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Daily Archives

August 28, 2015

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

By | Marketing

Page Header - Marketing

What’s the difference between the two?

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse the difference of a marketing strategy¬†vs marketing plan.

I’ve found the easiest way to explain the difference is like this:

Marketing Strategy – Your marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you need to achieve with your marketing efforts. (What) Your marketing strategy is shaped by your business goals. Your business goals and your marketing strategy should go hand-in-hand.

Marketing Plan – Your marketing plan is how you are going to achieve those marketing goals. (How) it’s the application of your strategy a roadmap that will guide you from one point to another.

The issue is that most people try to set out to achieve the “how” without first knowing the “what.” This can end up wasting resources for a company, both time and money.

When it comes to marketing, we must always identify the what and then dig into the how. If you remember one sentence from this article, it’s this one:

Strategy is the thinking and planning is the doing. Here is an example of how the two work together:

Example:

Objective: To gain broader market adoption.
Marketing Strategy: Introduce into new market segments.
Marketing Plan: Develop marketing campaign that reaches out, identifies with and focuses on that specific segment.

A successful formula that can be used to further explain the importance on marketing strategy and marketing planning looks like this:

Marketing Strategy —> Marketing Plan —> Implementation = Success

  • Your marketing strategy consists of:

    The “what” has to be done.

    Inform consumers about the product or service being offered.

    Inform consumers of differentiation factors.

  • Your marketing plan consists of:

    The “how” to do it.

    Construct marketing campaigns and promotions that will achieve the “what” in your strategy.

  • Your implementation consists of:

    Taking action to achieve items identified in marketing strategy and marketing plan.

If you are preparing your marketing strategy and your marketing plan to go into your business plan these are the components that must go into each section:

Components of Your Marketing Strategy

  • External Marketing Message
  • Internal Positioning Goal
  • Short Term Goals and Objectives
  • Long Term Goals and Objectives

Components of Your Marketing Plan

  • Executive Summary – High level summary of your marketing plan.
  • Your Challenge – Brief description of products / services to be marketed and a recap of goals identified in your marketing strategy.
  • Situation Analysis – This section should identify the following:
    • Goals
    • Focus
    • Culture
    • Strengths
    • Weaknesses
    • Market Share
  • Analysis of Your Customer – How many customers would you like to strive for? What type of customers are they? What are the values that drive them? What does their decision process look like? What customers will you focus on for the products or services that you offer?
  • Analysis of Your Competitors – What’s your marketing position? What’s their market position? What are your strengths when it comes to your competitors? What are your weaknesses? What market share are you going after? What market share has your competitor already tapped?
  • Identification of your 4 P’s (Product / Price / Distribution / Place)
  • Summary – Summary of above and how you will use this information to achieve the goals you have identified in your marketing strategy. Be specific – the more specific actions you have the easier it will to follow through on the last step which is implementation. As you can see your marketing strategy goes hand-in-hand in with your marketing plan. Without both you will find that you not only waste resources, but that you could also end up stuck without an idea of where to go. Another key point is don’t forget to measure any marketing campaigns that you launch in order to see what works and what doesn’t. You can use this information to guide you in the future.
Consider leveraging the advice and expertise of The Creative Ninja. Contact me today to partner with me to help develop your marketing strategy and plan. It’s quick and quotations are always free!
What Is Branding

What Is Branding?

By | Identity & Branding

What Is BrandingLearn what branding means and what you can do to create a brand for your company.

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think so you can build a brand that they can relate to.

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  • Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
  • Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
  • Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
  • Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  • Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
  • Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  • Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be a tedious and complex task and a drain on your time, consider leveraging the expertise of The Creative Ninja to partner with you. Contact me today to see how The Creative Ninja will partner with you to build a brand to be proud of.