There is a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy, but many people get them mixed up. Let’s discuss…
Perhaps the simplest way to explain the difference is this:
- Your marketing strategy is what you aim to achieve
- Your marketing plan is how you are going to do it.
The development of your marketing strategy and plan is the 3rd step in the process we take all new clients through, after measuring the marketing performance over the last 2-3 years and then understanding exactly who is in the target audience.
Your Marketing Strategy
As a business, you will have a set of goals and targets for the next year. They usually include a growth target – we want to grow by 50% in the next 12 months. Your marketing strategy is the first step in achieving that goal.
What does it include?
Your marketing strategy will include the following:
- Your long-term business target (50% growth for example) alongside what this means in reality
- Are you going to sell to more clients or sell more to your current clients (market penetration)?
- Are you going to sell more products to your current market (product development) or, are you going to sell your current products to different markets (market development)
- Perhaps you are taking the trickiest route to growth – diversification (new products to new markets)
- How many net new clients does this mean?
- Whether you assume you are going to lose any current clients – or keep them all
- What you sell and why
- For stakeholders and for staff to understand the business
- The key routes to market
- Not the tools you are going to use, but whether you will primarily be using online or offline, whether you are using predominantly a referral strategy or an account management one.
Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan will include:
- The specific marketing channels and tools you will use
- What you expect to achieve from each tool/channel:
- How much website traffic
- Which social media channels have how many followers?
- How many phone calls?
- How does each channel contribute to achieving your overall goals?
- Which are primarily awareness generation tools?
- Which will engage your target audience?
- Which are aimed at generating the leads you need?
- What is the competitive situation?
- How many competitors do you have?
- How does your product/service differ from the competitors?
Your marketing strategy shows what you want to achieve, with the plan showing how you are going to get there. You cannot develop a marketing plan without having a strategy in place that matches your business plan. After all, there are two key parts of your business that will help you achieve your business goals:
- Operations: ensuring you deliver on your promises to your clients and, ideally, keep as many as possible.
- Marketing: developing new leads to generate the clients you need to grow the business.
If the two don’t work together, it will be very difficult to achieve your business goals.
I hope this helps.