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A company’s success relies heavily on the right marketing strategy supported by a robust marketing plan.
That said, beginning marketers often confuse these two concepts and consider them to mean the same thing.
But they are very different. Here’s how:
A good exercise to think clearly about the differences between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan is to compare a SWOT analysis against the Marketing Mix. A SWOT analysis is a structured review of the organization while the marketing mix plans the activities to bring your product or service to market.
A marketing strategy and a marketing plan are different in three distinctive ways:
A business strategy informs what goes into a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy explains why you intend to perform specific marketing actions.
For example, if your startup wishes to scale up, the marketing strategy you develop will help you reach this goal, perhaps by building a customer base or through social media marketing.
On the other hand, a marketing plan describes how you intend to implement the actions laid out in the marketing strategy.
It provides the specifics regarding branding, scheduling the communication channels you intend to use.
A marketing plan comes after a marketing strategy.
Moreover, one of the main focal points of any good marketing plan is monitoring the success of your marketing actions using key performance indicators (KPIs).
These KPIs are crucial not only for measuring progress but also in ensuring the marketing plan lines up with the marketing strategy. A regular SWOT analysis is also a helpful activity to help you with your marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy consists of the following practical steps.
Building a robust marketing plan will include the following components:
A buyer persona is a company’s depiction of an ideal customer. When developing this persona, an organization must consider several aspects, including:
For instance, Netflix and other streaming services use behavioral segmentation. Here, the company knows which content to recommend based on watch history. Another example would be to look at fashion brands’ buyer persona. Zara’s buyer persona is a fashion-forward customer with mid-range income who lives in an urban area.
As mentioned earlier, you should typically model your marketing strategy after your overall business goals. Plus, such a strategy will remain consistent. And will only change if your team meets its marketing goals.
Moreover, you may also need to revise these goals if there are any significant market changes, for instance, new technological trends or if you launch new products/services. Standard marketing goals include:
Market research is one of the essential elements of a marketing strategy. It helps you build the right buyer persona, stay updated on market changes and boost your business performance. Like other steps mentioned earlier, it would be wise to set clear goals for market research. Doing so reduces the scope making it easier to get accurate and relevant results.
Market research involves gathering information such as the market size, demographics, trends, and growth. Pay attention to specific matters like data availability and credibility when undertaking this process.
The competitive analysis provides valuable information about your competitors, including their pricing, advertisement strategies, plus strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, this process lets you in on your unique value proposition.
To understand your competitor’s strategies, ask yourself the following questions. Are your competitors:
Once you’ve made a competitor profile, here’s how to go about the analysis.
Here are two notable successful marketing strategies.
Spotify, a music streaming service, found a way to provide its listeners with a unique user experience, setting it apart from other providers. Besides the standard genre filters, Spotify offers users a chance to select music based on their current mood.
Sephora introduced a “Beauty Insider” loyalty program that rewards shoppers based on their spending levels.
This strategy has helped get more customers to shop to enjoy the significant discounts and offers.
The success of an organization’s marketing actions requires a great marketing strategy and a good marketing plan. While different, a marketing strategy and plan mesh together to improve brand awareness, facilitate customer acquisition, provide a competitive edge, boost sales performance and ultimately gain a customer and keep a customer.