A marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Your marketing strategy (the what) is defined by your business goals, and business goals and marketing strategies need to be linked together and in sync to create, communicate, and deliver value to your customers.
A marketing plan is (the how) your going to achieve your marketing goals through the application and execution of your marketing strategy.
A lot of research goes into the development of a marketing strategy and marketing plan and most companies do this annually. Problem is, many inexperienced organizations try to achieve "the how" without ever defining "the what." If you do, you're bound to fail.
Analyze and research everything from your organization, your competitors, your customers, and prospects. Keep in mind the current business environment in which you will be operating and focus on company image, products and services, target audience, and market conditions. The more accurate information you have the better outcome you will achieve. Parallels should be drawn between your business goals and the business environment in order to increase your chances on delivering the desired product or service to the consumer, most profitably.
Before you start on anything set a time frame to complete both the marketing strategy and plan . Assign responsible parties by identifying who is doing what and maybe the most critical, set an overall budget for the development and execution of your plans.
Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan
Key elements defined in your marketing strategy and plan should include:
- Objectives. What needs to be accomplished?
- Markets, market segmentation, and vertical markets to be targeted.
- Product or service planning will include specific details about product, product lines, and offerings focusing on your competitive advantage and brand.
- Distribution method and channels (direct sales, inside sales, retail, wholesale, etc.) by which the product or service will delivered.
- Communication channels (T.V., radio, print, PR, direct mail, etc.) focusing on presenting your value proposition.
- Pricing programs and structure for all markets and distribution channels.
Here's a quick example of how the two work together.
- I have a bike shop and my objective is to grow revenue by 15% next year.
- My marketing strategy will be to introduce two new product lines.
- My marketing plan with be to develop a marketing campaign that communicates and targets consumers for the two new product lines.
Remember, your marketing strategy will answer "what" has to be done and your marketing plan will answer "how" it will be done.