Most people use these terms interchangeably, yet they are two separate elements in a business. A marketing strategy is what a business owner needs to achieve their marketing efforts. It is shaped by the business goals. A marketing plan is how you are going to achieve business goals and the practical implementation of the marketing strategy.
Why You Need Both
You cannot focus on how to market and forget what you are marketing. You, therefore, need to understand what your goals are (strategy), then figure out how to achieve the set goals (plan). Take a business that is creating a communication app to increase revenue. To gain new customers, this is what should be included in their marketing strategy and plan:
- Objective- Reach new customers and convince them to use App X
- Marketing Strategy- Appeal to current customers by showing them how App X is suitable for various things.
- Marketing Plan- Come up with a commercial about how anyone, despite their demographic, can use App X
- Implementation- Find ways to advertise the app, whether by using TV commercials, plastic postcards, social media, etc.
A marketing strategy allows you to choose the right type of advertising that will create the biggest impact. That is why a company first needs to come up with a marketing strategy before a marketing plan.
What Does a Marketing Strategy Look Like?
A marketing strategy identifies the goals of a business, the target market, the competitors, the external marketing message, and the internal positioning goal. Ensure all these are well detailed in your marketing strategy
If you are not aware of your position in the market, perform a situation analysis to help you identify where you stand. After completing your marketing strategy, create a marketing plan that will help you achieve those goals. When mapping a marketing strategy to a marketing plan, it is crucial to be specific as you decide what, how, and why you plan to communicate with customers. When you are detailed in your planning, implementation is easy and effective.