Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan – What’s the Difference?

The best way to get strategy versus plan straight is to realize that you need to develop goals (strategy) before you can create a plan of action to reach those goals. First, you come up with the strategy and goals, and then using the goals, you will create the plan. They go together, and you need both to be successful when marketing your business.

Here's an example:

Marketing strategy: Increase email subscribers to market XYZ product

Marketing plan: Create and promote a freebie report targeted toward a specific audience for the purposes of increasing email list subscriptions.

You have to know what you want to do before you can determine how you're going to do it. This is why creating a marketing plan is an important part of owning a successful business. Come up with the right strategy so that you can create good goals, then from those goals, develop a plan of action that provides for you daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to perform toward reaching the goals and seeing the strategy through.

The step missing here is the doing. If you were to create a workflow for developing your marketing strategy and plan, it might look like this.

Define the Goals

Measurable and attainable goals spelled out. If you can't write it out, you haven't dug deep enough. Name what you want. If you plan to increase your email list subscribers, then by how many? Which list? With whom?

Identify Why

Know why you want to meet the goal. Do you know why you're building your email list? You should know that you're building it to promote XYZ product.

Create a Plan of Action

ist all the tasks you must do to reach the goal. What does it take to create a freebie? A writer, an editor, a delivery system, and promotion; what else?

Implement the Plan

Organize the plan and implement it in the order necessary to succeed. Always remember the first things first. Set the time limit or deadline, then work your way back to today to start filling in when you need to do each task.

Measure the Results

Determine if you met your goals by seeing how much you exceeded or how far you are from the measurable goal that you set.

Adjust and Improve

Throw out what isn't working and keep doing what is. If you did not reach your goal, determine why. If you did, make a new one.


Do it all over again for every goal.

Understanding the importance of understanding how you will go about meeting a goal is about as important as creating the goal. As you work through the marketing plan, you may determine that you lack skill or education. That will then determine that you need the help of some sort from a contractor or technology.

About the Author Richard Thurman

Rich Thurman’s passion is helping small businesses realize their full potential. With twenty years of real world experience in both small and large business, Rich has worked for and with both global industry leaders and small-town family-run storefronts.

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