The step-by-step guide to creating a complete marketing strategy in 2021

How many times have you seen a killer marketing campaign and thought, “Wow, I wish I had thought of that!”

(Glossier, I’m looking at you.)

We’ve all been through this.

The truth is, when you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to know if your strategy is as comprehensive and powerful as it could be.

To reduce this uncertainty, we have created this guide that will show you step by step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.

In 2019, let’s dive into the five critical components of a complete marketing strategy, followed by a few examples for further inspiration.

How to create a marketing strategy

  1. Create a marketing plan.
  2. Create buyer personalities.
  3. Identify goals.
  4. Select the appropriate tools.
  5. Take into account existing resources.
  6. Review and plan media campaigns.
  7. Make it wear.

1. Create a marketing plan.

Wait, do I have to make a plan for my strategy? What is the difference? Your marketing strategy provides an overview of the reasons why your marketing team needs certain resources, takes certain actions, and sets certain goals throughout the year. Your marketing plan will contain the specific actions you will take to achieve this strategy.

Not sure where to start? This free marketing plan template can help.

How do I create a marketing plan?Image source

The right template can help you create a marketing plan that outlines your budget for the year, the initiatives your marketing organization needs to tackle, and the marketing channels you will use to deliver those initiatives. And it all ties in with a business overview to align you with the overall business goals.

2. Create buyer personalities.

If you can’t define who your audience is in one sentence, now is your chance to do so. A buyer personality is an example of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy’s might define a buying personality as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her thirties who lives in the suburbs and wants to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macy Budgeting’s marketing department can introduce itself to Belinda and work with a clear definition.

Buyer personalities have important demographic and psychographic information – including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of these attributes in her description.

You don’t have to use pen and paper to create your buyer personality. In fact, HubSpot has a free template that you can use to make your own (and it’s really fun). Buying personalities should be at the center of your strategy development.

3. Identify goals.

Your marketing strategy goals should align with your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attending your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be to increase online RSVPs by 10% at the end of the month.

Other marketing goals could be to increase brand awareness or generate high quality leads. You may also want to develop or retain the thought leaders in your industry or increase customer value. Whatever your goals, identify what they are and how your marketing organization can work to achieve them over the next year.

4. Select the appropriate tools.

Once you have identified your goals, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals. Online software like Social Media Scheduler gives you analytics to keep track of what your audience likes and dislikes. Alternatively, you can consider Google Analytics to measure the performance of blogs and websites.

In addition, making your goals SMART helps. To do this, see Writing a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template]. Here are some tools you can use to track and measure the success of your marketing goals:


Trello for Marketing Planning

Trello keeps your marketing team up to date and openly communicates about the projects they’re working on. Create boards for individual campaigns, editorial calendars, or quarterly goals.

Integrated workflows and automation functions optimize communication, and simplicity allows your marketing team to focus on the work that matters.

Pricing: Free; Business Class, $ 9.99 / user / month; Enterprise, $ 17.50 / user / month for 100 users hubspot integration Everything on starts with a board or a visually controlled table. Create and customize workflows for your team and keep groups, items, sub-items and updates in sync in real time.

You can also transform data from Timeline and Gantt views to keep track of your projects on and make sure deadlines have been met. With 40+ integrations – from SurveyMonkey to Mailchimp to HubSpot – you can visualize your data and make sure your entire company works together.

Price: Basic, $ 8 / month / seat; Standard, $ 10 / month / seat; Per, $ 16 / month / seat; Company, contact for prices


Semrush Marketing Planning Benefits SEO is still an important factor for the successful ranking of your website. With SEMrush, you can perform a technical SEO audit, track daily rankings, analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy, research millions of keywords and even collect ideas for more organic traffic.

But the benefits don’t stop with SEO. Use SEMRush for PPC to build and measure effective social media strategy, content planning, and even market research.

Price: Pro, $ 99.95 / month; Guru, $ 199.95 / month; Store, $ 399.95 / month


Buzzsumo content measurement

With BuzzSumo, you can analyze data to improve and guide your marketing strategy, while also examining high-performing content in your industry to drive engagement. Use the platform to identify influencers who can help your brand reach out and monitor comments and trends to get the most out of each round.

They also have tools to help you with crisis management and video marketing as your needs change.

Price: Pro, $ 99 / month; Plus $ 179 / month; Large, $ 299 / month; Corporate: $ 499 + / month

Crazy egg

Crazy Egg Website Optimization Do you need to optimize your website this year? Consider starting with Crazy Egg. You can identify “attention hotspots” on your product pages, track traffic from advertising campaigns to your website, and see if customers click where you want them. You can even make sure your “Buy Now” buttons are the best they can be.

Crazy Egg also offers record keeping, A / B testing, and more to ensure your website is delivering the best user experience and ROI.

Pricing: Basic, $ 24 / month; Standard: $ 49 / month; Plus $ 99 / month; Pro: $ 249 / month; Custom options on request

5. Consider available resources.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal to build your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your wealth in three categories: Paid, Owned, and Earned Media.

Paid media

Remember that paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer paid media options that increase your awareness.

Owned media

Own media is any media that you create. Blog posts, e-books, images, and infographics created by your marketing team are examples of custom media.

