Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan, What’s the Difference?

marketing strategy vs planOftentimes, many people confuse the difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan. We’ve found the easiest way to explain the difference between the two, just as follows:

Marketing strategy – marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you want to achieve with all your marketing efforts. It’s the matter of “what” you want to achieve. Your marketing strategy is shaped by your business goals. Your business goals and marketing strategy must go hand in hand.

Marketing Plan – marketing plan is how you are going to achieve your marketing goals. It is the implementation of your strategy as well as the roadmap that will guide you from one point to another. Different from strategy, marketing plan is the matter of “how” you achieve your marketing goals.

The problem is, most people try to achieve “how” without first knowing “what.” This can end up wasting resources for the company, both time and money.

When it comes to marketing, we must always recognize the what and then the how. Strategy is the thinking, and planning is the doing. Here is an example of how the two work:

• Objective: To gain broader market adoption.
• Marketing Strategy: Introduce to new market segments.
• Marketing plan: Develop marketing campaigns, identify and focus on specific segments.

A successful formula that can be used to further explain how important the marketing strategy and marketing plan are can be seen below:

Marketing strategy -> marketing plan -> Implementation = Success

Your marketing strategy consists of:

• “What” to do.
• Inform customers about the products or services you offer.
• Inform consumers of the differentiation factors.

Your marketing plan consists of:

• “How” to do it. Create marketing campaigns and promotions that will achieve the “what” in your strategy.

If you are preparing marketing strategy and marketing plan for your business plan, here are the key components you should include in each section:

1. Components of your Marketing Strategy:

• External Message Marketing
• Internal Positioning Goal
• Short Term Goals and Objectives
• Long Term Goals and Objectives

Your challenge

A brief description of the products or services to be marketed and the goal recap identified in your marketing strategy.

Situation Analysis

This section should identify the following:

• Goals
• Focus
• Culture
• Strengths
• Weaknesses
• Market share

Analysis of Your Competitors

What is your market position? What is their market position? What are the values that drive them? What are your weaknesses? What market share are you pursuing? What market share has your competitor already tapped?

Identify Your 4Ps (Product / Price / Place / Promotion)

How you will use this information to achieve the objectives that have been identified in your marketing strategy.

As you can see, your marketing strategy goes hand in hand with your marketing plan. Without both, you are not just wasting resources, but you can also get stuck and end up with no idea of where to go.

Another important thing is not to forget to measure any marketing campaigns that you perform in order to see what works and what does not. You can use this information to guide you in the future. (about.com)