Marketing Strategy VS Marketing Plan: What’s the Difference?

A marketing strategy and a marketing plan are often defined as the same notion, but they are not. So what is the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy?

The marketing strategy describes the approach you are going to use the reach your goals, through marketing actions. Logically, your overall business goals orchestrate the marketing strategy.

The marketing plan lays out the specifics of how you will execute your strategy. It is like the roadmap of your journey to achieving the pre-defined marketing goals.

In a nutshell, the marketing strategy articulates “how” you will fulfil your goals, while the marketing plan describes exactly “what” has to be fulfilled.

Thus, your marketing strategy and your marketing plan go hand-in-hand. Both are essential for the wellness and growth of your business perspectives.

Once you have decided on the marketing objectives and the strategy you will employ to reach them, you will have to plan and implement the actions to make this strategy a reality.

The marketing plan is a detailed document that synthetizes:

  • The balance sheet of the past period
  • Marketing objectives
  • The main orientations
  • A detailed action plan
  • The estimated budget
  • The year 1 balance sheet
  • The monitoring dashboard

The dashboard enables you to

  • Oversee marketing actions
  • Analyze results of marketing activities
  • Implement corrective actions if necessary

The marketing plan, including the dashboard, is an important tool that enables marketing professionals to learn from the mistakes of the past period, discontinue unsatisfactory or unprofitable actions, and acknowledge the objectives that been achieved.

Marketing Objectives

A reminder of the objectives set in your strategic marketing plan, for example,

  • Increase customer awareness of your business, brand, and products or services
  • Improve and increase the perception of your brand and your products or services
  • Increase traffic to your website;
  • Increase the conversion rate

The main orientations

Reminder of your marketing strategy according to a mix of the four key marketing factors (Product, Price, Place, Promotion).

The detailed action plan

  • Your marketing plan is not only a statement of planned actions; it also has the role of describing of the steps and including a schedule of the key tasks with a description, a deadline, and the accountable person in order to:
  • Ensure that these details are not forgotten
  • Provide a global and  comprehensive vision of the up coming actions
  • Identify the human and financial resources mobilized
  • Plan actions over time and track progress
  • Involve and motivate teams by assigning specific roles to each member.

The Estimated Budget

The Operational Marketing Plan presents the budget allocated to each action according to specifications or precise cost estimations that reflect reality as much as possible so that unpleasant surprises can be avoided.
Each task is a full-blown expense  and your software should be able to display a dynamic overview of how your budget is distributed over the determined period.
A software solution like Excel allows you to create complex spreadsheets with a lot of features, and that is great. But you would probably prefer a collaborative tool that is more dynamic, pleasant to use and optimized for live teamwork, wouldn’t you?

The Monitoring Dashboard

The dashboard makes following monthly actions easier. The dashboard is a tool for analysis and reframing if the chosen actions do not work as predicted.
A good marketing plan strategy will allow you to identify your mistakes, learn from them and develop a better plan for the upcoming years.

Want to read more about this topic? Learn how to create an efficient marketing plan and a marketing business plan.