Understanding the Differences between a Marketing Plan and a Marketing Strategy

The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are two terms that are often used interchangeably. And using one word in place of another is one reason why marketing concepts within businesses often become so confused. Marketing plans and marketing strategies go hand in hand and work together to produce the most effective marketing methods. But they also do have their own differences, and it’s important to understand them in order to make marketing techniques truly effective.

The differences are actually quite simple. A marketing strategy is a concept that will provide direction for all marketing efforts, while the actual marketing plan will outline procedures and steps to take in order to follow through with the marketing strategy. The marketing strategy will outline the goals of the business, the target market for the business, and the elements of the business that set it apart from its competitors. The marketing plan on the other hand, will outline what specific marketing steps will be taken, such as whether the business is going to advertise on the radio, in the newspaper, or other ways such as on social networking sites.

A marketing strategy is also much more vague than an actual marketing plan. Marketing strategies usually make very broad statements and objectives about the company and its customers. A marketing plan on the other hand, will be very clear and have specific action steps that are required. These action steps will include things such as placing ads in certain newspapers, running ads on certain radio stations, or how the company is going to advertise on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Because the marketing strategy will outline the marketing goals of the business, and will identify things such as the business’ target audience, the strategy should always be created before the marketing plan. The marketing plan will follow the guidelines of the marketing strategy, and the strategy should always be kept in mind when creating any element of the marketing plan. It is possible to prepare the marketing plan before preparing the marketing strategy. But it’s also a big waste of time, and could potentially be a big waste of the company’s money.

It’s crucial for every business to have both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. But it’s also important for every business to understand the differences between the two. Without understanding the differences, it’s all too easy for companies to go about their marketing efforts, without fully understanding what they’re doing, or why they’re doing it. A good marketing strategy, with a good marketing plan that follows it, are crucial to the marketing success of any company.

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