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Marketing strategies, plans and campaigns by Matt Ottewill (March 2014)

Marketing strategies, plans and campaigns are important concepts for all businesses. These terms have survived into the digital marketing era and are still in common use. This article provides an overview of what they are, and introduces you to some common terminology.

Marketing strategy

A marketing strategy acts as a high level mechanism for stating the overall marketing objective of a business, the role of marketing processes in achieving the mission statement of a business, and for guiding aesthetic and ethical decisions. It is above all, a strategic blue print.

A marketing strategy does not detail how short term strategic objectives should be met, but seeks to guide implementation decisions over the long term, often a year..

For example, a marketing strategy may state that the business needs to grow by 5% as a direct result of marketing activities in the next year, leverage new ad-server technologies, move from TV commercials to developing a YouTube channel, move into a new market, whilst maintaining ethical environmental practices and maximising customer relations and goodwill by maintaining it's sponsoring of a children's hospital, and ensure that shareholders accept a freeze on their dividend with the expectation that share values will increase.

Marketing plan

A marketing plan, or marketing plans, details and documents how a marketing strategy will be achieved. There may be multiple marketing plans, and each may describe specific objectives, activities and how they will implemented.

A marketing plan may detail ..

  • how a television advert will be developed, produced, broadcast and its return on investment measured
  • how the business will motivate 1000 existing customers to become subscribers, and how the business plans to develop a relationship with them that promotes loyalty
  • new and refreshed advertising to revive a failing product or service
  • etc

Marketing campaigns

Marketing plans are implemented in the form of one or more campaigns, each of which has defined objectives.

For example, a primary marketing objective for a recording artist may be to get as many email subscribers and followers as possible before the launch of a new album. To achieve this they may decide to implement a number of campaigns, such as ..

  • a content marketing campaign (eg competition)
  • a social media campaign to encourage subscribers
  • a targeted and segmented email marketing campaign to engage subscribers
  • a YouTube video campaign
  • a Google AdWord campaign