Marketing Strategy: What to Define Before Starting Your Work



The exciting part of marketing is execution. Writing interesting content, increasing your social network, and watching as your PPC campaign clicks increase are all things that we enjoy as marketers.

The part of marketing that is less glamorous and exciting is preparing a marketing strategy. Spending time at the beginning talking about the “who, what and why” of a marketing campaign can sometimes feel unnecessary. Some in your group might even say it’s a waste of time to talk strategy. The clock is ticking, people – we have sales to make!

The fact is, your content, social, and SEM campaigns will fall flat without a proper marketing strategy. If your well-written and interesting blog post is targeting the pool of your audience that doesn’t enjoy reading blog articles in their free time, you will see less-than-stellar results.

Continue reading below for some of the top points that we have been defining in our marketing strategies, before any work has begun.

Overall Business Objectives

What problems need to be solved? This may seem like a “duh” moment… but in a year you will be glad you defined your main objectives. Pinpointing successes or shortcomings in your marketing program all stem from your objectives. If you are not accomplishing them, your program is not effective.

Some common marketing objectives are:

  1. Increasing Sales
  2. Building a relevant audience
  3. Increasing engagement
  4. Boosting brand awareness
  5. Driving ROI for marketing programs



What are the specific actions you are going to take to accomplish your objectives? Tactics are the more defined explanation of how an objective will be met.

If our objective is to increase engagement, for example, we may employ a content marketing strategy and pair it with social media marketing to entice conversation around our brand.


KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. A KPI is a measurable value that is tied to a tactic. This is the part where your analytics data comes in handy – they are KPI’s for your marketing efforts. Using the above example of increasing engagement, a KPI could be Social clicks or engagement, blog views, and landing page conversions.

Audience and Personas

Before creating any content, it’s important to define your company’s audience. This is another step that can seem unnecessary, especially if you have lots of experience in your industry. However, taking the time to map out your audience’s story can really help make your messaging much stronger.

Brand Voice and Styling

Once you’ve decided whom you are talking to, it is important to decide how you will say what you want to say. Brand voices can vary drastically, from the very casual to the intellectual. Does your brand crack jokes? If not, your tone will be much different than a brand that goes for a cheeky tone. Brand voice and styling are especially important tools for writers and creative teams.

Content Themes and Important Initiatives

In any content marketing program, the hard part is usually deciding your topics. Instead of making it hard on yourself, take the time at the beginning of the program to outline out all possible content themes for the company under “umbrellas.” Additionally, lay out all of your key initiatives for the year. If you always celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, stick it on your initiatives calendar.

Having these umbrellas of topics will let you easily choose a variety of compelling topics for content, and knowing the timing of your initiatives will make it easier to plan ahead.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into defining a marketing strategy. This can take days or even weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of your campaigns or industry. Work with your marketing teams to outline the strategy that works best for your company, and factor in the proper amount time necessary to complete it.

What else do you include on your marketing strategy? Leave a comment below and let us know.



  1. Hey Emily,
    Defining a marketing strategy before hand is key to a successful campaign. There are lots of efforts and planning that should take place and its important to work them out.

    In defining marketing strategy before a campaign, the marketer must answer the “w’s” questions. These are the “what”, “why”, who” and “where” and “when” of the marketing efforts. Included to this should be the question of “how”

    Your post is instructive and its sure important to know what can be done for a successful marketing campaign!
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  2. Hi Emily,
    Indeed, proper marketing is key to defining online marketing success. I agree with your take

    “If your well-written and interesting blog post is targeting the pool of your audience that doesn’t enjoy reading blog articles in their free time, you will see less-than-stellar results.”

    With proper planning it becomes really easy to achieve any form of marketing objectives.
    The details on Content Themes and Important Initiatives are revealing to me. These are my best takeaways from this post!

  3. In my personal view, I think marketing strategy should start by defining who the audience is and what they want.

    It is after the audience is clearly defined that every other marketing strategy would be employed.

    The audience’s needs influences the KPI’s, content, brand styling and all other objectives of the company.

    So, before any marketing strategy is defined, the audience must be recognized!

  4. Hey Emily,

    It’s wise to come up with a marketing strategy before you actually take any type of action to promote what you are your company does. It’s better to be prepared of what may come than to not be.

    I think the first thing that should be focused on is branding. You want to define who you are and what you actually do before you do anything else.

    Once you figure this out, then you want to know who already have an interest in what you do and what you promote. Your goal is to attract this market and just stay laser focus in creating a marketing campaign geared towards them.

    Once you determine this, this is when you can benefit from analytic tools and create content themes that are based from your brand and what you know about your target audience.

    Thanks for sharing these tips Emily! It puts marketing in good perspective!
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  5. Emily, I think you’ve covered everything except Plan B – the contingency plan. What happens if one or more elements fail. Or if the environment drastically changes. Or if your big launch happens on the day that a rocket crashes into the Great Wall of China.

    Ideally, there is a Plan B for each element, but also an overall Plan B – what if milestones are not being reached? Is there a Plan B to give an extra boost? Is there a Plan B at the end of an escape hatch?

    I suspect most people rush forward without a Plan B, but then again, most businesses fail. How many more would succeed with pre-planned contingencies?

    Yes, you can file this under “Do as I say, not as I do.”
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