What is the Relationship Between a Marketing Strategy and a Business Plan?
There is an important relationship between business and marketing plans: a business plan relies on the marketing strategy and vice-versa. Both plans are closely related, so both must be in sync with one another at all times.
Business and marketing plans are both fantastic tools that can help companies launch and operate as effectively as possible from day to day. With their distinctions and similarities, we believe both plans are vital to small and large businesses.
In this article we explore this link between business plans and marketing strategies, as well as the advantages that come with them:
A business plan defines a company’s purpose, mission, and objectives, along with details about the company’s different sections, their roles and their potential to achieve the established objectives.
Business plans go beyond marketing: they can tackle a range of important topics, such as staffing, financing, strategic alliances, etc.
Many executives don’t see planning as compulsory, and often skip this step if they don’t want to attain bank financing, attract investors and strategic partnerships.
One common misconception is that business plans try to predict the future, which is ultimately unproductive. Indeed, there is too much out of our reach, and planning won’t perform any miracles, but it is still a clever option that brings concrete benefits.
The classic quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, rings true in this case. A business plan will ensure you gather as much knowledge as possible, and that you’re well-prepared for the potential obstacles.
It’s important to note that business plans require reviews and adaptations, so that companies may tread the line between expectations and realities in the smartest way, and keep the document updated with those changes.
A well-crafted business plan brings a valuable amount of clarity to a company:
- It clarifies what the company is and what it isn’t.
- It assigns specific tasks to individuals.
- It establishes exactly what your goals are, leaving no room for ambiguity, and leaving nothing to chance.
- It helps illustrate milestones and deadlines, which in turn leads to better time management.
- It makes it a lot easier to keep track of results: business plans require regular changes and course corrections, so they also help you follow closely your company’s development.
The effective marketing strategy is the final product, the result of gathering in-depth insights and learning about a company’s customers: what makes them tick? What troubles them? etc.
Businesses can learn a lot about different customer segments through targeted market research: it will help you see which segments are the most worthwhile, and which ones to rule out.
Additionally, keeping meaningful dialogues with your audience is a timeless and powerful way to build the knowledge you need.
Moreover, the SWOT analysis will help you gain a solid understanding of your market: it should answer key questions, such as how you stand against your competitors?, and what trends are likely to come from your market?
The Link Between the Two
One thing that both documents have in common, is that they both bring the power of knowledge to your business.
The business plan defines a company’s objectives and missions, and the marketing strategy answers in detail how these aforementioned objectives will be accomplished. If the former changes, so will the latter.
You can think of a marketing strategy as an extension of the business plan, as it presents complete strategies for advertising, public relations, and other promotions. Business plans contain general marketing information, and the marketing strategy brings a detailed account of tactics.
It’s easy to get lost or distracted with all the hurdles and pressures of running a business. Both the business plan and marketing strategy break down the processes into simple, chronological steps, so you’ll always know and have that reminder of what the next move needs to be.
Both documents can help you get organised and visual about what needs to happen: you’ll get a linear process on paper/digital form that is easy for anyone to grasp, from employees to investors.
To Wrap it Up…
You will need to invest time during the research stage, to learn as much as possible about your chosen industry, competitors, and demographics: this is the time to be thorough and cover every important area.
When you move on to the writing part of the process, remember that putting the business plan together doesn’t need to be an intimidating task: you can keep it concise and easy to read by using lists, bullet points, and tables.
It’s also important to review the business plan and marketing strategy on a regular basis and make changes. Companies need to keep both documents updated and aligned with the changes in market demands, trends and technological growth.