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Strategies and Plans – how they differ and why you need both

strategy and planning

At a time when your marketing must work harder than ever, Nicole Martin, from Pinpoint Marketing lifts the lid on strategy and planning documents – deciphering the differences and explaining why your business needs both.

Written by Nicole Martin from Pinpoint Marketing

What is the difference between a Strategy and a Plan?

Your strategy establishes the foundations of your business and enables you to know (or get to know) your messaging, competition, target audience, goals and market. It’s your understanding of your business’s ‘why’.

Your plan is the detail, focus and direction of your strategy turned into tactics which you then implement.

Tactics are the marketing channels you will use to execute your strategy, such as networking, direct mail, emailing, advertising and so on. These tactics need implementing in a logical step-by-step way to maximise your resources, time, and budget – ideally they should be managed and measured to ensure return on investment (ROI).


How they work together

In simple terms your strategy is your why and your plan is your what and when.

Having a strategy is like having foundations to build upon, just like you would with a house.  From a solid foundation you can build and execute your plan. So, it’s essential to have both or you’ll soon find your plans falling apart.


Why you need both a strategy and plan

How many times have you wanted to press fast-forward in your business?

Many clients I speak with naturally want to fast-forward to the shiny stuff e.g., the website, social media campaign or printed brochure. I understand the excitement and passion to have this marketing material to showcase and promote your business, but without sounding like the ‘fun police’, you cannot have the shiny stuff without doing the groundwork first and laying out your foundations.

So next time you want to press the fast-forward button, press pause first – check in with your strategy and then work through your plans step-by-step.


In summary

Your strategy and planning document is the marketing gift that keeps giving.

They are tangible, living documents which should be flexible and able to adapt as your business evolves, so they are well worth investing in.


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