A strategy is a larger, over all plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, less impactful plans that are part of the over all plan. While the original usage of the terms strategy and tactic was in a military context, they are now used in a wide variety of everyday language, including business.
edit Strategy - Tactic difference in military usage
In military usage, a distinction is made between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the utilization, during both peace and war, of all of a nation's forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. Tactics is the military science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy, especially the technique of deploying and directing troops, ships, and aircraft in effective maneuvers against an enemy.
edit Strategy vs Tactic in business
The usage of the words strategy and tactic in business is also derived from the original military context. A business strategy is different from a tactic in that different tactics may be deployed as part of a single strategy. For example, one strategy to gain market share would be brand building. As part of a company's brand building strategy, they may adopt different tactics like online advertising and celebrity endorsements.
- strategy. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/strategy (accessed: October 03, 2008).
- tactics. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tactics (accessed: October 03, 2008).