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What’s the difference between strategies, tactics, channels, goals, and missions?

Updated: 02/04/2024


The mission defines the purpose and values, goals represent the specific outcomes to be achieved, strategies outline the high-level approaches to achieve those goals, tactics are the specific actions taken to implement strategies, and channels are the mediums used to communicate and engage with the target audience. 

These elements provide a comprehensive framework for success and direction, ensuring alignment between the mission, goals, strategies, tactics, and channels. Let’s dive into the differences between strategies, tactics, channels, goals, and missions:

Your Mission

The mission represents an organisation or individual’s fundamental purpose and core values. It defines the reason for existence and the broader impact desired. A mission statement encapsulates the identity, vision, and values that guide decision-making and goal-setting.

Examples of mission statements from membership organisations:

National Trust

“For everyone, for ever, to enjoy and care for places of beauty, history and culture.”

Royal Society

“To recognise, nurture and promote excellence in science for the benefit of humanity.”

Trades Union Congress (TUC):

“To improve the lives of working people through collective bargaining and campaigning for better rights at work.”

The Ramblers

“To champion the freedom to walk and to protect the places we all love to walk.”

Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM):

“To champion marketing and equip marketing professionals for the future.”


Goals are specific, measurable objectives an organisation or individual aims to achieve within a defined timeframe. They provide a clear direction and serve as benchmarks for progress. Goals are derived from the mission and represent the desired outcomes that align with the mission’s purpose.

Examples of goals used in the membership sector:

Increase Membership Acquisition

Set a goal to attract a specific number or percentage of new members within a defined timeframe. This goal focuses on expanding the organisation’s membership base and reaching a wider audience.

Improve Member Retention

Establish a goal to increase the retention rate of existing members; this is measured by the percentage of members who renew their membership or remain active over a specific period. The goal is to enhance member satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

Enhance Member Engagement

Set a goal to increase member engagement by measuring event attendance, participation in online forums or discussions, or content consumption. The aim is to create meaningful interactions, encourage collaboration, and foster community among members.

Increase Member Satisfaction

Establish a goal to improve member satisfaction levels through surveys, feedback mechanisms, or Net Promoter Scores (NPS). The objective is to understand member needs, address concerns, and continuously enhance the value and experience provided to members.

Diversify Membership Demographics

Set a goal to diversify the membership base by attracting individuals from different demographic groups or industries. This goal focuses on promoting inclusivity and expanding the organisation’s reach to a broader range of individuals.

Boost Member Participation

Establish a goal to increase member participation in specific activities or initiatives, such as volunteering, contributing to committees, or participating in advocacy efforts. The aim is to encourage active involvement and contributions from members.

Increase Revenue from Membership

Set a goal to grow the organisation’s revenue generated from membership dues or fees. This goal can be achieved by increasing membership levels, upselling members to higher-tier plans, or introducing premium membership options with additional benefits.

Enhance Value Proposition

Establish a goal to continuously enhance members’ value proposition; this can include providing access to exclusive resources, professional development opportunities, networking events, or discounts on relevant products or services.

Making these goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to track progress and evaluate success is essential. These examples provide a starting point, and organisations can adapt them based on their unique circumstances, priorities, and desired outcomes.


Strategies are high-level, long-term plans formulated to achieve goals. They outline the overarching approach or direction to be taken, considering market conditions, competition, resources, and capabilities. Strategies provide a framework for decision-making and resource allocation and guide an organisation’s or individual’s focus.

Examples of strategies used in the membership sector:

Member Acquisition Strategy

Develop a targeted acquisition strategy to attract new members to the organisation; this may involve identifying key demographics, conducting market research, and creating targeted marketing campaigns to reach potential members who align with the organisation’s mission and values.

Member Retention Strategy

Implement a comprehensive retention strategy to increase member satisfaction and encourage long-term engagement. This strategy can involve personalised communication, providing lasting value through resources or exclusive content, and implementing feedback loops to address member needs and concerns.

Member Engagement Strategy

Create an engagement strategy that fosters a sense of community among members. This strategy can include organising events, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing platforms for members to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge and experiences.

Upselling and Cross-selling Strategy

Develop strategies to maximise member value by offering additional products or services. These strategies can include upselling existing members to higher-tier membership levels, providing access to premium content or exclusive benefits, or cross-selling related products or services that align with members’ interests and needs.

Advocacy Strategy

Encourage member advocacy by developing a strategy that empowers and motivates members to promote the organisation to their networks; this can involve creating referral programs, providing shareable content, or recognising and rewarding members who actively advocate for the organisation.

Data-driven Strategy

Use data analytics to make better decisions and develop effective strategies. Analyse data to understand member behaviour, preferences, and engagement levels, which will help create personalised and targeted approaches to acquiring, retaining, and engaging members.

Partnership Strategy

Identify strategic partnerships with complementary organisations or businesses to enhance the value proposition for members. Collaborate on joint events, co-marketing initiatives, or shared resources to provide additional benefits and opportunities for members.

Innovation Strategy

Develop an innovation strategy that focuses on staying ahead of industry trends and continuously improving the membership experience. This strategy can involve embracing new technologies, exploring new formats for content delivery, or adopting innovative approaches to member engagement.

Remember, these strategies can be adapted and combined based on the membership organisation’s specific goals, resources, and target audience. It’s essential to align the strategy with the organisation’s mission and continually evaluate its effectiveness to achieve the desired outcomes.


Tactics are specific actions or methods employed to execute strategies and achieve goals. They are more detailed and operational than strategies, focusing on the practical steps and activities required to accomplish specific objectives. Tactics are adaptable and can be adjusted based on changing circumstances. They aim to exploit opportunities, overcome challenges, and complete tasks within the strategic framework.

