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Strategic and operational marketing: similarities and differences

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Operational marketing is a type of marketing that is based on selling in the short term, while strategic marketing is the side of marketing that focuses on the medium and long term. Although these definitions are the main difference, here are some of the most obvious differences:

  • Operational marketing deals with actions and tactics, while strategic marketing, as its name suggests, deals with the overall strategy.
  • Operational marketing works on channels, media and products, while strategic marketing works on values, audiences and results.

Main characteristics and functions of operational marketing vs. strategic marketing

We could say that the main characteristics of operational marketing are:

  • It generates sales directly.
  • It focuses on the performance of the company itself and seeks to minimise the costs of actions.
  • It operates in the short-medium term.
  • It is based on actions related to communication, product policies, pricing, distribution and communication.
  • It is in constant contact with strategic marketing.

On the other hand, the characteristics of strategic marketing are:

  • It generates the overall business strategy to achieve success.
  • It places the customer at the centre.
  • It operates in the long term.
  • It is based on actions related to the study and in-depth analysis of the company's environment (customers and competitors, opportunities and threats, etc.)

    Marketing estratégico y operativo: similitudes y diferencias

The main functions of operational marketing are:

  • Design of positioning and tactics. Every action needs a design and tactics of operation. Operational marketing shapes the commercial strategy through positioning in the market in which the company operates.
  • Translating marketing strategies into an action plan.
  • Working at a tactical level on the marketing mix.
  • Budgeting each of the marketing actions to be carried out or the total elaboration of the budget. Itis also up to you to break down the costs of the commercial strategy. To do this, it is most common to prioritise the actions and divide them into the most important ones and those that in some way derive from the first. The idea is to optimise the operational marketing action plan as much as possible.
  • Determine which objectives are to be met.
  • Pricing, distribution and communication. Once the objectives have been defined in the strategic phase of the process, operational marketing must also define the price at which the product will be sold, the way in which it will be distributed to points of sale and the communication strategies, which are fundamental elements when it comes to breaking into a market.
  • Monitoring and control of actions: Those responsible for operational marketing must keep abreast of what is involved in entering the market, monitor customer behaviour, measure the evolution of the product and, above all, be aware of any deviations or failures that may arise and implement solutions.
  • Packaging: This consists of designing attractive and consumer-friendly product packaging, which will have a direct impact on the level of sales.
  • Commercial policies, i.e. strategies to facilitate the commercialisation of products, such as offering applicable discounts or temporary promotions, which will be managed and coordinated from each sales point.
  • Creation and management of advertising campaigns. This includesall advertising actions that seek to attract the attention of potential customers to the brand, as well as actions of all kinds that affect the company's sales and actions such as street marketing and mailing operations that attract calls or visits to the shop.

On the other hand, the main functions of strategic marketing are:

  • Analysing new consumer habits and trends.
  • Studying competitors.
  • Observing the evolution of demand.
  • Detecting new customer needs.
  • Studying market opportunities and threats.
  • Create a sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Study our capacities to adapt the company to the market.
  • Define the marketing strategy that allows the company to achieve the objectives it has set itself.

Marketing estratégico y operativo: similitudes y diferencias

can one exist without the other?

We have already seen the main differences and similarities between strategic and operational marketing, but can one exist without the other in inbound marketing?

The answer is that they really could exist independently of each other. However, even the best strategic marketing plan could not achieve favourable results without operational marketing, and vice versa. In any case, it is always better to work with both. This is because, in order to achieve better results, it is necessary to reflect beforehand on what our situation is, what the evolution is and what the market needs are. And, once these concepts have been defined, the next step is to execute this marketing plan. This process requires coordination between the different departments of the company. Finally, once the plan has been executed, it is essential to measure and check whether the planned objectives have really been achieved. If not, select measures to correct these errors.

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