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The Difference Between Marketing Plans and Marketing Strategy

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Trying to conquer the marketing game is hard enough. So when marketing terms get interchanged and misused. Two common phrases I see used both simultaneously and interchangeably are Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan. 

While they both involve thinking about and planning what you will do with your marketing, they solve two very different problems. Today, we will break down the differences between these two and how they apply to your business.

I am excited to bring an interview that I recently participated in. Somebody interviewed me, which was very exciting. I wanted to share that interview with you, where we talked about the importance of developing a marketing plan.

We also discuss the differences between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. You often hear those two terms and those two titles interchange, but they are slightly different. And in this interview, I broke down the difference between the two, and I wanted to make sure that you heard this message.

So I hope you enjoy this interview, and at the end, I will give some more information about who my guest host is. That way, you can get to know him as well in his expertise. So thanks for listening, and I appreciate the support.

[Host] 1:02 So, first question, why is it so important to have a marketing plan? Why can’t businesses just stay in the moment and post what is current and top of mind?

[Philippa] You know, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with staying current, staying top of mind, and being able to have fresh content, to what’s relevant to what’s happening. But it’s so valuable and essential for a business to have a solid marketing plan as a foundation, as a blueprint. So they know really where their marketing goals and expectations are, and it starts with the business.

Creating a marketing plan allows you to get back to the focus of the business, the mission, the vision, why the company exists, and the business goals. And then, from there, we can develop a solid marketing plan. And then, once we develop a marketing plan, we can figure out, okay, the goal we can focus on the most right now. A goal that focuses on what we’re doing for marketing, what we’re promoting to the world, and how you develop a marketing campaign to support that goal.

And it helps too. It gives you some clarity on the messages that you’re delivering. It helps organize the content that you’re delivering. It keeps people from the risk of just being scattered and constantly like, oh my gosh, I haven’t posted this week. I need to post something. Let me post something now. What do I do? We want to avoid that moment and have a plan ahead of time.

[Host] 2:35 So mentioned two things in your response, a marketing plan and a marketing campaign. So what’s the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing campaign for a business to be successful?

[Philippa] Well, see a marketing plan as explained. It’s the blueprint, the foundation of, you know, where we’re going. It’s based on your business goals. And your business goals, sometimes, you know, may not be achievable for the next year or three months, but marketing should be supporting those plans and those goals.

So what we do for a marketing campaign is to take one of those goals, focus and narrow down on it and say, okay, how can marketing support this particular goal? And so we develop a very strategic plan of what content should be created, what platforms should be used, what channels should be used, what type of content it should be video or podcast or a blog post.

You know, we go through all of that, and we determine what’s the best way to meet that goal. And we also determine, you know, how often, like, so if we’re working for the next three months, how often should we do a main piece of content? How often should we have social media to support that piece of content?

And so a campaign really gets very more, very, more granular. So the picture of the marketing plan is 30,000 level feet looking at, you know, what we want to accomplish the campaign gets lower and more detailed and gives you an idea of how we get to talk about what should you post when you should post it, and where you should post it.

[Host] 4:10 How often should a business do a marketing plan and a marketing campaign? Like how far out in advance should you plan?

[Philippa] Now, when it comes to a marketing plan, I like to say, you know, once you do a marketing plan, good, the first time, that’s your you’re set for a while. Now each year, you should still be revisiting that marketing plan. So don’t, just think, okay, I can create it once. And then, five years from now, maybe I’ll do another one. Your marketing should still be reviewed and refreshed each year to ensure that the marketing team is really focusing on the right goals because a business grows and develops a lot in a year. And so, the goals that you established when you wrote the marketing plan may not be the same a year from now. So we want a marketing plan to kind of be refreshed for at least a year.

Now, marketing campaigns, on the other hand, I like to get granular with those campaigns and those plans of content and strategies only at a three. Level the court like each quarter. And that’s because marketing and social media, digital media, it’s constantly changing. There are new platforms developed there are platforms that are changing and adding features. And you want to make sure that you’re always on top of those new changes and utilizing those best features. And so, going more out further than three months, you may risk the chance of planning a big strategy around, uh, platforms and tools that are now going to be outdated four months from now.

And so that’s why I suggest, always stick to at least a three-month plan. And then that way, the next three months from after that can be fresh and new, and we have.

All right. Thank you so much, Sumair, for taking the time to interview me and asking me these pointed questions about marketing and really getting to the heart of the difference between marketing plans and marketing strategy.

Guys, I want to introduce you to Sumair. If you don’t know him, you really need to check him out. Sumair Abro. He is dynamic and innovative high performing. Cultural development professional with 20 years of experience and a proven track record of hands-on management, consulting, training, and entrepreneurship experience in a lot of places from North America, the United Kingdom, and Asia.

Now, the organization that he founded, Inner Gauge Consulting, is a business consulting. Training and business networking firm that’s located in the DC Baltimore area. So I highly recommend you check him out for help with your own business. Suppose you are looking to grow and expand professionalism and just what your business can do. In that case, he can change your organization in many ways.

And, if you’re looking for a great networking organization, NIA Network In Action, he coordinates the chapter I am involved in, and he does an amazing job there. And it’s been a great organization to meet new people, get connected with other business owners, and really just grow my business. So I highly recommend you check both him and his organization out.

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