Industrial Marketing Blog

Industrial Marketing Strategy vs. Plan

Industrial Marketing Strategy vs. Plan

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I’m sure you’ve heard marketing consultants like me talk about the importance of creating a marketing strategy and then following a plan for success. But what exactly is the difference between an industrial marketing strategy and a plan? I can assure you they are not just consulting jargon.

In this article, I will delve into the nuances of these two concepts and explore how they contribute to the growth and profitability of industrial businesses. However, it is important to understand that industrial marketing strategies and plans go hand in hand.

Understanding the difference between an industrial marketing strategy and a plan

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, a marketing plan and a marketing strategy are distinct from each other. A marketing strategy is the broader framework that defines a brand’s overall direction and positioning. It defines the target audience, the value proposition and the key messages that differentiate a company from its competitors.

It sets the stage for the marketing plan by providing a clear understanding of the market dynamics and opportunities.

A marketing plan, on the other hand, is a comprehensive document outlining the objectives, tactics, and resources needed to achieve a company’s marketing goals. It provides a roadmap that guides all marketing activities and ensures a focused approach.

While a marketing plan focuses on the specific actions and tactics to be executed, a marketing strategy provides the overarching vision and direction that guides those actions.

To summarize the differences into short sentences—Strategy is about answering the Who and the Why questions. While planning is about answering the What and the How questions.

Key components of an industrial marketing strategy

The marketing strategy provides the overall direction and positioning of the brand. The key components of an industrial marketing strategy include:

  • Target market identification: Clearly defining the target market and understanding their needs, pain points, and buying behaviors. This helps in developing targeted marketing messages and campaigns.
  • Competitive analysis: Conducting a thorough analysis of the competition to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. This enables manufacturers and other industrial businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors and identify market gaps.
  • Value proposition development: Developing a compelling value proposition that clearly communicates the unique benefits and advantages of the product or service. This helps in positioning the brand effectively in the market. (See Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions)
  • Brand positioning: Defining the desired brand image and positioning in the market. This includes determining the brand personality, messaging, and visual identity.
  • Measurement and evaluation: Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the marketing strategy’s success. This includes tracking website traffic, leads generated, conversions, and ROI.

When it comes to industrial content marketing, the strategy can not only be in someone’s head. It needs to be documented and refined over time using measurement and analysis. The survey results published by the Content Marketing Insitute show that only 32% of manufacturing marketers having a documented content marketing strategy.

They also said, “…too many content marketers are creating content for the sake of creating content – in many cases, this could mean responding to ad hoc requests.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

documented industrial content marketing strategy

Key components of an industrial marketing plan

A comprehensive industrial marketing plan comprises of several key components that work together to achieve the desired marketing objectives. You’ll find some overlap between a plan and a strategy.

  • Market research: Involves analyzing market trends, customer demographics, and competitor strategies.
  • Target market segmentation: Identifying and segmenting the target market allows industrial businesses to tailor their marketing messages and strategies to specific customer groups. This ensures that marketing efforts are more focused and effective.
  • Marketing objectives: Setting clear and measurable marketing objectives is crucial for tracking progress and evaluating the success of marketing efforts. Objectives should be specific, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Marketing tactics: Determining the specific tactics and activities that will be used to achieve the marketing objectives. This may include content marketing, email marketing, social media, digital and print advertising, public relations, and trade shows, to name some of the typical industrial marketing tactics.
  • Budget and resources: Allocating the necessary budget and resources to support the marketing plan. This includes determining the marketing budget, staffing requirements, and technology investments.
  • Implementation timeline: Creating a detailed timeline that outlines the specific tasks and milestones for implementing the marketing plan. This ensures that all activities are executed in a timely manner.

Measuring the success of your industrial marketing strategy and plan

Measuring the success of an industrial marketing strategy and a plan is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of the efforts and making necessary adjustments. Here are some key metrics to consider:

  • Website traffic: Monitor website traffic to determine the effectiveness of various marketing channels in driving visitors to the site. Track the number of unique visitors, page views, and time spent on the site.
  • Lead generation: Measure the number of leads generated through various marketing channels. This includes form submissions, email sign-ups, and downloads of gated content.
  • Conversion rate: Calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors. This helps determine the website’s effectiveness in converting visitors into leads.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Calculate the ROI by comparing the revenue generated from marketing efforts to the cost of those efforts. This helps in determining the profitability of the marketing activities. This is a complex process because of long sales cycles and multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decisions. See Manufacturing Content Marketing Distribution and Measurement.
  • Customer satisfaction: Monitor customer satisfaction through surveys, feedback forms, and customer reviews. This provides insights into the effectiveness of marketing efforts in meeting customer needs and expectations.
  • Brand awareness: Measure brand awareness by tracking brand mentions, social media followers, and search engine rankings. This helps in evaluating the effectiveness of marketing efforts in increasing brand visibility.

A well-defined marketing strategy and a detailed plan are essential for success in industrial marketing, especially in a globally competitive market(s). While a marketing plan provides a roadmap for achieving marketing objectives, a marketing strategy sets the overall direction and positioning of the brand.

By understanding the differences between these two components and effectively implementing them, industrial companies can reach their target audience, differentiate themselves from competitors, and achieve their business objectives. So, invest the time and effort in developing a comprehensive marketing strategy and a plan and propel your industrial marketing efforts to new heights.

Need help developing your industrial marketing strategy? Let’s discuss how I can help you with our industrial marketing consulting service.

Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra calls himself a “marketing engineer” because he combines his engineering education and an MBA with 35+ years of practical manufacturing and industrial marketing experience. You want an expert with an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s objectivity who can point you in the right direction immediately. That's Achinta. He is the Founder of Tiecas, Inc., a manufacturing marketing agency in Houston, Texas. Read Achinta's story here.
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