Key Difference – Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
The key difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan is that marketing strategy can be explained as a course of action to achieve a marketing objective whereas marketing plan is the set of actions implemented to realize the marketing strategy; i.e., how to achieve the desired strategy. There is a strong relationship between the two where marketing strategy is the foundation of the marketing plan. If effectively managed, marketing can give a company a competitive advantage. Thus, companies should give sufficient time and effort to develop effective marketing strategies and marketing plans.
What is Marketing Strategy?
A strategy is a course of action carried out to achieve a specific objective. Thus, a marketing strategy can be explained as a course of action to achieve a marketing objective. Companies may have various marketing objectives such as, to be the market leader or to have a global marketing presence. What the company has to do to obtain such desired state is the marketing strategy that they have to adopt.
E.g., Company H is a chocolate manufacturer located in Belgium that sells chocolates nationwide and has the 5th largest market share in the confectionery market in Europe. The company is attempting to increase the market share; however, finds it difficult to do it in the local market due to severe competition. As a result, the company entered one of its neighbouring countries, Netherlands. By carrying out a massive marketing campaign, the company believes that it will be able to become the 4th largest chocolate manufacturer in Europe.
A company, to decide on the marketing strategy, should first understand the current situation of the company (where is the company now?). SWOT analysis is a good tool for an organization to understand the current situation. It is a useful tool in identifying the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats.
|The company is cash rich, thus have the adequate funds to spend on the marketing campaign|
|The current production facilities will not be adequate to cater to the increase in demand due to the marketing campaign, thus the company will have to rent out more factories|
|Belgium chocolates have an excellent reputation for taste and quality, thus the company will be able to enjoy more profits|
|Swiss and French chocolate brands are well established in Netherlands, therefore there may be brand loyal customers to the respective country brands|
What is Marketing Plan?
Marketing plan is the set of actions implemented to realize the marketing strategy; i.e., how to achieve the marketing strategy.
Marketing Planning Process
The following steps should be considered in constructing a marketing plan.
- Describe the target market
Target market should be analyzed for age, gender, income, and customer preferences. The market has to be segmented based on the above components to understand the customer groups that the company’s product may appeal to.
E.g., Continuing from the example above, the company H targets customers of all ages; thus, offer different types of chocolates such as milk chocolate and white chocolate primarily for young customers and raw chocolate and bittersweet chocolate for older customers (less sugar).
- List the marketing goals
The marketing objective that the company wants to achieve should be specified quantitatively to assess its achievement.
E.g., The marketing plan is for a 2-year period where sales are expected to rise by 25% for every six months.
- Develop the marketing communications strategy
This step is vital and deals with the tactics used to realize the marketing objective. Various tactics can be used such as advertising and public relations for this purpose.
E.g. Company H is planning to conduct television advertising by emphasizing on the fact that ‘Belgium chocolates are the best in quality’
- Set the marketing budget
Any marketing objective cannot be achieved without proper resource allocation; thus, a marketing budget that lists out the forecasted incomes and expenses should be prepared.
E.g., The entire marketing exercise is expected to cost €120,000 and generate a revenue of €180,000; thus, it generates a profit of €60,000
What is the difference between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan?
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
|Marketing strategy can be explained as a course of action to achieve a marketing objective.||Marketing plan is the set of actions implemented to realize the marketing strategy; i.e., how to achieve the marketing strategy.|
|Marketing strategy depends on the marketing objective.||Marketing plan depends on the marketing strategy.|
|Marketing strategy is a broad aspect that focuses on what should be done to achieve the marketing objective.||Marketing plan operationalizes the marketing strategy within defined boundaries; thus, it is narrow in scope compared to marketing strategy.|
Summary – Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
The difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan is that marketing strategy can be explained as a course of action to achieve a marketing objective whereas marketing plan sets out the steps on how to achieve the marketing strategy. Marketing is the way of communicating the details about products and services of the company. Innovative marketing strategies and plans can result in massive profits to companies. However, the downside of such efforts is also common in businesses where corporates giants such as Pizza Hut, Burger King, and Dr. Pepper have also failed in some of their marketing efforts.
1.Lake, Laura. “What Makes a Marketing Strategy Different From a Marketing Plan?” The Balance. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2017.
2.The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. “Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 03 May 2017.
3.”Five Examples of Big Brand Marketing Campaign Failures.” Mailing Lists, Sales Leads, Direct Marketing Blog: US Data Corporation. N.p., 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 May 2017.