Strategic and operational marketing: Definitions and essential tools

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Before putting a product or a service on sale, it is necessary to define a prospecting strategy coherent strategy according to several criteria. 🤔 Based on the marketing of a product, there are two types of marketing that complement each other: the strategic and operational marketing.

In this article, we will understand these definitions, their examples and relevant tools to use, 👇step by step!

What is the purpose of marketing? Definitions here!

Marketing can classically be defined as a set of actions designed to study and influence the needs and behaviors of consumers, and to continuously adapt production and trade to previously identified needs and behaviors. (Adapted definition from the official journal definition). 📰

According to this definition, marketing includes: 🍇

  • Marketing is dedicated to market research
  • Qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • Analyzing consumer behavior, etc.

The relevant tools to influence desires come from need, mainly in the form of marketing and communication strategies: 🍊

  • Advertising campaigns.
  • Direct marketing.
  • Sales promotion.
  • Public relations.
  • Actions and loyalty plans (CRM)…

The actions and mechanisms for adapting to needs and behaviors are mainly in the marketing plan or marketing mix: 🍉

  • Product policy.
  • Price policy.
  • Media policy.
  • Distribution policy.

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Definition of strategic or tactical marketing

It is a systematic analysis of the market in relation to the company’s sector and marketing activities. It helps to identify the needs of the market and respond to them in an optimal way. 💯

When a company operates in any industry, it will need to identify and target the needs and gaps in the market to create a competitive product that stands out from the rest. 🔝 Marketing tactics are there to determine the future products that will be in the market based on the analysis of the market needs.

The purpose of this strategy is to inform the company and its executives for future decision-making. Regarding the design of the product, the choice of price, target audience and the choice of communication strategy will be applied to promote the product. 🗣️

Over the years, companies have become accustomed to relying on data from their prospecting software data to help them make strategic and operational marketing decisions. ⚒️

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Definition of operational marketing

While strategic marketing is essentially a systematic definition, operational marketing is the combination of coherent actions that will be taken to market a product. 🎁

Operational marketing is also called “marketing mix”, and is based on four axes or 4 “P’s”: 🍍

  • Distribution policy (“Place”),
  • Communication policy (“Promotion”),
  • Product policy (“Product”),
  • Pricing policy (“Price”).

These four axes are the poles of action in B2B marketing. The strategic part in marketing decisions and positions that will be taken will be consistent and continuous, in order to place the product in the most competitive position possible in the market. 🛒


What is the relationship between strategic marketing and operational marketing?

Although marketing in general is based on the strategic design of sales, it is important to distinguish two different areas: strategic marketing and operational marketing. 🦾

After defining the strategic part and operational marketing, it is time to move on to the main differences between the two types of marketing. The comparison will be made according to general and distinctive criteria. 🥸

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To recap, strategic marketing and operational marketing are strongly linked. Strategic marketing “thinks”, and operational marketing “executes”. Strategic marketing is the “steering wheel” that provides direction, operational marketing is the means that turns that decision into action. 💥

Strategic marketing 🎯

  • Allows to create the global marketing strategy of the company.
  • It acts on the long term.
  • It is based on tasks related to studies and in-depth analyses of the company’s internal and external environment (customers and competitors, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, etc.).
  • He puts the user at the center of his actions.

Operational marketing: ⚡

  • Seeks the means for the implementation of the sales strategy to obtain concrete results.
  • It focuses on performance indicators and seeks to reduce the costs associated with the execution of the strategic plan.
  • It works on the short and medium term.
  • It is based on tasks related to communication strategies, product policies, pricing, and distribution.
  • It is consistent with marketing tactics.


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What is the purpose of marketing operations projects? Tools here!

In general, strategic marketing offers a different perspective than operational marketing. It primarily aims to: 🍑

  • Define the company’s market.
  • Do a good job of segmenting the population.
  • Evaluate segments in terms of size, growth, and demand.
  • Develop relevant competitive advantages based on current positioning and market forecasts and trends.

It is important in strategic marketing to conduct a thorough internal analysis to evaluate the structural elements and material resources of the company. For example, do internal analysis with SWOT analysis tool or external analysis with PESTEL analysis tool. 🧐

swot analysis

pestel analysis

These two factors are very important to consider when developing an inbound marketing strategy! 🧨


When can a marketing plan become operational? Examples here!

The functions of operational marketing are very different from strategic marketing, but they are still complementary. 🤝 Because the development of an operational action plan must be done in close relation with a strategic marketing plan.

In general, operational marketing emphasizes the “action” dimension of the market-driven concept. It is based on the 4 main elements of the marketing mix (McCarthy’s 4 Ps) : 🍈

  • Product.
  • Place (Distribution).
  • Price.
  • Promotion (communication strategies aimed at enhancing the notoriety of a brand, a product, or a company).

Here are 2 examples of Marketing Mix for popular brands: 👑

The main function of the “Marketing Mix” is therefore to create added value short term by implementing structured and direct actions : develop a new product line, determine sales prices, select distribution channels, develop media actions, segment the target market, etc. 🧲


Conclusion: New steps for marketing excellence and operational strategy

The traditional 4P model has evolved with advances in marketing research, aiming to be as comprehensive as possible and taking into account all influencing factors. We then see a new “7 P” model has been developed with 3 new steps: 🔥

  • “People” are the way your employees or marketing teams deal with customers: they are the sales force, the reception, the behavior, and the influence on your objectives, to be more attractive for your brand than your competitors.
  • “Process” is important to ensure a reliable and quality service in the eyes of your target. Processes must be prepared in advance and take into account all interactions with customers.
  • “Physical evidence”, which influences customer satisfaction at a high level. This is the tangible evidence you will bring to your customers (tests, results, recommendations…) to reassure them and keep your promises.

New 10 “P” models are also emerging, such as “Partnership”, which covers partnerships in analysis and potential areas of action, but the underlying logic remains the same. 💁 Trust yourself to identify the relevant factors to consider in your analysis, the best “P” list is yours! 🤩 The marketing mix method remains the same, no matter how many “P” steps you choose.

To build a solid marketing strategy, it’s important to ask the right questions and use the right methods to optimize your operations and achieve your set goals. Also consider incorporating a little growth hacking to give your marketing strategy more power! 🚀


Article FAQ

What is the difference between strategic marketing and marketing strategy?

Strategic marketing or marketing strategy allow you to have a global vision of the approach to follow to achieve results defined by the company, in fact, these two concepts mean the same thing! 👯

Another function of strategic marketing is competitive intelligence. Thus, strategic marketing focuses on the internal structure of the company. 🔗 The analysis performed will be used to evaluate the physical resources and structural elements of the company.

Subsequently, the strategy of funnel marketing first seeks to understand the market in which the company operates and then performs the proper market segmentation. 🏅 This allows for a realistic and comprehensive assessment of each segment. Here, the focus will be on the growth, size as well as the needs of each segment. 🤲


What are the objectives and decisions in a strategic marketing plan?

To approach the strategic marketing effort and facilitate its implementation in business, there are 3 steps to follow 👇

  • An analysis of the external and internal environments leads to a diagnosis.
  • The stage of defining the marketing strategy and marketing objectives. This then leads to targeting, including basic and extension objectives, and positioning of the brand or product line.
  • The final step is to determine which marketing channel to undertake at a certain point in order to grow the business. These active means or levers to activate are essentially represented by the marketing mix.

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We are coming to the end of this article, I hope you have understood the main concepts of strategic and operational marketing. See you soon for the next episode! 📺


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