The Difference Between Marketing Strategies and Marketing Plans

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Plans and strategies can easily be mixed up. They sound the same, they can mean the same thing, but are they the same? No, they’re not the same, at least not when it comes to marketing.

What is A Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is where you set out your goals. You will need to understand your audience and what their goals are, what your goals are and how you can reach both of them. To put it simply it is a broad look at the who – who you are marketing to and the what – what you hope to gain from marketing.

Marketing Strategy Key Points

  1. Your service, what do you provide?
  2. Your long-term and short-term goals, what will your marketing plan achieve?
  3. An in-depth look at your audience/consumers, who are they? What do they want?
  4. What has worked in the past? Analyse the success of previous plans and see how it can be improved and built upon
  5. What is your overall message?

The aim is to outline the key goals and objectives, so you and your team know what you are working towards. It should be a document which is easy to check back upon to remind yourself of the key points. It is important to understand the ins and outs of your target audience so you know what will work and appeal to them and what won’t. This should be fully understood by the team before determining how to go about reaching them. Your goals should also be clear to everyone involved, if everyone has different goals in mind the marketing process will fall apart before you even reach your customers.

What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is where you create a step by step plan of exactly what content you will produce and when it will be released. You should be able to tie in each of these steps to the goals and objectives you outlined in the marketing strategy.

Marketing Plan Key Points

  1. What content will you produce, eg. Video, posters, blogs, social media posts etc.
  2. What topics will be covered within the content
  3. What challenges might you face and how to overcome them
  4. Assign your team to the appropriate projects
  5. How social media will be used alongside the content
  6. A timeline detailing when content should be produced and released, plus any events which can tie in to the marketing plan

While your marketing strategy is the foundation and should be short, sweet and to the point, your marketing plan should include as much detail as possible. The more information in it, the easier it will be to follow. That being said it still needs to be well-structured, organised and easily accessible so your team can keep up with it. “While the timeline may need to be strict to keep your schedule, you should also keep in mind that it needs to be achievable. Your team needs to be motivated and not overly stressed to come up with the best possible material for your consumers.

Strategy is the thinking part of the process, without this it’s difficult to do the next step – Planning is the doing part of the process or at least the preparation to doing. Both components work together to make a well-oiled marketing machine, neither should be doing the job alone, both are needed to create an effective marketing process. In summary the more specific you are in each stage of the marketing process, the more efficient your team will be and the more successful your marketing campaign will be.

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