Corporate strategy is broader than marketing strategy, as it refers to the overall strategy used to guide a business. A marketing strategy and a corporate strategy, however, may be synchronized to attract, retain and optimize value from customers.
Corporate Strategy Basics
The Ivey Business Journal calls corporate strategy the manner in which a company optimizes value from its products or services. In a more general sense, a corporate strategy is a plan to aid a company in carrying out its vision and mission while achieving particular goals. If a company wants to gain 5 percent market share over a two-year period, for example, its corporate strategy might center on how to leverage its brand reputation and marketing budget to convince a target market that its value is better than that of competitors.
Competitor Analysis: Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your business relative to those of competitors is an essential element of corporate strategy. According to Mind Tools, many companies use a form of analysis called SWOT — which stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats" — to evaluate these factors. Knowing your company and product strengths allows you greater focus when marketing. Understanding your weaknesses helps you know what to avoid and allows you to prepare to combat negative competitor messaging and customer concerns.
Business Environment: The opportunities and threats sections of a SWOT analysis are used to identify potential money-making business opportunities as well as threats that could harm the company. If an emerging market's needs align with your company's offering, for example, leveraging marketing dollars with this market makes sense. If new regulations negatively affect a particular product segment, analysis helps you prepare a strategy to overcome the obstacle.
The Ivey Business Journal article clearly illustrates that close relationship between corporate strategies and marketing strategies. A company's marketing strategies are used to execute marketing goals. If the business aims to increase market share, for example, marketing strategies might include aggressive advertising expenditures and elaborate research studies on target market preferences for use in improving offerings.
In general, the role of marketing is to attract the right customers to the company through various forms of research and effective company and product promotion. It does so by leveraging many of the same SWOT factors used in corporate strategy. Marketing also centers on communicating a strong value proposition on the basis of such factors as a strong product, convenient distribution and value pricing.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.