WKID Group | Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan: What's the difference?

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan: What's the Difference?

Introduction:

A Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan are very much related but are not the same and one will not successfully work without the other. Your marketing plan supports your marketing strategy and your marketing strategy is backed up with a marketing plan. Your marketing plan is a step in establishing your marketing strategy and your marketing strategy is the first step in creating your marketing plan. Without a marketing strategy you are shooting blanks; aimlessly. 

Marketing is a broad topic. It’s also a very important process of scaling a business. The goal of this informative and educational blog article is to give you a better understanding of a marketing strategy and a marketing plan, explain why they are a necessary for a business, and share with you the benefits of implementing both.

The first step of creating a marketing plan is to develop a marketing strategy

What is Marketing? 

Marketing is about giving value by way of core values. It is communicating the value of your product or service to your consumers and to your target audience. Why do they need your brand? Why would they prefer your brand over your competitors? What pain point does it connect with? What problem is it solving?To stick to the basics and keep things simple, let's start by identifying the seven foundational principles of marketing: Product, Price, Place, People, Process, Physical Evidence, and Promotion. 

7 Principles of Marketing: Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process, and Physical Evidence

What is a Marketing Strategy? 

A marketing strategy is a general plan to achieve a specific long term outcome. It lays out the foundation of what your company needs in order to expose the value of your brand and connect with your target audience. What are you working to achieve in your business? Your marketing strategy is the ultimate goal for your work or business. Over all. Over every goal that you may have for your company, what is your “why” for your business.

Just how far do you desire to take your business? Is your ultimate goal to be the #1 selling brand in your industry? Is your ultimate goal to be neck and neck with larger and more popular department stores? Or maybe to be listed in Forbes magazine? Or even to take your company international? Whatever your ultimate long term goal may be, the end result needs to give value, increase brand awareness, and scale your business. 

The purpose of having a marketing strategy is to be sure that your ultimate business goal is in alignment with your marketing (brand, logo, advertising, audience, marketing plan, etc.). A strong marketing strategy captures the attention of your target audience; increasing your brand awareness and eventually scaling your business.  

The first step of a strong marketing strategy is to identify your ultimate business goal

 

Once you’ve identified and defined your ultimate business goal the rest of your marketing strategy is all about market research. This research includes geographic, demographic, and psychographic details about your target audience. Taking the time out to do the research and develop your marketing strategy will allow the planning process to flow smoothly. The marketing plan will fall right into place.

A few starter questions to ask yourself would be:

  1. Goal: What is the ultimate goal for my brand?
  2. Branding: What message does my brand send?
  3. Value Proposition: What value does my brand offer? 
  4. Target Audience: Who is my target audience?
  5. Competitors: Who are my competitors?
The more detailed and specific your answers, the narrower your range will be. In this step, narrow is good. Too broad a reach of consumers opens the door for any and everything. This will aid in gaining a competitive advantage. 

What is a Marketing Plan? 

A marketing plan is a detailed intentional set of steps, arranged in advanced, describing who, what, when, where, why (more of marketing strategy piece), and how to promote your product or service. Your marketing plan supports your marketing strategy. It is the execution of the marketing strategy. The steps and actions to be taken to reach your target audience, provide value, and drive sales to achieve your ultimate business goal. 

What are we actually going to do? Who are we actually going to target? When, what day and time are we going to reach our target audience? Where are we going to find them? What are we going to create for Content that will expose our value and clearly deliver our message? What marketing channels are we going to use? Are we going to use social media? If so, what social media platforms are we going to use? How often are we going to post on social media? Are we going to use online marketing, off-line marketing, or both? Though these are questions that you answer in your market research, they are then broken out into great detail in your marketing plan. 


What Are the Key Differences Between A Marketing Plan & A Marketing Strategy? 

A marketing plan is much easier to design than a marketing strategy. With a marketing plan you can learn all that you need and or want to know online and from other resources. You can learn how to successfully create a marketing plan by researching and or networking. However, you cannot simply google: “What is my marketing strategy” and expect to receive the answer. Google does not know what your marketing strategy is. Google does not know what the ultimate goal is for your business and what you are working to achieve and accomplish. For now, only you know what value your brand offers, what message you want to send, what audience you want reach, and what your ultimate business goal is.

Your marketing strategy is something only you know or something only you can develop. Many companies are held up for years on, simply because they do not have a marketing strategy or a marketing plan. Without a marketing strategy, your marketing plan has no solid foundation. There’s simply no meaning behind it. You are shooting blanks; aimlessly. 

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

 

What Are the Benefits of A Marketing Plan & A Marketing Strategy?

Having a marketing plan and a marketing strategy in place allows you to:

  • Clearly identify and connect with your target audience
  • Identify what's working and what's not working
  • Easily adjust marketing tactics to do more of what's working and cease what's not 
  • Keep important marketing information at your fingertips
  • Increase sales quicker
  • Increase brand awareness faster 
  • Measure progress
  • Assess new opportunities sooner
  • Excel your business further, faster. 

Closing:

If you are stuck right now and business is stagnant or sales are dropping, go back to the drawing board. Revisit your ultimate business goal. Re-evaluate your marketing strategy. Make some changes to your marketing plan. Most importantly, if you do not have a marketing plan or a marketing strategy, start working towards establishing and implementing them.   

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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