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What’s the Difference Between a Business Marketing Strategy and Branding?

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Do You Have a Business Marketing Strategy or a Marketing Plan?

Marketing strategy and marketing plans are two different-but-related things. One way to think about it is that a strategy covers the big picture while the plan executes through finer details. Let’s look at a theoretical example.

Say you have a local small business that sells hardware. Your marketing strategy will dictate the key factors that impact your success: local market, brick-and-mortar competition, online competition, value proposition. In this case, let’s suppose that your local hardware store services a community within a five-mile radius and faces competition from a big box store and online stores. However, your value proposition stems from the fact that you have a knowledgeable staff and offer repair/consultation unavailable at the big box store.

That’s the strategy. It identifies the foundation of where you’re headed and why. Now that you know those things, how will you address them to get more customers? That’s where the marketing plan comes into play. In this case, the marketing plan could entail many different things based on budget: specifically targeted TV and print ads, local-based SEO on a revamped website, and a social media campaign to engage the community.

In other words, the marketing strategy looks at WHAT you want to achieve and the marketing plan looks at HOW you’re going to do it. Both are integral to your overall success, and one certainly needs the other in order to power your business to a larger customer base and higher revenue.

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By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.

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7 Steps to Having a Digital Marketing Plan Workbook

Get actionable tips for how to build your digital marketing strategy so you can grow your brand and your revenue.