Drawing the Line: Differences Between Business Plan vs. Marketing Plan

Business owners know that having a company requires planning. And that plan must be set on paper in case they need to check information or processes. However, many company owners believe creating a business plan is a challenge. And while it certainly isn’t something you can take lightly, it doesn’t have to be a mountain to climb. 

Furthermore, many owners wonder if there are any differences between a marketing and a business plan or if either is more important. Stay with us as we solve the puzzle and give you tips for building top-notch business and marketing plans. 

What Is a Business and a Marketing Plan?

Before beginning our quest through the planning processes, we must understand what each stands for. 

A business plan is a document that includes essential company information, from its operations to goals and financial aspects. 

A marketing plan, also known as a marketing strategy, is a document that reflects strategic goals regarding specific areas of the marketing industry. 

Both plans are fundamental for companies. However, you cannot create a marketing plan without a previous business strategy since marketing strategies are part of business plans. We’ll elaborate on these differences next. 

Where the Differences Show

You learned what they are, so it’s time to know the difference between each plan. You’ll find that these two plans interconnect in some aspects and that the timelines of these plans can be a crucial differentiation factor. 

Content of the Plans

A marketing plan provides information regarding topics like social media or new product launches. While it includes some business information (costs, production rates, etc.), the main goal is promoting a product or service to a target market. 

A business plan is a far more extensive, detailed document. It includes marketing plan details. Like marketing plans, it’s possible to write business plans focused on one area, such as operations or internal business strategies. 


Business plans can function for long periods. While they need to be revised at least once a year to make sure everything is in place or to make any updates, it is not imperative to do constant monitoring. 

On the other hand, marketing plans must be updated yearly. These strategies are part of the company’s budgeting, therefore, they must be fully carved out to make sure they match the forecasted plans of the business. Additionally, these plans must be revised at least quarterly to ensure the projects are going correctly or to check if there’s room for improvement. 


While marketing and business plans must be consistent with one another, they have different targets to reach. 

If your objective is financing, then a business plan and marketing plan are essential to showcase what your company is about. Many banks and investors ask for these plans to see if the business is viable and worth investing in. On the contrary, if you want to improve your internal strategies and boost your overall results, these plans come in handy. 

A business plan is an excellent way to understand your company’s needs and goals and set objectives for each department. Furthermore, this plan allows owners to find out what resources they need to achieve the goals they have on sight. 

Marketing plans are created solely to set goals for this department. Of course, no company’s division is an isolated island. Instead, they’re all vital parts of a machine. Creating a marketing plan will help tailor the budget, understand the unit’s needs, and validate the efforts of the marketing team. 

Marketing vs Business Plans: The Types

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Now that we know the three main differences between these plans, it’s time to learn about the type of plans they have. 

Types of Marketing Plans

These types of plans focus on specific marketing needs a company has. If you wish to see exact marketing objectives and achievements, consider implementing one of the following: 

Social Media 

This marketing plan explains the department’s efforts for advertising on different social media platforms. Content marketing, paid ads on popular platforms like YouTube or Facebook, boosting posts, working with media buyers, and any other updated strategies that are in tune with today’s advertising world. 

Product Launch 

If your company has plans to launch a new product, your marketing team must create a product launch plan. This strategy includes how to introduce this product to the market, its target, and how it will be advertised. 


These plans cover the marketing strategies to implement in specific time frames: monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. It has to cover the marketing needs of each period so that it can be a fruitful plan. 

Types of Business Plans

Sometimes, a company will use a global, general marketing plan. Nonetheless, there will be situations that will require specific business plans. Some of the business strategies you will find are: 


This strategy is one of the most common ones. They target the goals of a department like marketing or HR. The document can include information you would add to a general business plan, such as operational costs, hiring costs if needed, profitability, etc. 


When you want a high-quality, detailed overview of your company’s goals, consider creating a strategic business plan. This plan includes information like mission and vision, strategies for goal achievement, and more. 

These business plans also aim to boost teamwork and overall corporate identity through actions that lead to success. 


If you’re new to the business world, then a start-up business plan is an item you must add to your to-do list. This plan describes information regarding market analysis and your company’s industry. If you plan to have investors, they will likely request a financial analysis. This analysis will include information such as cash flow forecasts, profit, income, and any other aspect your investors will find relevant.  


In this case, you must determine if the purpose of the growth plan is internal or external. If you plan to expand your company and need investors, your growth plan might require information like company details, management, branch offices, etc. If you won’t be working with investors, you will need to add information about the costs of expansion, what the sales look like, etc. 


These are internal strategies. They are used to set the goals for the year and determine the team’s tasks and any deadlines that are relevant to the business. 

Tips for Writing a Marketing Plan

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When creating a marketing plan, consider the following aspects: 

  • Value proposition and mission: You want to know the value proposition of the business. This means you wish to understand the promised value the customer will receive. When adding this information to your plan, highlight your company’s mission, the benefits of this product or service, and other valuable information. 
  • Establish KPIs: Including key performance indicators will allow you to calculate how successful your marketing plan is. It will be calculated based on the business value proposition. 
  • Know your target market: Its main goal is to understand the customers your brand will reach. Understanding the potential clients that will learn about your business is fundamental to offering a first-rate product or service. 
  • Strategies: It’s time to set how the campaign will be carried out. Is it a social media campaign? Will it require you to invest in ads? Are you taking the radio or TV road? 
  • Set a budget: No business plan sees the light without investment, and good marketing plans are no exception. Knowing this, create a budget that meets both sides of the coin (a reasonable amount that covers all the needs). 
  • Make adjustments when needed: Marketing plans can face changes, especially when based on the results of one of the strategies used. You might find paid ads become a game-changer in your campaign, so make the adjustments it needs to keep your campaign on top. 

Tips to Create a Business Plan

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If you are creating a new business plan, consider including these items depending on the type of plan: 

  • Start by creating a summary: This is the introductory section of your plan. Include a brief piece of what the document entails. 
  • Describe the company: Nobody knows your business better than you do. Add a description of the company, its work ethic, values, etc. 
  • Give details: Add information about the products or services your business offers.
  • Include a market analysis: Letting people know how the market looks, and your position within it is crucial for your company.
  • Add legal information: Add information about your business’s legal structure. Is it an LLC or a SaaS company

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Pages Is a Business Plan?

The usual business plan has around 15 to 20 pages. However, this number will vary based on the goal of the document. Most times, business plans that will go to possible investors are longer, as they include more information than a general one. 

Who Should Write a Company’s Business Plan?

While you can ask for help to type down the plan, the creation of the business strategy depends on the founders or owners of the company. Owners are the ones who know what they want to achieve for their company, and they are responsible for the core of the document. 

How Many Pages Should a Marketing Plan Have?

There is no set number for a marketing plan. Sometimes it will vary based on the size of the company. A small business could have a marketing plan of just 10-25 pages. Bigger businesses will have large documents. It also varies depending on the type of plan created. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering if it’s better to create a business plan vs. a marketing plan and have a limited budget for document creation, go for the first one, as it encompasses both targets. If your needs are directed at boosting your brand, a marketing plan is the way to go.

Regardless, both plans are useful for businesses, and learning how to do them is an excellent way of improving your business-owning skills. Thanks for reading! 

manu bhadouria

I'm Manmohan Bhadouria, a digital marketer with a strong SEO background. I love writing blogs and stories, and exploring new places and adventures is my passion. I have a soft spot for all kinds of animals.

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