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What Is a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is an overarching guide to how your business positions and promotes itself to prospects and customers to reach your company goals.

Consider it the roadmap that outlines your business’s fundamental approach to engaging with your audience, communicating your values (and value proposition), and driving sales. 

And your marketing strategy should be:

  • Clear

  • Concise

  • Specific 

  • Long-term

Pro tip ​​​​​

Document your marketing strategy in writing and share a copy with your team for easy reference.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan: What’s the Difference?

The terms “marketing strategy” and “marketing plan” often get mixed up. 

Here’s why:

They’re closely related concepts that both inform your marketing activities.

  • Marketing strategy definition: The big-picture vision for how you’ll achieve your business’s goals. It sets the stage for how you’ll position your brand, who you’ll target, and the brand values you’ll uphold.

  • Marketing plan definition: The step-by-step details outlining how you’ll bring your marketing strategy to life. It focuses on specific processes, tools, and tactics needed to reach your business goals.

For example:

A new energy drink company does extensive research and identifies pickleball players as its ideal customers. And a market segment that’s projected to grow. 

Then, the company formulates a marketing strategy focused on appealing to those players by promoting the idea of playfulness, having fun, and not taking life too seriously. 

From there, they develop a marketing plan that details how they’ll execute their strategy. Step by step. 

Through research and analysis, the team identifies four channels to focus their marketing efforts on that fit within their budget:

  • Social media via Instagram

  • Website via blog posts that use SEO best practices

  • Email via an existing list of subscribers

  • Paid search ads via Google Ads

The plan then details the specific actions that will drive their strategy goals. 

Such as:

  • Hire video creators to produce funny videos of people playing other sports with pickles as substitutes for traditional balls. Then, post the content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to connect with audiences and influencers on those platforms. 

  • Employ freelance writers to create blog articles optimized for keywords that pickleball players would likely search for. And write email marketing campaigns that include links to these new articles. 

  • Contract with a pay-per-click (PPC) ads expert to develop a paid search campaign for keywords related to enhancing pickleball player performance

Get the idea?

Both the strategy and the plan are crucial for success. 

Why Is a Marketing Strategy Important?

Having an established (and documented) marketing strategy provides direction that ensures all your activities are unified and working toward the same goal.

Without one, you’ll deal with wasted resources, misaligned efforts, and missed opportunities. 

The power of an effective marketing strategy lies in its ability to:

  • Drive purposeful action: It connects your marketing endeavors with overarching business objectives to ensure each initiative contributes to long-term goals

  • Foster team alignment: A marketing strategy allows all teams to rally behind a shared vision to accelerate growth, enhance sales, and improve customer retention

  • Help measure results: A clear strategy provides a framework for reviewing performance, seeing whether your tactics align, and knowing if they’re driving toward your end goal

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