To give you a strong base of the difference between strategic planning and marketing planning, we will first discuss these terminologies individually. We will also look at one example for further understanding.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is more intricate and consists of rules with an organizational structure. A strategic plan would typically involve setting razor-sharp focus on specific priorities. Chunks of employees within different branches would be tasked with directing all their efforts towards a common goal. Particular resources are utilized and exploited more than others as these resources will achieve the common goal quicker.

All members of an organization executing a strategic plan have to be on the same page about the factors utilized to succeed in a project. There cannot be any sort of disagreements or clashes in a strategic plan. This can be difficult to implement without expertise. For this reason, control mechanisms can be adopted to ensure thorough and spot-on guidance throughout the strategy.

Example of strategic planning – A business owner wants to create a service that provides other businesses and individuals with a platform to share their goals, ideas, and roadmap, with established entrepreneurs. To achieve and succeed in this objective, the creator of this service has to gather a reputation that makes him a trusted partner by other clients.
To get to this point of perfection, the owner decides to create a strategic plan. This ensures a structure is maintained with timelines and allocated resources for each task. He also decides which resources can be stretched and under what circumstances. Following such a game-plan would lead to inevitable success.

Thus, the owner allocated teams for venue management, agenda preparation, researching and inviting speeches, curate social events, design menus, and goodies. As long as each member of this company followed the points mentioned in the previous paragraph, each client attending a respective event would be satisfied with the outreach, engagement, and growth opportunities.

Marketing Planning

Marketing planning involves strategic planning to an extent. This concept solely depends on the marketing factors that an organization aims to achieve or adopt. The current market situation is observed and studied, the target audience is identified, planning premises is done, marketing objectives are recorded, and you have a complete marketing plan.
This is more of a step-by-step process, unlike strategic planning. Based on the research of current market trends, it becomes easier to pick out marketing opportunities. The marketing planning funnel also involves designing marketing strategies along with testing and optimizing the same. There are plenty of organizations that solely provide marketing services and are experts in marketing planning.

Example of marketing planning – A business owner runs a company that sells premium quality jackets for cold climates. He needs to increase and diversify his sales funnel; thus he decides to adopt a marketing plan. Firstly, he identifies that his clientele would consist of people residing in colder regions. And also those who take frequent vacations. This gives clarity as to the target audience.

Up next, the owner decides to create compelling brochures, emails, videos, images, and content. This content would be fed through various channels to achieve marketing goals. Either by emails, websites, news, or other sources. Spreading brand awareness and building industry authority is of great importance for marketing plans to succeed. As long as the ideal audience was catered to in an effective and consistent manner, the marketing plan would have no chance to fail. Thus, a boost in jacket sales!

Business Plan includes both, Strategic and Marketing Plans

Each business plan will include both these elements. Strategic planning will be the high-level work that requires more thinking and looking at long-term goals. This plan will help give clarity on the goals, directions, and attributes, whereas the marketing plan will include carrying out a market study. Promotions, media, distribution channels, and PR are a few attributes of this plan.

Difference between Strategic Planning and Marketing Planning

Here are the differences between the two terminologies that you must be aware of.

Planning process

The planning process of strategic plans usually involves highly reputed and placed members within an organization. Due to their idea of the bigger picture, it only makes sense to let them set a priority-wise form of ethics and rules to be followed. They won’t contribute to smaller units and projects as much as they work in the higher field. These rules, motions, standards, and goals are set to drive the organization in one direction as a whole. SWOT analysis is another concept that initiating a strategic plan involves.

The reporting process of data gathered within several environments needs to be streamlined. The focus must lie on metrics that have a high degree of correlation to the company goals. In ideal situations, a full-fledged strategic plan describes the pipeline and outline of a marketing plan too.

On the other hand, marketing plans are more of a step-by-step approach and have nothing to do with goals linked to all departments specifically. Marketing specialists are hired to create a marketing pipeline in the order of – target audience, content creation, and optimization, strategy formulation, setting up CTA programs. Post this, reviews and evaluations are carried out to make tweaks for greater growth.
Most importantly, a marketing plan always needs an allocated budget that is much lower than that of a strategic plan. Marketing a brand also involves setting up campaigns and promotions to acquire a greater clientele. All this is done in accordance with the strategic plan that defines the aspects that the marketing plan should focus on.

Goals and Objectives

Strategic planning involves goals and objectives that are crucial in shaping the workflow structure of organizations. Some departments may be allocated flexibility as their efficiency decides how soon an organization can achieve its goals. In contrast, some departments may face limitations and roadblocks in their work, as the organization’s strategic plan has not prioritized their domain.

