Do you need a marketing strategy before you create a marketing plan?
The terms marketing plan and marketing strategy are two separate elements of your business. Marketing strategy is what you need to achieve with your marketing efforts, and it reflects your business goal. A marketing plan is how you achieve those business goals, and it is the practical implementation of your marketing strategy. Both the marketing plan and marketing strategy are important elements because they both are used to promote and grow your business.
Why do you need a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan for your business?
You must know the “what” of your market before knowing the “how” to stop wasting your both time and money. Once you know what strategy you need to achieve, you will be better able to decide how to reach those goals. For example, you operate a business that creates gaming apps and wants to increase its revenue. You decide to reach a new marketing segment. To effectively reach new customers that would be interested in purchasing its app, for this you need both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan for this business.
Goal: Reach new customers and influence them to adopt your service
Marketing strategy: Appeal to older consumers by showing that this app is easier to use than competitors.
Marketing plan: Build commercials for showing how easy it is for children to use this app.
You can choose to create advertising like printed advertorials or radio spots, without having a marketing strategy, but that can't effectively show your audiences how easy it is to use this app compared to competitors' apps. By creating a marketing strategy first, the business can make a marketing plan that effectively reaches a new market segment to trust and use this app.
What does a Marketing Strategy look like?
At the time of building your marketing strategy, you should identify your:
Goals: Describe the short-and long-term goals of the marketing initiative, and how they come in contact with your overall business goals.
Target market: You should know what consumers you are trying to reach, what are their core beliefs, what affects their decision-making process and what are the challenges they face.
Competitors: You must know who your competitors are, their market position, strengths and weaknesses.
External marketing message: Find out how you will solve your customers’ problems in a way that aligns with their values.
Internal positioning goal: Find out what makes you different from your competitors and why customers should believe in you.
If you don’t know about your position in the market in relation to your competitors, you should perform a situation analysis. It will help you to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats of your business. Knowing how your brand is perceived relative to competitors will permit you to make a more complete and effective marketing strategy.
Using your Marketing Strategy and Plan
Once you have made your marketing strategy, you can use it to create a detailed marketing plan that will achieve your specific goals.
When you translate your marketing strategy into a marketing plan, be specific about when to decide what, how, and why you're going to interact with your clients. The more specific you are in your planning, the simpler it will be to follow through with effective implementation.