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Marketing Plan Vs Marketing Strategy: Do You Know the Difference?

I’ll go out on a limb and state that Marketing is an essential part of any business’s

success, no matter how big or small it may be. However, it takes more than just putting out some social media, or ads and hoping for the best. To be able to succeed, businesses need both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.

In this blog, we’ll explore these terms and learn the differences between marketing strategy and a marketing plan. More importantly, why they are important for your business to succeed in today’s competitive market.

What is marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy refers to the overall approach a business takes to promote its products or services. Marketing strategy is where you want to get as specific as possible towards each individual goal. Each step in a marketing strategy requires an action to ensure its optimal success and a designated team to see it through.

Marketing strategies may include:

1. Niche strategy – focuses on a narrow segment of the market and tailoring your products or services to meet the demand of your clients.

2. Differentiation strategy – focuses on the unique features and benefits of a product or service so you can be set apart from the competition.

3. Cost leadership strategy – it emphasizes on how you can offer your product or services at a lower cost or price than your competition.

Key components of a marketing strategy should include:

· An analysis of the competition

· Positioning yourself in a way that defines how your business will be different or unique in the market

· A clear understanding of your target audience and their needs

· The goals and objectives of your company

· Measurable plan for your success

Keep in mind that while marketing strategy sets the direction for all your marketing activities, it doesn’t provide the level of detail necessary to execute the activities you have. This is where a marketing plan comes into place.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a more detailed process that documents or outlines what specific actions should be taken. It is a roadmap to marketing success for any company. It is designed to take your marketing from beginning, middle, and end.

It will help you in the organization of each campaign's mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and their deliverables, as well as how it’s being executed, and allow for tracking the chosen marketing strategy over a time period.

A marketing plan should be actionable, measurable, and focused on achieving the goals and objectives outlined in the marketing strategy.

Marketing plans don’t just include one team, it encompasses marketing teams across the company, working together for the same goal.

For instance, if the company’s marketing plan is to introduce the audience to a new product, a marketing strategy could be assigning focus to a specific social media platform and the ways this will encourage interaction and exposure.

This can include posts for the viewers to discuss in the comments, links to directing the audience to your blog, and creating a place for email sign-ups to learn more information on the latest updates.

Another example of a marketing plan can be an email marketing plan that outlines the frequency and type of emails that will be sent, the segmentation of the email list, and the goals for each email campaign.

Additionally, a good marketing plan should include different key components like:

1. Marketing goals and objectives: this should be clear and specific, and should outline what the marketing efforts want to achieve.

2. Marketing strategies: what specific marketing tactics and approaches will be used to achieve such goals and objectives. This can be using public relations, advertisements, social media or direct marketing.

3. Situation analysis: having a summary of the current marketing situation including the target audience, industry trends and competitors.

4. Budget: following the overall marketing budget which includes the breakdown of the costs that is associated with each marketing activity that will be done.

5. Action plan: this should be a detailed plan on who will be responsible for each marketing activity, what resources will be used, and how and when it will be executed.

6. Evaluation and metrics analysis: to ensure that the marketing plan is successful, evaluation and metrics analysis should be in place. It should include the process on how data will be collected and measured so you will know what strategy works and what does not.

Final Thoughts

Overall, marketing plan and marketing strategy differs where a plan requires an action while strategy is where the action is assigned. The reason a strategic marketing plan is important is because it allows you to monitor and see if your ideas for the company are showing success.

Being able to track the progress of your ideas and see how fruitful they are for your company is crucial. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to push your brand into the eyes of more potential buyers and customers.

The importance of a marketing strategy cannot be overstated. Without a clear strategy, businesses risk wasting resources on ineffective marketing efforts. A good marketing strategy will help a business focus its efforts and resources where they will have the greatest impact.

Take what you’ve learned in this blog and remember, a marketing plan and marketing strategy should always go hand in hand to ensure that your business is set up for success. And remember BAM! Marketing & PR is here to assist.

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