Marketing Plan or Marketing Strategy? Or plan at all? Running a successful business is not like a field of dreams; you can build it but will they come?

 Marketing is all about promoting your product or service to potential clients, and persuading them to buy or use it. And for effective marketing you have to let people know about your product or service over and over. To do this, you’re going to have to come up with both a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

What’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?

The marketing strategy contains the overall business goals. It includes a definition of your business, a description of your products or services, a profile of your target users or clients, and defines your company’s role in relationship to the competitive landscape. The marketing strategy is the framework of your specific marketing plans.

The marketing plan is the application of your marketing strategy – includes selling proposition, pricing strategy, the sales and distribution plan and your plans for promotion.

You really can’t have a marketing plan without a marketing strategy and a marketing plan without a  strategy is a waste of time. The marketing strategy provides the goals for your marketing plans. It tells you where you want to go from here. The marketing plan is the specific roadmap that’s going to get you there.

Every business, small or large should have a business plan, and in it a marketing plan. A good marketing plan summarizes the who, what, where, when, and how much questions of company activities for the planning year, such as Who are target buyers, what sources of positioning in the market, where will we implement our marketing spending, and How much sales and profits will we achieve.

Many startups will try to cross the finish line first and head straight for a website and marketing collateral. Then, when they are struggling in obtaining new clients, will wonder why. Have a plan. When you go on vacation, do you just jump in the car and hope for the best? Doubtful. Most people develop a plan and a budget. They know when they’re leaving and returning, they use a map. They know how they’re getting there and what the goal is. Business strategizing is no different.