What is the difference between a Marketing Strategy, Plan and Campaign?

Posted Aug 1st, 2019 in Strategic Communications

What is the difference between a Marketing Strategy, Plan and Campaign?

The marketing strategy is explains the why and and an overview of how you will promote your business.  The marketing plan shows in more details how you will promote your business and the marketing campaign is for the promotion of a specific event or tactic. 

The importance of knowing the difference between a marketing strategy, plan and campaign is that it lets you, the owner or marketing manager, understand the role each of these guiding documents serves to ensure the successful promotion of your business.  Having definitions in place helps key stakeholders (e.g. marketing team, business partners/advisors) know what documents are being referenced in meetings, and what reporting and expectations you will use to demonstrate the success of your overall marketing initiatives.   

What is a marketing strategy?

The marketing strategy is part of your business plan, which includes an overview of how you will promote your business to meet your business goals. Often referred to as a plan, it is strategic and better referred to as a ‘marketing strategy’. Your marketing strategy will include your brand’s marketing mix; print, digital, and public relations (PR).  Depending on how detailed your marketing strategy is, it may include ‘nested’ or sub-strategies, such as a content & social media strategy.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is more specific, timely and designed to support the marketing strategy.  It includes details about what tactics will be used and related targeted audiences; including a timeline, budget, S.W.O.T., and evaluation methods/metrics. Often a marketing plan is created yearly with milestone reviews throughout the year to make any necessary adjustments.

What is a marketing campaign?

A marketing campaign is a plan on how to execute a specific tactic, such as promote an upcoming event, program launch, a featured product, or build a general brand awareness campaign. It follows the same outline as a marketing plan but typically includes a shorter timeline. A marketing campaign includes details on who, what, where, when and how the tactic will be promoted.


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