Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

Kate VIrchenko

May 17, 2022

What closes the gap between 'creating a business and 'making people purchase.' Well, it's marketing!

Marketing aims to create a communication bond between a business and its prospects. Its strategic methodology involves market research, promotion, selling, and delivering the product. Marketing is the key to developing brand awareness and creating different opportunities for sales, and finally fueling your business’ holistic growth.

When it comes to dealing with marketing, you may come across two essential terms -  'marketing strategy’ and ' marketing plan'. Did you know that they're two different beasts? They have different goals, content, and methodology. This article is here to help you identify the two, and maybe choose one for your business.

Marketing strategy 

Put simply; marketing strategy answers the 'what’ and 'why’ of your company. You can take it as the core of your business as it does the job of a lighthouse that helps you keep your marketing focused on the bigger picture. Your marketing strategy includes everything that points out the areas you need to focus on. It consists of the definition of the values of your offer, the type of messages and emotions you want to convey, and the group of people you may want to target. 

To develop an effective and complete marketing strategy, you need to think through certain elements.

What is included in a marketing strategy?

1. Background: The background is the holistic description of your business's strengths, weaknesses, objectives, and challenges. If your business idea is a follow-up or pivot to a previous venture, you can also cover the process of transition from one to another.

2. Market analysis: You should analyze and review the present situation of the industry such as key competitors, the market size, partners, and complementary and substitute products. 

3. Target audience: You need to have an extensive and comprehensive analysis of your target audience. It should essentially include the demography, ethnicity, principles, purchase habits, visions, and lifestyle of your target audience. This is one of the most essential elements that define the way you implement your marketing tools.

4. Offering: Break down your offer, its benefits, and its value to your potential buyers. It should mention how and why it could help people resolve their pain points, making the product/service essential to purchase. 

5. Message: Define the company's mood, style of communication, and how you want to be perceived by your prospects. It's worth remembering that this is one of the crucial elements as it defines the image of your business in the minds of prospects.

6. Selling: Describe the channels you use to sell your products/services and define your partners for each sales process step. Apart from that, you also need to determine if the purchase is planned or impulsive. 

Marketing plan

The marketing plan defines the know-how for implementing the marketing strategy. It's a hands-on approach that pushes you to choose the tools and tactics to achieve your marketing strategy's expected impact. Same as a marketing strategy, a marketing plan has several must-cover and well-thought elements. 

What is included in the marketing plan?

1. The four P's of marketing

A marketing plan works closely with the well-known 4 P's of marketing - Product, Place, Price, and People. 

Product: This aspect analyzes your product and how it outranks your competitors. Besides, it helps figure out the unique selling points (USPs).

Price: This element monitors the potential price strategies. Is it a subscription, upfront, or installment, will there be a price drop/increase in the future - it covers all aspects. 

Place: This talks about where you will be selling your products and where your prospects may expect to see you the most. 

People: This covers your target audience and analyzes if they will buy your product, their key features, and concerns. 

2. Website and branding: You need to review and plan your online presence. Are you going to build a website for your business? If yes, what will be its objective? Do you want it to be informational or lead-generating, or do you simply want to dedicate it to relationship-building? 
In previous articles, we have shared frameworks that can help you make better decisions on this front. You could check out some of them:

Landing Page vs Sales Funnel - Which One to Pick?

Single Page Websites Vs. Sales Funnel - Which One is More Effective?

3. Channels: It helps to figure out the ways to reach your target audience. The method includes a sales funnel, YouTube, and other similar platforms. Additionally, here you need to determine the type of content to use for promotions - they may be informational, nurturing, or engaging.  Do note, that different channel mixes work best for different businesses. As an example, you could check out our article on our recommended channel mix for coaching businesses. 

4. Social media plan: Social media plays a vital role in marketing your products/services as 95% of the global population spends a substantial chunk of the day on social media, making it a perfect channel to optimize your marketing initiative. You need to figure out how you will be using social media, the frequency of the posts, and the style to engage with your audience. 

5. Budget: This part includes the detailed budget you have thought of allocating for advertising, website marketing, digital marketing, and event marketing. 

6. Team responsibilities (If required): You need to ensure the even distribution of responsibilities among team members to keep efficiency and productivity intact. You need to understand that not everyone can be the master of everything, and thus, a well-thought organization is crucial. 

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing plan - Do you need both of them?

Well, a well-designed marketing strategy determines how you will implement your marketing plan. In other words, a strategy does the job of a blueprint that directs the execution of a plan. When you skip the initial planning and hop straight to the work, you are likely to use marketing tools chaotically. Needless to say, this will score zero in terms of efficiency and productivity, which is not at all affordable.

If you are pretty confused about where to start, the specialists from SanityDesk can assist you in developing value-driven marketing strategies and plans. Otherwise, if you already have a marketing strategy and plan ready; SanityDesk's world-class all-in-one tool can help you implement it effortlessly. 

Written by:

Kate VIrchenko

Senior Marketing Manager

May 17, 2022

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