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Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans: What’s the Difference?

Clare Froggatt outsourced marketing director
Clare Froggatt
Clare Froggatt

Before you spend hours setting up an expensive marketing campaign, you should know what the difference between marketing strategies and marketing plans is. Both are important to grow your business in the right way and develop a strong brand. Let’s run you through how to use them to your advantage…

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy defines your brand’s overarching goal and the approach you take to your marketing.

Marketing strategies should outline how to promote your company’s products and services in a way that stands out from the crowd. The goal is to turn prospective customers into long-term, loyal customers.

Creating a solid marketing strategy will keep you aligned with your goals throughout every campaign. Include your value proposition to explain what your company stands for and what your mission is.

What is a marketing plan?

Marketing plans take the essence of the marketing strategies and turns into an actionable, short-term guide to apply to your brand campaigns. It’s a practical plan that your team can use to organise the day-to-day marketing tasks.

 

Break down tasks into monthly, weekly, and even daily tasks. A good marketing plan should look ahead to the next three months and give you an idea of all key milestones within that time.

 

A great example would be creating a marketing plan for an upcoming website launch. Before hand, you should include social media and email marketing promotion to create a buzz around your brand. Include detail of each task to your marketing plan to help you to keep on top of everything.

 

Include key performance indicators (KPIs) into your marketing plan to track and measure your progress. It could be X amount of new social media followers or traffic to your website. Having specific targets is a great way of seeing if you’re meeting your goals on a regular basis.

How often should you review marketing strategies and plans?

As your marketing strategies are for the bigger-picture things, it’s unlikely your main company goals and value proposition will change all the time.

If you have a big overhaul of your products and services, you should look at reviewing your strategy again. Otherwise, once a year should be often enough.

With your marketing plan, these are much shorter-term guides that you should review quarterly.

Growth marketing strategies

A growth marketing strategy focuses on building great customer relationships and creating loyalty. It gives you the opportunity to be continuously learning from your audience to tweak your marketing message. This will hugely support your brand image and reputation.

Adopting growth marketing methods can also help to improve customer experiences, as you will be more in tune to listen to their needs.

Growth marketing strategies can help to complement your company goals and to grow your business in the right way. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, you’re being intentional with your marketing.

There are various growth marketing methods, but the STP method is great for you to build a strong brand foundation.

What is the STP marketing method?

STP stands for Segment, Tool, and Position. It’s a three-step approach to getting in front of the right people in your audience with the right message.

Applying the STP method can allow you to build better service/products, reduce your marketing costs, and improve customer engagement.

Let’s unpack each section in more detail…

Segment

First off, you should create segments by separating your audience into different categories. Through segmentation, you can target your marketing attempts at different groups of customers easier.

You do this by identifying key traits in your customers and grouping their similarities together, such as –

  • Where they’re based (geography)
  • What type of person they are (demographics)
  • What their buying patterns and triggers are (behaviour)
  • Who they are as people (psychography)

Tool

Create a tool to decide which segments you should pursue. It will help you to work out how to target each of your segments according to your marketing strategies.

Consider your demand analysis and which customers could potentially bring in a higher profit. Have a tool to things review like –

  • The size of your audience – does the segment have enough potential customers?
  • The difference between segments – are there measurable differences to make it worth testing both segments?
  • The reachability of the audience – can your team access the audience without any complications?
  • The potential profits – will people buy your product? Is the customer acquisition cost (CAC) low enough to bring in a good return on investment (ROI)?
  • The benefits you are focusing on – will your audience resonate with your key benefits?

You can score the different aspects in your tool against each segment to spot the best trends and opportunities.

Position

Now you’re ready to use your insights from your audience analysis to your advantage. You need to work out the best position for your brand to approach your campaigns and marketing strategies for each segment.

To do this, you need to step into the customer’s shoes. See your products, services, and brand from their eyes. The aim is to position these things in a way that connects your audience to you and primes them to buy.

For good brand positioning, you need to consider how to bring together what your brand stands for and what your customers care about.

You can approach this in a few ways. You can position yourself based on –

  • the value you provide – value-based positioning
  • the features/benefits of your products – product-based positioning
  • the location you sell in – situational positioning
  • how you compare to competitors – competitive positioning

Always use your customer data and marketing strategies to decide the best approach for your business. For each type of positioning, you need a toolkit for brand differentiation to stand out from the crowd.

Using marketing strategies to attract the right audience

To stay ahead of your competition, combine STP growth marketing strategies with a solid brand identity. At Make a Brew, we love all things branding! If you’re stuck on how to improve your brand’s online presence and bring great marketing results, get in touch – let’s make your Brand #Boom!

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