Deserved media

Earned media is another way to express user-generated content. Social media shares, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your business are examples of media earned.

Gather your materials in these areas and consolidate them all into a single vehicle so you have a clear idea of ​​what you have and how to integrate the three channels together to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that publishes weekly content in your niche (custom media), you can promote your blog posts on Twitter (paid media) which customers may then re-tweet (earned media). Ultimately, this will help you develop a better and more comprehensive strategy.

The free option? Tweet it from your company’s Twitter or post it on Instagram and use relevant hashtags to spread it.

If you have resources that don’t fit your goals, nothing. This is a great time to clean the house or identify any gaps in your materials.

6. Review and plan media campaigns.

The cleaning of the house goes straight to this step. Now you need to decide what content will help you. Focus on your own media and marketing goals. For example, will updating the CTAs at the bottom of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs for your event?

Next, take a look at your buyer personalities. Let’s say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your person’s challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don’t have content to reflect it, create a 15 second demo video for Instagram to show how well your product solves this challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include the title, goals, format, and channel for each content. Make sure you include what challenge it solves for your buyer personality.

For ideas on how to create content or a more in-depth description of how to create a content plan, check out our post The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

7. Make it wear

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy is being carried out (and by which teams).

The final step is to bring it all together – to incorporate action into your planning. Create a document that outlines the steps you need to take to run your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

When creating this document, think long term. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the basis for your strategic marketing efforts.

To draw an example, let’s return to the video software company.

You may start a software update in January that will improve the export process for users. In April you want to publish an e-book explaining the processing conditions to your buyer personalities, and in September you plan to integrate it with other software.

Remember that your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the same should be true of the document. As long as the strategy has all the necessary information, you can take your business brand from good to great.

Now that we’ve examined five key steps in a complete marketing strategy, let’s take a look at a few: “Why didn’t I think about it?” Strategies to Inspire Your Own.

Examples of successful marketing strategies

1. Royal films

Digital strategy: own media

Regal Movies has taken the Halloween spirit to the next level and even rebranded Twitter to reflect the spirit of the season. This “Monster Madness” survey is a fun, interactive way to get followers to invest in Regal’s content:

Media from Regal Movies

Image source

Regal’s tweet is an example of its own media, as the company had the responses of followers under control (and the American werewolf apparently didn’t stand a chance). Regal effectively stayed true to its brand by only using classic films in its survey while still adding a modern twist.

It’s also a good example of how retweets don’t necessarily translate into success. While four retweets aren’t that big a deal, look at the votes: 461. That means there were over 400 interactions on a single tweet.

2. Taco Bell

Digital strategy: user generated content, earned media

Real love is taking your engagement photos at your favorite Mexican fast food restaurant – right? User generated content is one of the best ways to get a foothold in your strategy. They show your appreciation for loyal customers and offer incentives for other users to promote your products for the chance of a similar shout-out. Plus, sometimes the content your brand lovers create is really, really good:

Oh, you really did. 👏❤️

– Taco Bell (@tacobell) September 26, 2019

It’s not every day that someone takes engagement photos at a fast food restaurant, and Taco Bell took advantage of this well-deserved media opportunity. Deserved media work here because this couple says they love Baja Blasts and Crunchwraps as much as they do each other – so it has to be delicious.

3. PR for little girls

Digital strategy: event marketing

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?

Small Girls PR is a boutique PR firm based in New York, and one of the company’s talents is bringing great events to clients like Olay. This event review carousel on Instagram is an effective example of event marketing.

Event marketing is a fantastic opportunity to increase your brand awareness. Also, not every company has to trigger wasteful events. Event marketing can be as simple as the last company outing you had at your team’s favorite brewery.

Posting a brief summary on Instagram sheds light on the company culture and shows your appreciation for those of your employees, which ideally encourages others to apply.

4. Diesel Cafe

Digital strategy: word of mouth

The Boston-based Diesel Cafe is more than just a great place to get vegan bagels. It rocks word-of-mouth marketing too. Diesel even has its own website – a place fans can post letters about the fun times at the cafe:

Check your company’s Yelp Climate. Do people give you nice reviews? Showing some of these on your social channels is an effective way to socially prove that your product or service is a worthwhile investment, as people tend to trust more peers than ads.

5th goal

Digital strategy: Paid media, Twitter cards

If you have the paid media budget, make the most of it. Paid media is when you pay for social channels like Twitter to promote your content on their website. This is how your content reaches new audiences that you may not be able to reach organically:

Wrap yourself in soft sweaters and fleece-lined denim jackets.

– Target (@Target) October 11, 2019

An inclusive Fall shopping ad from Target uses Twitter cards to promote its brand and offer easier shopping. Just click on the photo and you will be directed to a purchase page. More social channels give customers the ability to buy in-app or near them, grow sales and increase brand awareness.

Ultimately, creating a complete marketing strategy cannot be done overnight. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to make sure you reach your ideal audience, whenever and wherever they want to be reached.

Stick with it (and take advantage of some of the resources we’ve included in this post). Over time, research and customer feedback can help you refine your strategy to ensure that you are spending most of your time in the marketing channels that your audience is most interested in.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2019. It has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

Marketing plan template

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