Every significant undertaking starts with a strategy and requires a plan. That’s everything from baking the perfect loaf of sourdough bread to marketing your business.
Granted, one is slightly more complex than the other (have you ever actually tried making sourdough from scratch!), but the general concept is the same.
If you think marketing strategy and planning are one and the same, you can be forgiven for the confusion. The two words are often used interchangeably.
But, they do have very clear differences.
Today, we use examples from our two favourite disciplines – marketing and baking – to set the record straight.
The Difference Between Marketing Strategy And Planning
The Big Picture vs The Details
First to our trusty online dictionary!
According to the Oxford dictionary, a strategy is “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.” It also defines strategy as “the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle.”
And planning? Not such an insightful one here: “the process of making plans for something.” Well duh.
Let’s help them out a little:
Strategy is a high-level outline of what needs to be done to meet an objective. To put it plainly, it’s more focused on the “why” and is all about the big picture.
Planning is the detailed list of the things you must do to reach said goal. It deals with practical things like when, where, who, what and how.
Let’s go with the bread example. Maybe you want to save money by baking artisan-style bread at home instead of driving to the bakery to buy it. Your strategy first needs to ensure you can meet your goal.
Will it actually be cheaper to buy your own ingredients and use electricity to bake bread? Where can you buy the cheapest supplies to ensure you save the most money? Will it be more time-efficient to do in a breadmaker or in the oven? And how much money (and time) might you waste trying to get it just right?
Your bread-baking strategy will outline all the factors involved to ensure you do indeed save money, and it’s worth the investment. It gives you parameters to work within.
The Baking Plan
Then it’s onto stage two – planning.
After your strategy has pinpointed the most cost-efficient and time-efficient way to bake bread, it’s time to plan the actual baking part, which is essentially your recipe. Your plan describes exactly HOW you will achieve the goal outlined by your strategy. I.e. I’ll bake one loaf of bread once a week on a Sunday afternoon using ingredients I’ve purchased from the bulk bin shop following this fail-safe recipe.
If you try and skip strategy and go straight to planning, you could make costly mistakes due to not scoping out all the relevant factors first. Conversely, if you get stuck on strategy and fail to plan, you will never get around to enjoying freshly-baked bread!
Strategising And Planning Your Marketing
When it comes to marketing, these two stages can make magic together. Your marketing strategy captures your purpose, looks at your environment, your competition, your target audience and your offerings, plus sets your direction. It’s your overarching “why.”
The marketing plan flows organically from this. It’s the roadmap outlining exactly what route you will take to reach your objectives, including where, when, who, how, and what.
Sometimes, forming those two parts of your marketing can be hard to do when you are in the midst of trying to do business. Luckily, that is my particular area of expertise and I can help you form a strategy and actionable marketing plan that supports it.
Why not jump on a free discovery call with me now and see how a solid marketing strategy and plan can help your business cook up the perfect results! Book a convenient time to chat here.