Marketing strategy is a long-term, forward-looking approach and an overall game plan of any organization or any business with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage by understanding the needs and wants of customers. Scholars like Philip Kotler continue to debate the precise meaning of marketing strategy. Consequently, the literature offers many different definitions. The term “marketing strategy” pertains to all basic, short-term, and long-term activities in the field of marketing that deal with the analysis of the strategic initial situation of a company and the formulation, evaluation and selection of market-oriented strategies and therefore contribute to the goals of the company and its marketing objectives

Marketing strategy is a long term, forward looking approach and an overall game plan of any organization or any business with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage by understanding the needs and wants of customers. Scholars like Philip Kotler continue to debate the precise meaning of marketing strategy. Consequently, the literature offers many different definitions.

What Is a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements. A thorough marketing strategy covers “the four Ps” of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion.

Understanding Marketing Strategies

A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.

This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart (WMT) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.1

Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans

The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan, which is a document that details the specific types of marketing activities a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.

Marketing strategies should ideally have longer lifespans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.

Benefits of a Marketing Strategy

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization, or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.

Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.

Why Does My Company Need a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing plan helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. A 2019 study found that firms with a documented marketing strategy were 313% more likely to report success in their marketing campaigns.2

What Does a Marketing Strategy Look Like?

A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and PR campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the “four P’s”. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, Internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines

What Do the 4 Ps Mean in a Marketing Strategy?

The 4 P’s” are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The 4 P’s can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It can also be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.

Is a Marketing Strategy the Same As a Marketing Plan?

The terms marketing plan and marketing strategy are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Marketing Strategies – Definitions Provided by Michael E.Porter, Cundiff, Still, Govoni and Philip Kotler

Stated in simple terms, marketing strategy of a firm is the complete and unbeatable plan or instrument designed specifically for attaining the marketing objectives of the firm. The marketing objectives will tell us where the firm wants to go; the marketing strategy will provide the design for getting there.

According to Michael E. Porter, “Marketing strategy has mainly one aim to cope with competition …. There are five major and vital forces that decide the nature and intensity of competition the threat of new entrants, bargaining power of customers, and bargaining power of suppliers, threat of substitute products and the jockeying among the existing contestants…. The collective strength of these forces determines the ultimate profit potential of an industry. And the strategist’s goal is to find a position in the industry where his company can best defend itself against these forces or can influence them in his company’s favour…. Strategy can be viewed as building defence against the competitive forces.”

The marketing of goods and services goes all over the world round the clock. Millions of marketing activities takes place every day involving individuals, groups, business and government. These activities are parts of the marketing processes. Marketing management’s job is to ensure that these activities are co-ordinated into an integrated system. This requires an overall marketing strategy, a plan that optimizes marketing inputs to achieve maximum business surplus.

Marketing strategy means the game plan’ that the market will use in attaining the objectives of the business.

“Basically, a company’s overall marketing strategy is its competitive posture in the market place. Formulating an overall marketing strategy requires integration of all dimensions of the marketing effort”. — Cundiff, Still and Govoni

Again, Prof. Philip Kotler of the North-Western University defines marketing strategy as follows:

“Marketing strategy is the basic approach that the business unit will use to attain its goals and which comprises of elaborate decisions (strategies) on largest markets, market positioning and mix and marketing expenditure allocation. Moreover, the marketer should take care of the other two strategic aspects, viz., expected environment and competitive conditions while determining the marketing strategy”. — Prof. Philip Kotler

Once deciding over the game plan, the next task of the marketer is to develop or elaborate each element of the marketing strategy. The marketer’s first task is to choose a potential market and identify its needs and patterns, after which it formulates strategies for each controllable (product, place, price and promotion).

And, it is the management which manipulates the controllable in terms of the non-controllable in such a way which can meet both the target market’s needs and wants and helps to attain the company’s overall objectives. Now to perform these tasks managements streamlined product market, distribution, promotion and pricing strategies into an overall marketing strategy.

