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Developing Your Strategy

This is where the magic happens: the strategies for how you will achieve your goals are defined and made actionable for execution.

During this phase of work, you’ll use the information and insights gathered during kick-off and discovery to define strategies to reach and activate your target audience. This includes identifying the media channels and creative formats you will be using, as well as developing the creative strategy that will inform creative development.

Activities include the development of a strategic approach (how you will activate your audience through the use of media channels, creative formats, and messaging communication), definition of media channels, identification of expected creative formats, and campaign and any messaging schedules.

The outputs of your strategy definition work include a marketing communication strategy deck and a creative brief. This documentation will inform the development of a media plan and serve as the blueprint for creative ideation and execution that follow.

A creative brief is a document that outlines your campaign’s objectives, target audience and requirements. It is the blueprint your creative team will follow, and is a tool to evaluate that the creative execution aligns with your objectives. The creative brief is continually referred back to over the course of creative development and production to ensure the creative deliverables are “on strategy” and fulfill the brief.

Why it matters

These strategies are the foundation of your campaign—documenting how you will achieve your marketing objectives—from the media channels and creative formats that will be leveraged to reach your audience to how you will optimize media performance to reach them most effectively and efficiently.

How it works

Data and insights gathered during discovery are translated into a strategic approach that will achieve your marketing objectives and allow you to engage and activate your target audience.

This generally includes:

  • Identifying the channels (social media, TV, and/or CTV/streaming, community-based partnerships, direct email, print, etc.) you will use to reach your audience. These should be the channels that your target audiences use the most.
  • Deciding the creative formats (video, animated banners, static ads, website graphics, email templates, etc.) required to support your identified channels. These should be the formats your audience prefers to engage with (e.g., video) and that you have the resources to produce.
  • Defining the messaging cadence your campaign will follow. This will include defining the “flighting” or timing of messaging (do you have a “launch” phase with heavy activity followed by a “sustaining” or ongoing phase with reduced but steady activity), how your messaging will work together (will you develop messages promoting different benefits to support different audience segments or personas), and will you run the same messaging over the course of the campaign or swap different messages in and out based on key topics or timely events.

Your strategies should be informed by the data uncovered during discovery research and advance your efforts to meet your defined marketing objectives.

Your strategic approaches should be shared with stakeholders and aligned on before entering the next phase of the process, ensuring there are no surprises down the road.

Pro Tip

Map out each decision in your strategy and understand how it supports your overall marketing objectives. Similarly, identify how the data and research you uncovered in discovery supports these decisions. This will help you convince your stakeholders that the strategic path you’re proposing is the right one.

How long it takes

2–4 weeks.

The first time this work is done will take the longest. Once you have developed your own strategic methodology “formula,” it will go much faster because you’ll have a framework that you can adjust rather than having to start from scratch each time.

Do it in a day

Use the C+E Lab’s Marketing Communication Strategy framework to quickly develop a strategic framework. Like most things, the more robust the intelligence going into the framework is, the better its output will be.


Presentation of Marketing Communication Strategy deck with defined strategic approach, channel and creative strategies, and budget.

  • Marketing Communication Strategy (to come)
  • Creative Brief Template
  • Sample Channel Plan with Budget Options (to come)

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