At any stage of a business, careful planning is necessary to establish and meet marketing, business development and growth goals.
When defining your marketing objectives, you must have both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan that provides a clear road map for how to implement that strategy.
In the context of your business, a marketing plan is not the same thing as a marketing strategy. In essence, a marketing strategy is what you plan to do to market and grow your business. A marketing plan lays out the specific steps you’re going to take to get your message out and make that growth happen. Without a marketing strategy, you’ll have no identifiable goals for your marketing plan. Without a plan, your strategy will go nowhere. Both strategy and plan should complement each other in every way possible.
Develop a marketing strategy
Put together your marketing strategy first. Examine your business, explore your marketing options and decide what you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts over a specified period of time, such as six months or a fiscal quarter. Include and evaluate factors, such as:
- A detailed description and definition of your business
- A thorough description of your products or services
- A biography or profile of your typical target customers
- An assessment of your company in comparison with your competitors
Your marketing strategy establishes that you’re starting at point A and want to go to point B. It lets you know where you stand in relation to your competitors and what obstacles they could present.
Develop a marketing plan
When you know your strategy, build the plan.
- Decide what concrete, actionable, measurable steps you’re going to take to move your business from point A to point B.
- Be as specific as possible. Instead of saying “offer some specials,” define the special. For example, “Implement a summer half-off club membership for new customers.”
- Schedule action on the steps in your plan and track your progress against goals.
- Review your marketing plan and strategy briefly every day to make sure you’re on track and following through with your plan.
Does your marketing plan effectively support your marketing strategy?
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