Difference between Marketing Strategy and Plan

difference between marketing strategy and plan

Let’s clear out a common misunderstanding

In the “5 things will change the way you approach brand strategy”, I suggest 5 best practices to consider when planning a strategy related to your Brand.

I also revealed in advance the difference between Brand Strategy and Marketing Strategy. If you missed that, you could read the article here.

Today I’m going to explain, instead, the difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Plan of actions.

Let’s diving in!

What is a Marketing Strategy?

It is an action plan that identifies and coordinates the achievement of business objectives and defines how to identify the target to be conquered and achieve good competitive positioning.

You can develop a marketing strategy in 5 steps:

  1. Analysis of market opportunities through SWOT analysis or Porter’s five forces, a market segmentation based on geographic, demographic, psychographic (interests, hobbies and opinions) and behavioural data;
  2. Definition of the target
  3. Positioning of your offer through a value proposition;
  4. Determination of action plans (Marketing Mix)
  5. Control and review your offer and the effectiveness of the actions taken

There are 4 strategies for defining the target audience (from the most generic to the most specific):

  • Undifferentiated marketing strategy: mass marketing, ignoring the differences of the various segments, the same offer
  • Differentiated marketing: segmented marketing, specific offers for certain segments
  • Concentrated marketing: niche marketing, conquering one or more segments (“niches”) with a large share
  • Micromarketing: meeting the preferences of individuals or local groups

Which strategy is best to adopt depends on the company’s resources, the homogeneity and stage of the product life cycle, the homogeneity of the market, and competitors’ marketing strategies.

Marketing Strategy example. Case study: Coca-Cola

Marketing strategy example. case study: coca-cola

Let’s examine the Coca-Cola strategy and how they apply different approaches based on the market’s data.

Market segmentation. It mainly relies on two variables to segment its market: geographic and demographic data. People’s needs change depending on the climate and, above all, on the country’s culture. (in Asia, people are more used to drinking tea instead of soft drinks);

Target. Coca-Cola used to target young customers, aged between 10 and 35 years. Coca-cola drinks are always present in schools and universities because it is a take-away drink, refreshing and low-cost. As well as in his advertisements, we always see famous pop stars among young people, they drink a bottle or a can of Coca-Cola. It also addresses the middle class, families and students;

Value proposition. An offer of high benefits at medium prices. Its high-quality products prices are affordable and within reach of families and students. Whoever buys a Coca-Cola drink will undoubtedly continue to buy it because it manages to put a smile on anyone’s mouth.

Strategies: Coca-Cola applies Differentiated marketing (differences between market segments, for example, Coca-Cola Light is more designed for females and the American region, while Coca-Cola Zero for males and especially in Europe) and Undifferentiated Marketing (some products are offered on the market in the same world worldwide)

What is, instead, a Marketing Plan or Plan of Actions?

The marketing plan is a road map that contains the strategy and operational actions implemented by the company to achieve its business objectives.

Its purpose is to direct, coordinate and monitor all the marketing activities that the company execute or plans to carry out in a given period. Without distinction of your brand, product or service, we can say that the marketing plan aims to help the business achieve its goals by various and concrete actions.

It is also vital to continuously monitoring and analysing these actions to understand if any change is necessary.

Often it is the result of a joint work of the marketing department and can see the participation of the sales, communication and production team, especially in large companies. To build an effective marketing plan, it is necessary to have a complete vision of the marketing procedures to understand which tools, among all those available, are useful for achieving the objectives.

The mother of the strategy is Inbound Marketing, which put the base for all other methods. In the following article, I will talk about SEO, its benefit and how to implement it in your communication channel.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or comment in the box below. I’ll answer you asap.

Valeria Di Lonardo

Digital Marketer Freelancer| Ita & Eng| I help professionals and small businesses find the simplest way to boost their activity.

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