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Understanding The Differences Between A Business Plan and Marketing Strategy

Business Plan vs. Marketing Strategy

For business owners or other company leaders, understanding the differences between having a business plan and a marketing strategy are two critical elements that should be at the forefront of your business. While these terms may sound synonymous, they are built and reflected differently throughout successful companies. 

Several key stakeholders should be aware of the business plan to ensure alignment and effective execution. These include the executive team (CEO, COO, CFO), senior management (department heads, managers, and team leaders), Board of Directors, key employees, and advisors or consultants. Ensuring these stakeholders know and understand the business plan promotes alignment, accountability, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals.

What Is A Business Plan?

A business plan serves as the blueprint for your business. It can include your vision and mission statements, services you offer, accountability chart, SOPs, financials, sales, and marketing plans. Consider it the “big picture” or roadmap to success that guides all other aspects of your business. 

What Should Be Included In Your Business Plan:

  • Executive Summary: A succinct overview of the business, its mission, and its unique value proposition.
  • Market Analysis: A detailed assessment of the industry landscape, target market demographics, and competitors.
  • Company Description: A narrative describing the nature of the business, its products or services, and organizational structure.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: A strategic approach to promoting and selling products or services to target customers.
  • Financial Projections: Forecasts of revenue, expenses, and cash flow over a defined period, typically three to five years.

Your business plan will ultimately set your team up for success. When creating this plan, consider your industry and what your clients care most about—ensure all that information lives within it! 

How Is A Marketing Strategy Different From Your Business Plan?

On the other hand, your marketing strategy is only a piece of your business plan. It zooms in on the tactics and techniques you will employ to grow your business. It’s a dynamic roadmap delineating how to effectively market your products or services to your target audience, leveraging channels, messaging, and campaigns.

Key Elements of A Marketing Strategy Include: 

  • Target market
  • The “how” to achieve your marketing goals
  • Target audience definition
  • Goals & objectives
  • Product, price, place, and promotion
  • Social media, keywords, and advertising
  • Identifying your ideal audience and where they are 
  • Budget and KPIs

Why Are Both Essential To Your Business?

Your business plan and marketing strategy are intertwined but essential for different reasons. A well-crafted business plan provides the strategic framework and direction for the entire organization. By aligning the marketing strategy with the broader business objectives outlined in the plan, every marketing initiative becomes purposeful and contributes to the overarching goals.

“As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ‘steer the ship.’ Having a well-documented business plan not only makes it easier for your team to understand your vision and expectations but also helps any partner to jump in and help execute. The most successful marketing programs I have participated in are those based on collaboration and trust. When the client sets the goals and vision, our team can create the roadmap for getting there!” – Jenna Sherrick, Senior Marketing Manager

Thinking big picture, a business plan sets up more than just your marketing up for success. Business plans eliminate internal conflict by reducing confusion and getting your team thinking with one goal in mind. Successful teams work together in harmony when they know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and for what purpose or end goal. It can also be a great resource for new leadership employees during the onboarding process. 

Employing Marketing Strategy In Real Life

Evolve Systems has managed the marketing strategy and website development for KeyeStrategies and Poised for Exit for over five years. During our time with this client, we have seen their online engagement grow, which is a positive sign that the marketing is “working.” 

Our team works directly with the KeyeStrategies project manager on strategy and implementation, with monthly status reports, quarterly planning, and weekly check-ins. All of these initiatives have enabled a small firm to do BIG things! Speaking of big things, our team was recently tasked with merging the Poised for Exit website with the primary website, KeyeStrategies. We created a landing page to connect the two websites seamlessly.

A business plan and a marketing strategy are the building blocks for a strong foundation for your organization. But, business owners must recognize the differences between the two and the role each plays in driving sustainable growth and success. By synergizing these two pillars, businesses can confidently navigate the complexities of the marketplace, ultimately realizing their full potential and achieving enduring prosperity.

Get Started On Your Marketing Strategy

At Evolve, we love working with business owners and other organization members as a key player in your marketing strategy. Our team of experts wants to guide you through all the areas of marketing and website development to reach your full potential. If you are looking for a partner in your marketing strategy, let’s start the conversation today!