You can be forgiven for thinking a ‘marketing strategy’ and a ‘marketing plan’ are the same concept. The terms ‘strategy’ and ‘plan’ are often used interchangeably (we’re guilty of that at Starbots sometimes), however they mean two different things in the marketing industry.
Think of it in these terms: when Mark Hughes sits down with his coaching staff, he won’t just be making a vague plan to win the league. He’ll be devising a number of strategies to put Stoke City in good positioning in the league tables before also making a targeted plan of attack for each upcoming match.
What is a marketing strategy?
In a previous article, we discussed how to put together a winning marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy sets out the general direction of your business, including short-term and long-term goals. It will also encompass the values, core messages, big ideas and your business philosophy. In here you’ll also find an analysis of your customers and an analysis of your product or service. It sets out what you want to achieve and the resources you have to do this.
What is a marketing plan?
Your marketing plan is going to detail how you will achieve your goals, both broadly and in-depth. It should include the type of content you’ll be producing, any themes or topics, a timeframe and the tactics you’ll be using to promote your brand messaging.
Further develop your plan to include a list of actions, each one bringing you closer to the goal identified in the strategy. Ideally, it will be well formed and thought out, broken down into sections, either by project, department, or by month. Each task should also be prioritized for maximum efficiency.
“Strategy is the thinking, and planning is the doing.” (Source)
Once you have a crystal clear strategy and a solid plan, you can pull your team together and execute your tactics. Stoke play Manchester City at the weekend; it remains to be seen whether they can execute their plan of action successfully and regain some ground after a month of draws and losses this season.