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Marketing Strategy or Marketing Plan – What’s the difference!?

Many of my clients seem to be a little confused about the difference between the ‘marketing strategy’ and the ‘marketing plan’ and the specific outcomes of each. So I’ve put together a brief definition of each and how they fit into the marketing planning process. Hope it helps!

In a nutsell, the marketing strategy is the foundation of the marketing plan. This diagram below explains it really simply.  Define your goals, do some research, decide the overarching marketing direction you want your marketing efforts to focus on (i.e. brand awareness and education), then break down the different elements of your strategy i.e. advertising, direct sales, social media, online videos, mobile marketing, direct mail, SEM etc..This all culminates to in a plan of ACTION that describes the specifics detailed marketing activities you plan on engaging in. Voila!  Sound easy?

Marketing Planning Pyramid

Here is another way of looking at it….

The Marketing Strategy answers…

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What is the overall direction we need to take to get there?

The Marketing Communications Plans answers..

  • What do we need to do to get there?
  • When do we need to do it?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who is going to do it?

Some examples:

Example 1:

You manufacture Ugg Boots and you would like to sell your ugg boots through Myer and David Jones as both these retailers can have a significant impact on sales.
Strategy: Build strong relationships with the Buyers at Myer and David Jones
Marketing Tactic: Meet with buyers once a month in person to discuss the latest offers and product range


Example 2:

You traditionally distribute your your hi-fi systems via specialist audio stores but would like to grow sales in the consumer space via stores like JB HiFi and Harvey Norman.
Strategy: Ensure retail staff are adequately educated about Sonos, benefits, FAQs, comparison and get staff involved in using the product as much as possible. Marketing Tactic: Produce an education pack targeted specifically to large retailers who have high turnover of staff and distribute this pack to all stores.


Need Help? If you want help putting together a Strategy and Plan for your business, why not start with a FREE marketing assessment with one of our Senior Consultants.

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