B2B Marketing Blog

The Difference Between Business Strategy and Marketing Strategy, and Why It’s Important to Know This

Nov 27, 2017 9:00:58 AM / by Lisa Shepherd

Strategy Image.jpg

Companies that plan grow 30% faster than those that don’t.1

Your business strategy and marketing strategy are two totally different plans of action, yet both are essential to the success of your business. In fact, they work in harmony. You first need a strong business strategy in place, and then you can build your marketing strategy to support it.

What is a Business Strategy?

This is the long-term plan of where you want your company to go, with a step-by-step map of how you are going to get there. Your business strategy must set the overall objectives you want to accomplish and have goals in place along the way to help you keep track of the execution of your strategies.

When building your business strategy, you should:

1. Specify Your Company and Management Structure

Your company structure determines what needs to be done and by whom, in order to remain efficiently and sustainably competitive. Individuals must be appointed to undertake specific tasks to achieve defined objectives. Teams must be established, coordinated and directed toward achieving your company’s aims.

2. Determine a Vision with a Mission Statement

Your vision is essentially where you want the company to go. Your mission statement, on the other hand, is how you are going to get there. You must establish the long-term goals for your company – the final destination.

Start with your vision statement, which should include:

  • Core values and long-term objectives
  • Defined outcomes and plans to diversify
  • and of course, contingency plans

Once your vison statement is in place, it’s time to address how you plan to get there.

Your mission statement should:

  • Align your staff to work towards a common objective
  • Initiate goals which are focused and cohesive
  • Inspire your team to be dedicated to your company’s goals

 

3. Define Your Target Market

One of the biggest mistakes made when building a brand is trying to appeal to everyone. It’s called a “target” market for a reason. Miss the bulls eye and you loose. You must identify your target market, address the pain points and determine what your potential customers are looking for. 

4. Establish an Action Plan with Measurable Outcomes

A business strategy is useless without an action plan that outlines how and when set goals will be met. When establishing your action plan, make sure your steps are definite, measurable and achievable.

5. Outline Accountability and Assign Responsibility

Once your action plan has been established, assign accountability for each action step and identify those that will be supporting them. Making an individual or team responsible for a particular task, eliminates the confusion of who is responsible for what, and allows the individual/s to take pride and satisfaction in a job well done.

6. Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are critical elements of your business strategy, as they are the key indicators of whether you are succeeding in meeting your goals, visions and missions. Set KPIs, and update and track them on a regular basis. This ensures you will have accurate updates on the progress and success of each of your projects. 

Your business strategy is essential to organizing your operations and to setting and achieving your goals. Once you have a strong business strategy in place, then you can build your marketing strategy to support it.

You Can’t Meet Your Marketing Challenges Until You Solve Your Business Challenges

 

What is a Marketing Strategy?

Your business strategy is in place – operations are running smoothly, staff are motivated and KPIs have been set – now it is time to meet those goals. Your marketing strategy is the road map of marketing activities that will help you achieve your business goals.

When building your marketing strategy, you need to: 

1. Determine Your Positioning

You have already established your target market, now you need to decide how your company intends to position itself in that market. Focus on your niche, and determine how you will engage your chosen market and grow market share.

2. Identify Your Buyer Personas

Every customer is different. They have varying needs, wants and challenges. Nevertheless, only 44% of B2B marketers use buyer personas.2 Defining customer personas isn’t a complicated task, and it’s critical. Not understanding your buyer personas will lead to a generalized marketing strategy that won’t speak to anyone.

3. Develop a Clear Competitive Advantage

Identify what makes your company stand out from the crowd. If you don’t clearly define your competitive advantage, your marketing will end up as just a lot of noise in the marketplace. Too many companies don’t realize this and end up wasting a lot of time and money. For tips on identifying your competitive advantage, read our blog here. 

4. Build Your Tactical Marketing Plan

Your marketing strategy sets the tone for the tactics you use. Your tactics should be built around meeting your business objectives, and should include a solid foundation of a website, content marketing, advertising, promotions, social media and public relations activities. These will help you

broaden your reach, boost your customer base, and ultimately, drive revenue. Putting a tactical plan into action is something every B2B company needs to learn how to do. A successful plan will always keep your company’s long-term goals in sight and be instrumental in dealing with, and evolving with, changes to the market place.

5. Plan for Future Expansion and Diversification

Companies grow, industries expand, and market demands change. Your strategic marketing plan must evolve with your company’s expansion and diversification plans. At that point, it’s often better to split your target market into segmented groups and remodel individual marketing strategies for each of them.

Strategic marketing involves a set of integrated activities that align with your business strategy. To make things simpler, here’s a snapshot of the key differences between the two:

 

Business Strategy

Marketing Strategy

Aim: Focuses on your company’s overall, long-term direction.

Aim: Focuses on supporting the business strategy with near-term (1-3 year) tactical plans.

Timeframe: Provides the long-term framework for your company.

Timeframe: Provides a snap-shot of your company’s progress at a single moment.

Goal: Determine the general direction the business should take.

Goal: Determine specific functions and actions to achieve the business results.

 

You can’t meet your marketing challenges until you have a business strategy in place. If you have your business plan in order and still need help with your marketing strategy, contact us. We’ll help you develop a plan for now and the future.

Sources:

  1. http://articles.bplans.com/business-planning-makes-you-more-successful-and-weve-got-the-science-to-prove-it/
  2. http://www.slideshare.net/itsma/itsma-personas-and-b2-iabbreviated-summarymar2014

Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy, Business Growth, business strategy

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