The difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan and why as a business you need both !

Strategy is the THINKING

Put simply: –

The Who.  The What.  The Why.

Who is your customer?

What problem do you solve for them?

Why should they choose you?

Planning is the DOING

The Where.  The When.  The How.

Where are your customers?

When will you communicate with them?

How will you reach them?

All too often a business will jump straight to the ‘doing’ (and why not because let’s be honest this is the fun part!) without undertaking the ‘thinking’.  Be mindful of falling into the trap of having a website, corporate brochure, leaflets, branded promotional items and various social media platforms (because everyone else has these right?!) with no real control over any of them or knowledge of whether they are needed or how they are performing….oh, and a reasonable sized dent in your already tight marketing budget.

By initiating the ‘thinking’ first you may uncover your customer is not interested in promotional items, only uses your website as a pre-qualification tool with and would prefer modules of content served to them on two social media platforms (not 5) and an eBook will suffice.

Attracting and/or retaining customers is one of the main objectives for any business.

The purpose of a marketing strategy is to ensure: –

  • Your products and services meet your customer needs
  • You communicate the benefits of your business to these customers
  • You create sustainable, profitable relationships with these customers

By knowing this, you can target the right audience with the right information at the right time.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to ensure: –

  • You use the right channels to reach your customers
  • You create timely programmes and campaigns for your customers
  • You monitor the cost and measure the impact of these customer activities

It is vital a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan work cohesively if your business goals are to be reflected and importantly, have been shared with everyone in the business – this instils clarity and accountability for successful implementation.

Think of it as a house: –

The Strategy is the foundation… without this the house has no structure

The Planning is the furniture & soft furnishings – without this the house does not get bought to life

So, from my house to yours…. with January finally heading to an end, are the foundations of your business goals truly reflected in a marketing strategy with a strong plan to bring them to life?