The term "strategy pyramid" refers both to a methodological approach to running a marketing organization and to a particular document that captures and reflects that approach. The notion of a strategy pyramid is not specific to marketing, but it is a general way of planning a business’s activities. In a strategy pyramid, a business plan is divided into three layers, which are referred to as the strategy, tactics and programs layers. The strategy pyramid of a marketing plan takes the basic system and applies it specifically to marketing.
A marketing plan is a written document that spells out the anticipated activities of a marketing organization over a specific time. Often, marketing plans are designed to account for activities for a full year and may subdivide activities quarterly. Within the general marketing plan document, the contents are then guided by each of the layers of the strategy pyramid.
The top layer, for which the pyramid is named, is the strategy layer. The strategy component of the document is a summarized version of a company’s marketing strategy. The marketing strategy, which should be designed to support the overall business strategy, names strategic marketing goals and milestone dates for achieving them. For example, a strategic marketing goal might be “to become recognized as a provider of the highest-quality widgets” in a given class. Because this is a high-level view, this section does not include details, but simply sets key priorities.
The tactics layer of the strategy pyramid sets forth the particular approach or set of approaches that the marketing organization will take to meet its strategic objectives. For example, if the marketing strategy calls for overall product diversification, then the tactics layer names the particular products or product lines on which the organization will focus.
The most detailed and specific layer of a marketing plan strategy pyramid is the programs layer. This section of the document spells out the specific programs that will support each of the named tactics in the tactics section. Program information includes details about human resources required for each program, budget requirements, preliminary timelines and key calendar milestone dates.
Like many marketing documents, a marketing plan strategy pyramid is subject to regular updates and revisions. Updates to the plan may be based on changes in corporate strategy that, by extension, change the marketing strategy. However, even if the strategies remain the same, changes in the marketing landscape might require updates to tactics and programs. For example, a new product from a competitor might change consumer demand, a change which must then be reflected in the plan. In addition to reviews based on reactions to market events, a strategy pyramid document should be reviewed quarterly.