Most often, if not always, marketing strategy is regarded the same as that of a marketing plan. Or the difference between the two is not properly demarcated. However, these two are different terms and seek different objectives. As a growing business, you must be mindful of the difference between these two key elements fundamental to any business.
Marketing strategy seeks to know “what” you want to achieve through all of your marketing efforts. Whereas a marketing plan seeks to know “how” you are going to fulfill those marketing targets.
is more about setting an intention to achieve some goals, while a marketing plan is a practical implementation.
In the premise of the above difference, one needs to clearly understand that these two terms are complementary to each other and must work together to yield optimum advantage for business growth.
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
One can differentiate marketing strategy and marketing plan by stating their independent objectives and respective timings of their implementations.
A marketing strategy’s objective is to recognize the marketing goals, describe ‘what’ actions should be followed to position your products in the market. A strategy helps you to define your business goals.
The objective of a marketing plan, on the other hand, is to outline and visualize when and how you are going to achieve the set goals. A plan is a more systematic approach that draws the timeline and themes of your work.
The leadership team mainly formulates marketing strategy. Whereas subordinate employees follow a marketing plan. For that, a marketing plan should be communicated well with all the employees and teammates as they are key stakeholders who will execute the plan in a real sense.
There is no point in making efforts in achieving the “how” of your marketing without first understanding the “what”. Even if you do, you will waste your time and money. Thus, marketing strategy should take precedence in gaining clarity about what you want to achieve. It should then be followed by a proper marketing plan that will help you outline the actual steps to achieve that.
As seen earlier, marketing strategy and marketing plan have different components, so it becomes a little tricky to track them in a single spreadsheet. Thus, you need to consider marketing planning tools to set strategy, make visual plans, work on tasks and present reports.
Components of marketing strategy
While understanding the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan, one must know its components. Following are the critical components of a marketing strategy:
- Organizational goals: You must set some well-defined goals for your organization. These goals tend to form the basis of your marketing strategy.
- Marketing goals: After defining organizational goals, you must research the market and carve out short and long-term marketing goals for your business.
- Customer behaviour: An effective marketing strategy keeps track of the target customer. For that, marketing strategy should analyze and understand the targeted customer base’s behaviour and their purchasing tendencies.
- Competition analysis: A marketing strategy helps you gain an understanding of your main competitors, their market positioning, their strengths, and weaknesses, etc.
- Brand value: A right strategy helps you develop a brand value for your business. It defines distinguishing factors or USP of your product or service. It highlights your unique characteristics, in turn, set you ahead of your competitors.
- Market positioning: After defining brand value, a market strategy also provides guidelines for positioning your product or service and helping you create an impact in the market.
The marketing strategy and marketing plan are often confused and used interchangeably. However, there are some differences between these two terms. It is inevitable for a growing business to understand these differences to achieve workflow efficiency and achieve long-term business goals.