Goals are broad attributes and refer to what a business plan must achieve. Objectives are closely related to goals and also a measurable attribute. A good example of a company’s aim would be to increase sales for a product in a region within a specified timeframe. Now the overall strategy that the plan includes will clearly state how these goals and objectives have to be achieved. Some businesses may also wish to give employees a bunch of tactics that go well with their adopted strategic plan.

Marketing planning involves goals and objectives that help in the sales and outreach structure of an organization. Their principle of communication and brand tonality will be in sync with the outline set by the strategic plan. Marketing plans also face limitations, but only to an extent. This is because their functionality doesn’t impact all aspects of a company like a strategic plan does.

Marketing plans would focus on more direct and defined goals. Some of these would be targeting new customers, expanding global clientele, attractively launching new products, and even improving customer relationships by interaction. The objective of a marketing plan can be measured midway, and changes can be made to tweak the final outcome. Keep in mind, and it is comparatively easier for a marketing plan to alter its goals and objectives as compared to a strategic plan. Although altering either of them would require considerable time, resources, and efforts.


Tactics for strategic planning are not technical. For example – We will discuss a shoe-manufacturing company. This company has assigned digital marketing as the number one goal of the organization. In this case, digital marketing should be their prime mode of business operation. For establishing a worldwide presence, carrying out product sales, query management, maintaining a portfolio, and everything else.

Over here, choosing digital marketing is what is considered a tactic. Even the way resources are provided to the betterment of the company’s digital marketing game can be called a tactic.
Tactics for marketing planning are more technical. A deeper level of research and market study goes into applying the right tactics for a marketing mission. Here is an example of a tactic for a marketing plan.

A sports equipment manufacturer may use partnerships with teams and sports management agencies for acquiring a reputed brand name. This will, in turn, help them in marketing their brand and gaining greater outreach. The choice to choose partnerships and not go down the promotional campaign route is itself considered a tactic.
In the case of strategic planning, tactics are devised on a more wholesome basis. Each and every element of the company has to be considered. In contrast, tactics in marketing planning are bootstrapped to a limited number of elements, which can depend on individual business requirements.


A strategic plan is futuristic with respect to its purpose. It is based on creating a decisive advantage over fellow competitors. This is indicated by the people of the highest authority within an organization to the staff plus stakeholders throughout the business’s lifetime. Altering a strategic plan is more like altering the entire way your business functions, whereas altering a marketing plan can be accommodated without affecting a number of other resources within an organization.

You can design new and modified campaigns and marketing funnels without altering your marketing goals. This does not affect the long-term vision in any way. Guess why? Because the changes impact only a section of a large number of functioning units within an organization. Even if the impact is massive, it can be adapted to within a year at the most. On the other hand, modified strategic plans have the potential to disrupt marketing plans and any other unit within an organization.

Due to the progressive philosophy that strategic plans are created with, the entire organization must undergo several changes. Goals would be altered, workflows would change, staff may reduce or increase, or even partnerships could be dissolved if a strategic plan requires it.
To put this difference in a nutshell, marketing plans are short-term and strategic plans are for the long-term. Consider the worth ‘term’ here as ‘number of years.’


The components involved in both these business plans vary by a great extent. Strategic planning accounts for goals, objectives, and tactics as its core components, whereas marketing planning has several interconnected components. These interlinked components come under the category of the 4 P’s of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

This clearly showcases the length of the bridge between these two terminologies. The former is attempting to shape up the core philosophies of an organization. In contrast, the latter is working with tactical components that can help achieve a strategic plan’s final goals.

Look at it this way. A successful marketing strategy needs a target market along with a relevant and desired product. This product needs to be easily available at prices that the target market has proven to agree with. Promotions and advertising included is what will help make a customer lead to a purchase. Do you see the components involved here? They are all sizable and easy to adapt to modifications.

Strategic planning cannot undergo stringent modifications more than a couple of times in its lifetime. It would require a significant investment that most organizations in the world do not wish to venture into.


If you are already a business owner, you may have understood what changes you need to make and how cautious you need to be. If you are planning to start a business, it would be wise to spend plenty of time on strategic planning. Precisely executing this crafted plan would save up wasting resources and increasing the efficiency of your resources. A marketing plan is also essential. But prioritizing it early in your business plan may not seem necessary. Again, this depends on the nature of your business.

However, both are mandatory to establish a proper organizational structure, internally and externally. If you find out you have gone wrong or need changes somewhere, then the sooner you make the change, the better it will be.

In the end, actions speak louder than words. You will realize all these elements when you are making such business plans by yourself. So I think at this point you have finished our 2010 words article about the main core difference between strategic planning and marketing planning. So want to taste our secret but juicy Online Presence Formula? contact us today.