The marketing department (or, the marketer) while establishing and implementing an overall marketing strategy mainly take care in identifying opportunities to serve the target markets in such a way which frustrates (Thwarts) other competitors efforts to take the business away on a profitable basis.

Finally, the need and importance of an overall marketing strategy varies, with the competitive setting. A small change with respect to any controllable or non-controllable calls for the re-evaluation of the entire marketing strategy.

How the Four Ps Work


Product refers to a good or service that a company offers to customers. Ideally, a product should fulfill an existing consumer demand. Or a product may be so compelling that consumers believe they need to have it and it creates a new demand. To be successful, marketers need to understand the life cycle of a product, and business executives need to have a plan for dealing with products at every stage of their life cycle. The type of product also partially dictates how much businesses can charge for it, where they should place it, and how they should promote it in the marketplace.

Many of the most successful products have been the first in their category. For example, Apple was the first to create a touchscreen smartphone that could play music, browse the Internet, and make phone calls. As of November 2018, Apple stopped providing public sales figures for the iPhone. However, as of November 1, 2018, total sales of the iPhone equaled $2.2 billion. Apple revealed that it had sold its one billionth iOS device on November 22, 2014. And in 2018, the company announced they were approaching selling their two billionth iOS device.


Price is the cost consumers pay for a product. Marketers must link the price to the product’s real and perceived value, but they also must consider supply costs, seasonal discounts, and competitors’ prices. In some cases, business executives may raise the price to give the product the appearance of being a luxury. Alternatively, they may lower the price so more consumers can try the product.

Marketers also need to determine when and if discounting is appropriate. A discount can sometimes draw in more customers, but it can also give the impression that the product is less exclusive or less of a luxury compared to when it is was priced higher.

UNIQLO, headquartered in Japan, is a clothing manufacturer of global casual wear. Like its competitors—other famous causal wear brands such as Gap and Zara—UNIQLO creates low-price, daily-use garments.

What makes UNIQLO unique is that it creates innovative, high-quality products. It is able to accomplish this by procuring its fabric from its material manufacturer partners, securing stable, high-quality materials at low cost by ordering in large volumes, and continuously seeking the highest-quality and lowest-cost material in the world. The company also directly negotiates with its manufacturers and has built strategic partnerships with high-quality and innovative Japanese manufacturers.

UNIQLO also outsources its production to partner factories; because it doesn’t own its own factories, it has the flexibility to change production partners if the best production location changes over time. Finally, the company employs a team of skilled textile artisans that it sends to its partner factories all over the world for quality control. In addition, production managers visit factories once a week to resolve quality problems.


When a company makes decisions regarding place, they are trying to determine where they should sell a product and how to deliver the product to the market. The goal of business executives is always to get their products in front of the consumers that are the most likely to buy them.

In some cases, this may refer to placing a product in certain stores, but it also refers to the product’s placement on a specific store’s display. In some cases, placement may refer to the act of including a product on television shows, in films, or on web pages in order to garner attention for the product.

The 1995 movie GoldenEye was the seventeenth installment in the James Bond movie franchise. It was the first Bond movie not to feature an Aston Martin car. Instead, the British actor Pierce Brosnan got into a Z3 by BMW. Although the Z3 was not released until months after the film had left theaters, BMW received 9,000 orders for the car the month after the movie opened.


Promotion includes advertising, public relations, and promotional strategy. The goal of promoting a product is to reveal to consumers why they need it and why they should pay a certain price for it.

Marketers tend to tie promotion and placement elements together so they can reach their core audiences. For example, In the digital age, the “place” and “promotion” factors are as much online as they are offline. Specifically, where a product appears on a company’s web page or social media, as well as which types of search functions trigger corresponding, targeted ads for the product.

The Swedish vodka brand Absolut sold only 10,000 cases of its vodka in 1980. But by 2000, the company had sold 4.5 million cases, thanks in part to its iconic advertising campaign. The images in the campaign featured the brand’s signature bottle styled as a range of surreal images: a bottle with a halo, the bottle made of stone, or as the outline of trees on a ski slope. To date, this Absolut advertising campaign is one of the longest-running continuous ad campaigns of all time, from 1981 to 2005.


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