Leaning against a computer keyboard is a piece of cardboard with the word purpose written in all capital letters in red. Leaning against the cardboard is a red marker and cap.

Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Strategy – Market with Purpose

December 5, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • Purpose-driven companies have more market share and realize three times the growth of their competitors
  • This is because they forge an emotional connection with their audience
  • It takes the right marketing strategy to reach the right audience
  • Your strategy incorporates high-level ideas that can then be used to infuse tactics with your purpose


Don’t confuse tactics with strategy – Define your purpose and personas before you act

Whether you started a company or purchased a functional enterprise, as time goes on, it’s easy to lose your sense of purpose, your cause and its impact, and the reason your company exists (its vision, and its mission). Every business wants to make money, of course, but you might notice that revenue is down and growth lags. You market your business with the tactics you’re “supposed” to use, but you don’t see results, and your ROI is in the basement.

Successful marketing is created when a business keeps its purpose front and center, develops a marketing strategy (not just tactics), develops long-term plans, and accurately identifies its target audience. Marketing today must forge an emotional connection with the right audience. If your marketing resonates, they will come, and they will buy.

It’s about a marketing plan vs. a marketing strategy. Your strategy must come before you do anything tactile. You can’t do marketing plan development without it. And your strategy has to incorporate your purpose. This might all sound rather esoteric, but it boils down to the critical alignment necessary to empower strategies with annual plans that result in a stellar brand reputation, effective communication, and customers who happily return to a company that embodies and expresses shared values. This leads to more leads through word of mouth.

Why be a purpose-driven company?

Let’s start with the numbers. Purpose-driven companies gain more market share and see three times the growth, on average, than their competition. They also provide greater customer satisfaction. Your purpose informs your company’s identity and infuses your marketing to clearly communicate why your company exists, the problems it can solve, and who it wants to be to its target audience. Deeper connections are made with the result of a more significant impact and results. 

All stakeholders today demand authenticity – it is not enough to talk a good game. Your story has to be impactful, your communication transparent, and your target audience has to be at the heart of every business decision and marketing plan development. To penetrate an audience, your story has to resonate with them. You must develop a plan, of course, but it is essential to do it in the right order. You must develop a purposeful strategy that informs all your marketing before you buy that first online ad. Too many confuse marketing tactics with marketing strategy and have come to regret it, with little to no ROI to show for it. 

Marketing strategy vs. marketing tactics

Online ads, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, and great videos on YouTube are all tactics that won’t get you anywhere without a sound marketing strategy that defines and conveys your purpose. Your strategy incorporates your purpose into high-level ideas that define goals tied to your business objectives and identify and test the messages that resonate with your target audience. 

Build a marketing strategy

You’ll first want to build a plan for your strategy. Why do all this? Why is a marketing plan important? Because it provides the framework that simplifies your annual planning. It sets goals, allocates resources, defines initiatives, channels, and KPIs, and ensures your marketing aligns with overall business objectives.

A well-developed strategy will lead to:

  • The discovery of your brand foundation – the essential element for growth – so you’re primed to unlock market expansion opportunities
  • A clear focus on your objectives while you build results-oriented actions
  • Gain and leverage insights that drive scalable performance to build a truly customer-centric growth engine


Identify your business goals

Your marketing can have different goals. Your goal may be to differentiate your brand in a crowded market, change your overall brand perception, or it might be centered around thought leadership. Whatever your objective, your marketing must be aligned with your purpose. It’s imperative to identify your core objectives; once that’s done, the actions you take will follow. Again, when it comes to marketing, your business goal cannot just be to make money. Think beyond mere dollars and cents: A successful company today must reach the heart and not just the wallets of your audience.

Build your buyer personas

Next, it’s time to define your buyer personas. Your buyer persona is a quick take on your ideal customer, one that identifies with your purpose. To build your personas – you could have a few – you’ll need the proper analytics: demographic and psychographic knowledge that includes age, occupation, income, location, interests, the online channels they use to get information, and the challenges they face. These personas inform the foundation of your strategy.

You must also keep your purpose in focus – your buyer personas will be a reflection of that in the mirror of buyer perception. You want to attract those who will believe in what you offer them.

Review your current marketing

For this step, you’ll take a look at your current methodologies. Do you use paid media to reach your target audience? What about videos, podcasts, and eBooks? Are your social media posts commented on and shared? Does anyone post product photos or mention your brand in their social media feeds? How does this work? This is where analytics come in, and they will become your best friend that informs your marketing journey. 

Think through your content

What will help you reach your target audience? What works the way it should, and what doesn’t? Look at your approach and compare it with your buyer personas. Then make a plan for content creation. Include topics, format, and the proper channel for each type of content – and always keep in mind the challenges your buyer personas face. 

Once you build your strategy, it’s time to get down to business and develop the tactics that will get you to your goal, again carefully considering your personas and target audience, as well as the channels where they get their information. 

Bring it home: your tactics

Now it’s time to talk tactics – strategic actions that propel the success of your marketing goals. Your high-level strategy must now be broken down into executable tactics. Your tactics will be based on the strategic objectives of your strategy and reflect where your personas are in the funnel. 

For brand awareness at the top of the funnel, you must use both inbound and outbound tactics on the appropriate channels. 

  • Blog posts that align with your purpose with targeted keywords
  • Regular social media posts on the channels your personas use most often
  • Landing pages that offer something (like an e-book or whitepaper) in exchange for things like an email address.
  • Videos that convey your purpose that engage and forge connections
  • Paid ads. These can be new display ads or social media ads. 
  • Pop-ups that catch attention while someone browses your website. They usually contain targeted offers.
  • Emails can be used for lead generation as a means to reach out to prospects.

When users know who you are and are engaged with your content, they enter the middle of the funnel. At this stage, they want to know more about you, so give them as much information as possible via:

  • Case studies that show off your accomplishments
  • Whitepapers and guides that provide insights
  • E-books that show you are an authority on a given subject
  • A robust FAQ section that identifies pain points and offers solutions
  • Feature pages on your website with in-depth information about your product or service
  • Webinars can enhance your reputation and make a personal connection and engender trust
  • Podcasts with digestible content that can reach new audiences
  • Email marketing that offers more information and a hook to draw them in

Next is the bottom of the funnel. This is where purchasing decisions are made, and where you convince them that you’re the right company for them. Your focus here should be to:

  • Highlight what is unique about your company and the advantages you offer over your competitors
  • Tout your awesome customer service, payment options, additional services you offer, and your refund and return policies
  • Employ testimonials, which go a long way when it comes to trust and your reputation 
  • Offer promos and discounts – everyone loves a discount, and these effectively entice prospective buyers
  • Nurture emails that share targeted content that adds value. It makes them feel seen and heard

These are examples of tactics at all stages of the marketing funnel you can use to broadcast your purpose to those ready to hear it and respond. With a clearly defined purpose, a strategy designed to build connections, and the proper tactics, the right people will be drawn to your product or service like moths to a flame – one that reflects their values and aligns with your purpose.

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