There are some clear differences between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy. Both are necessary to be able to track the success of your investment.

Marketing Strategy

In order to build a successful marketing plan, you first need to establish a strategy. The strategy is going to set you apart from your competitors and position you as the best option for your customers. Knowing exactly what your customers want is key. You will also need to know why customers have chosen you in the past as well as why they may not have chosen your products/or services. One of the best building blocks in a strategy is having the visibility into what worked and what didn’t work in the past. 

The strategy also guides the marketing channel selection for the upcoming year. (Always keep in mind the channels that are going to be most effective in reaching your audience.) Ask yourself what is most important to your customers–this will help guide the focus of your messaging. Execution of the messaging can really set your company apart AND make the dollars go further. And the only way to know if it’s working is to be effective in your measurement. You need to be able to see results in two main ways – 1) 30,000 foot view (sales and leads) and 2) real-time digital campaign performance. 

The marketing strategy should include:

  • Business Goals
  • Market Trends
  • Customer Insight
  • Competitor Differentiation
  • Channel Selection
  • Content/Messaging Focus
  • Past Performance 

Marketing Plan

The marking “plan” is the road map. It supports the strategy and the vision for the upcoming year. The plan provides the overall framework and specifics to help guide your marketing and sales teams. The marketing plan keeps everyone on the same page. There are multiple people who contribute to the execution of a marketing plan. The project manager, graphic designer, copywriter, web developer, social media manager, digital marketing team, and dashboard/reporting experts. All of these people need to see the plan and the goals ahead. Each can deliver better results if they know what they are striving for. The goals for the social media manager might be tied to creating content that is engaging, so engagement rate is what that person would measure. The graphic designer will be supporting the engagement results by creating the content that supports the concepts.

The marketing plan should include: 

  • Executive Summary
  • Situational Analysis
  • Target Market
  • SWOT
  • Personas 
  • Campaigns/Concepts
  • Channels
  • Marketing Goals
  • Budget