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Marketing Plan or Marketing Strategy?

For most companies we usually suggest that we develop either a Marketing Plan or Marketing Strategy, why do we do that?
Every marketing activity needs to show a good return on investment otherwise it’s not worth doing. A lot of companies carry out their marketing on a piecemeal basis, sometimes only advertising when they badly need more work. This is the worst time to go looking for new business as they might start cutting prices or taking on clients not ideally suited to their business.
Marketing needs to be done in a planned way with the chosen initiatives carefully thought through and targeted at the right people. Most importantly the activity needs to be monitored and reviewed to see what returns have been gained, what is working and what needs to be changed. This is an ongoing process and you will soon see which parts of your marketing mix works best.
Mmarketing Strategy

Marketing Plan

Sometimes it's fairly obvious what a company can do from a promotional point of view to gain new business. If this is the case we normally suggest developing a Marketing Plan, rather than a full Marketing Strategy. This will give a brief overview of the company and its services together with its USP’s (unique selling points). It will then list all the suggested initiatives such as revising the website, paid for Social Media advertising etc, but most importantly it will show exactly how the initiatives should be used. There is also a timing plan for the introduction of each initiative so that everything is done in a planned way. The activity needs to be monitored and reviewed because the Marketing Plan should always adapt to any changes that may occur i.e the economy might alter or there might be a new competitor to deal with, etc. The document is also a point of reference to see how the company is performing against the plan.

Marketing Strategy

A Marketing Strategy is a much bigger document. Before this is produced, research needs to be carried out on the company and its target market.

The strategy is normally split into three parts:

Where are you now?

This gives an overview of the company, what its products and services are, its USP’s, what marketing has already taken place and the outcomes. How the company is perceived in the market place and how it wants to be perceived. There is also a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

Where do you want to be?

This lists the company’s objectives and resources needed to achieve them.

How are you going to get there?

This is the action part of the document that details all the initiatives to be used in order to achieve the objectives already set out, together with a timing plan and planned outcomes.

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