Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans: What’s the Difference?

Is there really a difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?

While the terms are commonly used interchangeably, they are actually two very different concepts in the real world.

Your marketing strategy is your approach to achieving your competitive advantage — the marketing plan is the activities that will help you achieve your marketing goals.

Simply put, a marketing strategy is the “what,” and a marketing plan is the “how.”

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is the overarching framework for how you will market your product or service. It includes:

  • Your business goals.
  • Identifying your marketing objectives that are aligned with the business.
  • What you’re offering.
  • Who your target audience is and what their needs are.
  • What industry or niche you serve.
  • Who your main competitors are
  • What your company stands for.
  • Your brand’s guidelines.
  • The timeframe for a strategy is around 3 years.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the set of activities that will help you achieve your objectives. This includes:

  • The messages and offers to use in your marketing campaigns
  • How you’ll measure success (i.e., what metrics are important)
  • Your channels for distributing content or products, such as social media or email newsletters
  • Your budget for marketing activities
  • Timing of marketing activities for a 12 month period

A marketing plan follows the marketing strategy and turns it into a list of activities or projects that will be carried out over a specified time frame to achieve your marketing objectives.

The strategy and plan work together to provide your marketing approach. And your marketing should make your product or service sell itself.

As Peter Drucker said “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.

In conclusion for a small business its important that you take the time to develop your marketing strategy and marketing plan. Start with a marketing strategy first, this will help guide your marketing plan.

For the small business owner, creating a marketing strategy and a marketing plan can be difficult without someone to provide guidance and help along the way. If you are struggling we would be happy to take you from start-to-finish with your plan so don’t wait another second!

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