The Difference Between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan


Marketing is such a vast subject. It deals with letting people know about your product, your services and your company in general. It is even described as a study or management of exchange relationships. When you hear that kind of definition, you basically have an idea that it is about communication and relationships. Then you come across the words Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan, you then wonder what exactly is the difference between these two terms.

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Marketing Strategy – Your marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Your marketing strategy is honed by your business goals. Your business goals and your marketing strategy should go hand-in-hand.

Marketing Plan – Your marketing plan is how you are going to arrive at those marketing goals. It’s the application of your strategy a map that will guide you from one point to another.

Let’s dissect these terms a little further. Strategy is what you would call a goal that needs to be done. So mainly, Strategic Marketing involves you and your company deciding on a what you want to actually achieve that involves your customers. It is what you are planning to attain.

Example: To inform customers about our services.

If that is the case, then your Marketing Plan has everything to do with implementation and the action itself. It needs to concisely define what tools and steps are needed to be able to accomplish the strategy that your company has created. It is what you are going to do and the how of it.

Example: To create ads about our services.

The wonderful thing about Marketing Plans is that you can tailor it according to your needs. If budget is a concern you can event tailor it accordingly. And to give you an idea, here is a couple of Marketing Plans that have been created over the years.

Relationship Marketing

Most companies concentrate on building relationships with their customers instead of always exclusively trying to sell them something or what you would call transactional marketing. Customers who love a brand will likely spend more money for a specific brand. Traditional retailers have found this to be true. A good example of this is Walgreens who has seen that customers who buy from all of their purchasing channels buy up to six times more than the average customer that only buys in their store.

Transactional Marketing

Pushing sales can be tough, especially for retailers that have to almost always sell products in high quantity to consumers. To be able to stay with the demands of investors, retailers have to convince consumers to buy using coupons, discounts, liquidations, and sales events. High volume big-box retailers like Target are regularly running promotional events in order to lure consumers into their stores.

Scarcity Marketing

In some markets, it’s crucial to check how much product is available at one time. In most cases, this is done because of the complexity of acquiring raw materials or higher quality of the product. A company may choose to make their products available to only a few customers. Rolls-Royce’s release of their Chinese edition car called Phantom sold instantly. While the cost of the car was higher than most cars the scarcity drove the frenzy and the price.

Call to Action (CTA) Marketing

CTA Marketing refers to techniques of converting web traffic into actual leads or sales on sites using text, images, or other elements of web design. Conversion tactics help improve the percentage of online guests who become customers or who join the mailing list.

Viral Marketing

Cult Brand marketers are constantly creating new business approaches that keep their products in the hearts and minds of their global consumers. Every time a new product is produced, customers have to be given a reason to dream about their future purchase. Sometimes marketers of Cult Brands hit on something so exceptional that people can’t help but share with others. Getting your customers talking about your products and services is quite essential to growing knowledge for your business or service.

Whatever Strategy Plan you aim at using, bear in mind that you need to take into account what your main goal is. Most companies tend to go ahead with the planning without creating a strategy. Remember, you need to know the what first before you go to the how’s.