-term marketing tactics to survive and thrive.

It’s also important to not get trapped in doing only short-term marketing tactics. It can be easy to get sucked into the excitement of instant results, but, for the most part, these are temporary measures and won’t set you up for long-term growth. You will get trapped in a never-ending cycle of promotions and short-term stunts. It will get exhausting and you may devalue your brand because you aren’t doing the work to build your long-term legacy.

Your overall goals (and your budget!) will help you to determine the best mix of short- and long-term goals – and that will, in turn, help you figure out the best marketing tactics to use.

If you really aren’t sure where to start, set up a FREE 20-minute consultation with us and we can help point you in the right direction!

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