Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

It’s never too late to start thinking about your marketing strategy and marketing plans for your business. These two ideas work together to move your business forward and get the predictable results you want. But how do you distinguish between the two?

Marketing Strategy
Strategy first, plan second!  Your strategy should be the first thing you think about to get the best outcome for your business.
 
A strategy focuses on your overall goals for your business - long-term and short-term goals.
  • What is the overall vision or mission for your business?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years or next year?
You should create this strategy at least once a year as you reevaluate your business goals.
Consider the calendar year - your strategy should be attached to industry calendar cycles. There are certain events - conferences, conventions, other industry events - that occur annually. So, plan a strategy according to your industry calendar year.
 
Next, your strategy should help you to differentiate yourself.
  • How is your business different from other businesses?
  • What do you provide that is different from your competition?
Research will help you become aware of what your competitors are doing. So if you decide you want to become the cutting edge authority within your industry, that will be what differentiates you from your competition.
 
Marketing Plan
Alright, now you have an awesome marketing strategy - how do you get there?
How do you achieve these goals?
 
Your marketing plan consists of your day to day operations. The marketing plan has all the dates, activities, and deadlines that you create based on your strategy.
 
For example, if you want to start a podcast, there are certain things you need to consider. You will need to think about the date you want to start the podcast, the content plan, who you will interview, what are the topics discussed - the podcasts need to lead customers to your business and ultimately, to a sale.
 
If you want achieve predictable results from your marketing efforts and get where you want to go -
  • Think about your strategy and lay it out on a calendar showing what it is you want to do and when to do it
  • Then create the plan to make that strategy happen
The first step in creating any of your marketing is developing your key objectives. 
Your marketing has to be set up to accomplish those objectives.  Here's an article that will shine some more light on that concept:  Developing Key Objectives for Your Small Business