Working in the international business arena I often find clients confused about these two strategies when it comes to write a business plan. Is it the same thing to develop a market entry strategy than a marketing strategy? What comes first? Besides creating a heated debating environment, to differentiate them is actually a very important part for any business pursuing international expansion.
One similarity is that both strategies are complimentary and the information transfers easily from one to the other. Likewise, these strategies are key elements of a comprehensive business plan. This is the reason why it easy to get confused and think that both strategies are the same thing.
So what does the market entry strategy focus on? There are numerous ways to enter a prospective market, for instance, a company could export directly or sell to a distributor, it might choose to form a join venture with a local company or even hire a specialized agent in the industry. All of these forms could be right or wrong; it solely depends on your product / service and the dynamics of the target market. This is why I can’t overstress the importance having a thorough market research before you develop your strategy.
On the other hand, a marketing strategy outlines the best way to introduce your products into a new market to create a competitive advantage and increase your sales. It focuses more on defining who you target customer is and what is your marketing mix (product, price, place and promotion).
As you can see, both strategies go hand in hand and I recommend creating a marketing plan to sketch out the roadmap to achieve your business goals.