Examples of tactics used in the membership sector:

Referral Programs

Implement a referral program where existing members are encouraged to refer new members; this can be incentivised with rewards or discounts for successful referrals, thereby leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing to attract new members.

Personalised Onboarding

Develop a personalised onboarding process for new members to ensure a smooth transition and enhance their engagement; this can include personalised welcome messages, orientation sessions, and providing resources or materials tailored to their interests and needs.

Member Events and Networking Opportunities

Organise exclusive events, workshops, or networking sessions for members to connect, share experiences, and foster community. These events can be online and offline, depending on the nature of the membership.

Content Creation and Distribution

Produce valuable and relevant content, such as articles, blog posts, videos, or podcasts, that cater to members’ interests and needs. Distribute this content through newsletters, social media channels, or a dedicated members-only portal to keep members informed and engaged.

Member Feedback and Surveys

Regularly seek feedback from members through surveys, polls, or feedback forms to understand their needs, preferences, and satisfaction levels. This feedback can improve the membership experience, tailor offerings, and address members’ concerns or suggestions.

Exclusive Benefits and Discounts

Offer exclusive benefits, perks, or discounts to members, such as access to premium content, discounted rates for events or services, or special privileges from partner organisations. These incentives can enhance the perceived value of the membership and encourage retention.

Renewal Reminders and Retention Campaigns

Implement renewal reminder campaigns to ensure members know their membership status and deadlines. Additionally, develop targeted retention campaigns to engage with members at risk of not renewing their membership. These campaigns can include personalised communication, special offers, or additional benefits to encourage retention.

Member Recognition and Rewards

Recognise and appreciate members’ contributions, achievements, or milestones. This can be done through member spotlights, certificates, awards, or a tiered system that rewards long-term or active members. Such recognition fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty within the membership community.


Channels are the mediums or platforms for communication, distribution, or marketing efforts. They are the specific avenues to reach and engage with the target audience or customers. Channels can include print media, television, radio, websites, social media platforms, email marketing, direct mail, and more. Choosing the proper channels is crucial to effectively delivering messages and interacting with the intended recipients.

Ten channels most commonly used in the membership sector: 

Here are some examples of channels commonly used in the membership sector to communicate, engage, and distribute information:

1. Members Website

A dedicated website is a central hub of information about the organisation, its mission, membership benefits, events, resources, and member login portals. It provides a platform to showcase content, allow online registrations, and facilitate member interactions.

2. Email Marketing

Email remains a popular channel for member communication. Organisations can send newsletters, updates, event invitations, and personalised messages to members through email marketing platforms, which enable efficient segmentation, automation, and tracking of email campaigns.

3. Social Media

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram allow organisations to connect with members, share updates, promote events, and foster community engagement. They facilitate two-way communication, allowing for direct interaction and member feedback.

4. Community (Forums and Discussion Boards)

Establishing online forums or discussion boards, either on the organisation’s website or through dedicated platforms, allows members to connect, share insights, seek advice, and collaborate on relevant topics. These forums can encourage active engagement and knowledge-sharing among members.

5. Events and Webinars

Organising in-person or virtual events and webinars provides opportunities for members to network, learn, and engage with industry experts or fellow members. Possibilities can range from conferences and workshops to informal meet-ups and social gatherings.

6. Print Publications

Traditional print publications, such as newsletters, magazines, or journals, can be distributed to members to provide in-depth articles, case studies, updates, and member spotlights. Print materials can also be mailed to members’ addresses or distributed at events.

7. Online Learning Platforms

Developing online learning platforms or educational portals allows organisations to provide members with access to exclusive courses, webinars, tutorials, and resources. These platforms enable self-paced learning and professional development opportunities.

8. Mobile Apps

Creating a dedicated mobile app allows members convenient access to resources, event registration, community forums, and personalised notifications. It provides a direct and easily accessible channel for member engagement.

9. Direct Mail

While less standard in the digital age, direct mail campaigns can still effectively reach members. Organisations can send physical mailings, such as renewal reminders, event invitations, or personalised letters, to maintain a personal touch and reinforce the organisation’s brand.

10. Member Portals

Establishing member-exclusive online portals or intranets provides a secure and personalised space to access resources, update their profiles, connect with other members, and engage in discussions.

These channels can be used individually or in combination, depending on the organisation’s target audience, resources, and communication preferences. When selecting the most appropriate channels, it’s essential to consider the characteristics and priorities of the membership base.

How to define your strategies, tactics, channels, goals, and missions 

The best order for strategies, tactics, channels, goals, and missions can vary depending on the context and specific needs of an organisation or individual. 

By following this order, starting with the mission and ending with the channels, you ensure that the overall approach is aligned with the organisation’s purpose and goals. The mission and goals guide the formulation of strategies, which in turn inform the selection of tactics. Finally, the channels are chosen to execute the tactics effectively.

1: Mission

Start with the mission statement, which represents the organisation’s or individual’s fundamental purpose and values. The mission statement provides a guiding principle that informs the following elements.

2: Goals

Once the mission is established, define specific goals that align with the mission. Goals represent the desired outcomes and provide a clear direction for the overall strategy.

3: Strategies

Develop strategies outlining high-level approaches and plans to achieve the defined goals. Strategies provide the overarching framework and direction for decision-making and resource allocation.

4: Tactics

With the strategies in place, determine the specific tactics or actions required to implement the strategy. Tactics are the practical steps to execute the strategies and accomplish the goals.

5: Channels

Select the appropriate channels or mediums through which to execute the tactics. Channels refer to specific communication, distribution, or marketing avenues. Consider the target audience and the most effective channels to reach and engage with them.

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