One marketing strategy definition is that it is the broad philosophical guide that describes the process a business will follow to accomplish its stated goals. It defines the marketing approach in general terms for the business. This strategy will determine the target market, product selection and development, pricing philosophy, distribution model, and overall organizational structure. It can be thought of as the umbrella under which a marketing plan is developed.
So what is the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan? The marketing plan is the proposed detailed implementation of the marketing strategy. Here is an example of how these two concepts differ.
· A marketing strategy might state that the business will create a presence on the internet and penetrate the sporting goods market at the retail level, and will do this as inexpensively as possible, and target a defined market percentage rather than a strict profit margin.
· A marketing plan to implement that strategy might then propose to develop several niche retail websites with one selling baseball mitts, one selling golf gloves and another selling football helmets and pads. The plan might further detail that each site will utilize a dropship supplier to minimize its overhead costs and structure each site’s prices to be below the average of other competing sites.
This example, while purely fictitious, does serve to demonstrate the relationship of a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. There would certainly be further details of the implementation plan that would narrow the focus of a target market, identify advertising campaigns and create promotional materials among other things. However the main focus of the plan is to carry out the strategy. While each business’s exact marketing strategy definition will differ in specifics, each will be the broad philosophical guide that describes the process a business will follow to accomplish its commercial vision.