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Issue April 2003                               "Keeping Businesses Moving Towards Success"

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WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MARKETING STRATEGY AND A MARKETING PLAN?

Quite often people get confused about the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

We define marketing strategy as . . . "a simple statement as to your overall plan for attracting prospects, and converting them into first-time customers, and then lifetime, repeat customers."  In other words, 'How are you going to make money?'

Your marketing plan is just a more detailed description of your marketing strategy. First comes the 'general' -- your marketing strategy -- then comes the 'specifics' -- your marketing plan.

The truth is, every business owner already has a marketing strategy whether he or she is aware of it or not. The minute you begin taking action -- any action -- to generate sales, you have a marketing strategy. The action you take is your marketing strategy.

The important question is . . . 'how effective is that marketing strategy?'

If your general plan of action is . . . "to spend a lot of money on 'Awareness' ads to get your name out into the marketplace," then that is your marketing strategy. It's an incredibly costly, inefficient and ineffective strategy, but it's a marketing strategy nonetheless.

If your general plan of action is . . ."to promote the features and benefits of your product or service to a specifically targeted market," then that is your marketing strategy which will produce good results because you are effectively targeting prospects who are more like to buy your product or service.

Since you now know that a marketing strategy is your general plan for generating sales, it must be obvious that it is impossible to be in business and not have a marketing strategy. You can't generate sales without having any idea of how you are going to generate those sales.

To determine exactly what your current marketing strategy is, simply answer the following questions in as few words as possible:

1. What is your general method for attracting prospects to your business?

2. What is your general method for converting prospects into first-time customers?

3. What is your general method for getting repeat sales from your current customers?


Once you have your marketing strategy spelled out, you are then in a perfect position to ask yourself how satisfied you are with the results you are now achieving from each part of your strategy. 

Only by questioning yourself about the effectiveness of your current strategy can you open yourself to a much more effective and profitable strategy.  


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*Article by Patricia Kopp.  Visit www.creativeBUSINESSworks.com for more original content on marketing tips, sales strategies and business success.
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