Somebody asked me the other day, what the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. Well here’s my answer.
The strategy comes first. It is formed by your overall goals for your business. It should include a definition, explanation and description of what you are all about. Whether you provide a service, product etc. It should also include a profile of the people that use your product or service, your clients. The people who you are reaching out to. And, most importantly, you should be overfamiliar with your competition and know where you sit in the market and what makes you different. Defining your company’s role in relationship to the completion is vital. The strategy is to judge the effectiveness of your marketing plan. It’s a way of totting up the facts and working out how to progress. A summary of your company’s product/service in relation to the competition.
The marketing plan is really the application of the strategy and should include details about your business, its USP, costs, and the sales and distribution plan. On top of that you include your plans for advertising and PR, on and offline.
Either with or without the other would be a complete waste of time! Without goals, how would you know if you’ve accomplished anything?
So let’s think and re-evaluate where we are at. You need to write a list of targets for your company. What you want to achieve, consider your profits, your market.
Nowadays it’s so much easier to do market research. It’s also easier to judge yourselves amongst your competitors. Read my post about what you can learn…..
I came across this text from the Business Owners Tool Kit and thought I would share it with you, as it is a succinct and very detailed list of what your strategy should be.
A description of the key target buyer/end user
Competitive market segments the company will compete in
The unique positioning of the company and its products versus the competition
The reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers
Price strategy versus competition
Marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion
Possible research and development
Market research expenditure strategies.
An overall company marketing strategy should also:
Define the business
Position the business as a leader, challenger, follower, or niche player in the category
Define the brand or business personality or image that is desired in the minds of buyers and end users
Define life cycle influences, if applicable
Use the following checklist to help create your own marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy checklist
Define what your company is
Identify the products or services that your company provides
Identify your target buyers/end users
Establish the marketing category (e.g., fast food purveyor, high-end audio equipment sales, etc.)
Determine whether your company will be a market category leader, follower, challenger, or niche player
Describe the unique characteristics of your products or services that distinguish them from the competition.
Define whether your pricing will be above, below, or at parity with your competitors and establish whether you will lead, follow, or ignore changes in competitors’ pricing
Identify the distribution channels through which your products/services will be made available to the target market/end users
Describe how advertising and promotions will convey the unique characteristics of your products or services
Describe any research and development activities or market research plans that are unique to your business
Describe the image or personality of your company and its products or services
Strategy statement tests.
If the statements in your strategy are measurable and actionable and work to differentiate your company and products apart from the competition, congratulations! If they are not measurable and actionable and do not differentiate your company from the competition, revise them until they are.
A good working marketing strategy should not be changed every year. It should not be revised until company objectives (financial, marketing, and overall company goals) have been achieved or the competitive situation has changed significantly, e.g., a new competitor comes into the category or significantly different or new products emerge from existing competitors.