What is a 'Marketing Strategy'

A marketing strategy is a business's overall game plan for reaching people and turning them into customers of the product or service that the business provides. The marketing strategy of a company contains the company’s value proposition, key marketing messages, information on the target customer and other high-level elements.

The marketing strategy informs the marketing plan, which is a document that lays out the types and timing of marketing activities. A company’s marketing strategy should have a longer lifespan than any individual marketing plan as the strategy is where the value proposition and the key elements of a company’s brand reside. These things ideally do not shift very much over time.

BREAKING DOWN 'Marketing Strategy'

Marketing strategies are often confused with marketing plans. Because they do feed off one another, it is not unusual to find the marketing strategy and the marketing plan baked together into a single document. Although the transition between the two is blurry, a marketing strategy covers the big picture of what the business offers: the value proposition and related brand messaging. The marketing plan is how the business will get across the key message: the platforms, the creative, the timing and so on. The marketing strategy may also be absorbed upwards into the corporate value statements and other strategy documents.

The Creation of a Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy grows out of a company’s value proposition. The value proposition summarizes the competitive advantage a company has in its market. The value proposition usually provides the key message for all marketing. Walmart, for example, is a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” and its business operations and marketing revolve around that. A company is never creating a marketing strategy from scratch. They start with the value proposition and distill the key marketing message(s) from that.

Once the value proposition is succinctly stated, the hard work is done. Any marketing asset, from a print ad design to a social media campaign, can be judged by how well it communicates the value proposition. To further the efficiency of marketing efforts, market research can be added to the marketing strategy for the purpose of identifying untapped audiences or refining the target consumer. Finally, an overall goal for the marketing strategy can be set, with all the subsequent marketing plans inheriting the responsibility for delivering on it. These can be concrete, bottom-line goals such as increasing sales or something less direct like climbing the ranking of trusted providers within the industry.   

Marketing plans are operational documents that get more attention because they are the day-to-day work that a company does to sell itself to the world. That said, a marketing plan would be meaningless without a message, a target market and a goal — the core of every marketing strategy. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Trading Strategy

    A set of objective rules designating the conditions that must ...
  2. Investment Strategy

    Investment strategy is what guides an investor's decisions based ...
  3. Business Exit Strategy

    A business exit strategy is an entrepreneur's strategic plan ...
  4. Business Plan

    A business plan is a written document that describes in detail ...
  5. Third-Party Technique

    The third-party technique is a marketing strategy used by public ...
  6. Covered Bear

    A trading strategy in which a short sale is made on a long position. ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    4 Investment Strategies To Learn Before Trading

    The best thing about investing strategies is they’re flexible.
  2. Financial Advisor

    What Is T-Mobile's Advanced-Messaging Service? (TMUS)

    Discover the latest information about T-Mobile's Advanced Messaging system and what it offers that is not available through other carriers.
  3. Small Business

    6 Branding Tips For Small Business Owners

    One of the most important areas for all businesses to utilize is branding.
  4. Small Business

    Every Business Needs To Answer These 5 Questions

    Although there are endless ways to reframe and rephrase them, there are only really five important questions that every business needs to answer.
  5. Small Business

    Exit Strategies for Business Owners

    Ideally, an exit strategy is planned early in the life of the business, begin with the end in mind.
  6. Trading

    Using Technical Indicators to Develop Trading Strategies

    There is no perfect investment strategy that will guarantee success, but you can find indicators and strategies that will work best for your position.
  7. Trading

    4 common active trading strategies

    Learn four of the most popular active trading strategies — and why active trading isn't limited to professional traders anymore.
  8. Insights

    Needle In A Haystack: Stock Message Boards

    Stock message boards provide a great opportunity to read insightful information and opinions, but watch out for "trolls."
  9. Investing

    Four Strategies For Managing A Portfolio Of Mutual Funds

    Discover some common strategies for devising a plan and maintaining your holdings in a way that reflects it.
  10. Investing

    A Strategy For Optimal Stock And Bond Allocation

    We tell you how this strategy avoids downturns, improves performance and invests in the best asset classes.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the elements of an effective value proposition?

    Learn what a unique value proposition is, and understand all of the elements that a company must include in constructing ... Read Answer >>
  2. What should be included in a restaurant business model?

    Learn what a business model is and its purpose, along with learning the specific elements that should be included in a business ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the similarities between product differentiation and product positioning?

    Learn how two marketing strategies, product differentiation and product positioning, are similar and work together to effectively ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Enterprise Value (EV)

    Enterprise Value (EV) is a measure of a company's total value, often used as a more comprehensive alternative to equity market ...
  2. Relative Strength Index - RSI

    Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent ...
  3. Dividend

    A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.
  4. Inventory Turnover

    Inventory turnover is a ratio showing how many times a company has sold and replaces inventory over a period.
  5. Watchlist

    A watchlist is list of securities being monitored for potential trading or investing opportunities.
  6. Hedge Fund

    A hedge fund is an aggressively managed portfolio of investments that uses leveraged, long, short and derivative positions.
Trading Center