Marketing 101 Still Matters – Why The Basics of Marketing Are as Important as Ever

By Keenan-Nagle | February 13, 2020 | Category: Digital Marketing Marketing Media

When you are working on a marketing project, it’s easy to get swept up in the latest ad platform, the newest ways of delivering even more targeted ads, a catchy headline or just the time crunch of getting the promotion out the door. But if you are not making sure the fundamentals of your marketing and advertising are done correctly, you truly are wasting someone’s valuable time and limited budget.

Pick any sports analogy you want.  If you don’t practice the fundamentals, your game is flawed. And being a Philadelphia sports fan, spotting flaws in player fundamentals (and letting said players know about it) is engrained in me. From a marketing and advertising perspective, I’m always looking for holes in the strategy, the targeting, the message, the mediums chosen, the execution, and the measurement before the work really gets started. It doesn’t always make me popular with my team or clients, but if I do not ask those hard questions then, somebody else very well may be asking me about them later.

Bad fundamentals can be easy to spot after the fact, but not always as easy to see when you are neck deep in getting the work done. That’s why taking the time up front for every project, even if it is just a few minutes, is so important.

Here’s the simple checklist that I have used throughout my career. Nothing magical about it. But I’ve found that if I apply it consistently, it keeps marketing strategies on point and on schedule, messaging relevant, reporting focused correctly and most importantly, nobody asking me at the end of the campaign ‘how’d that get missed?’

  1. What are the goals of the campaign?

Dig down on this one. There may be some underlying or unstated goals, that if not uncovered, could lead to problems later. For instance, if the stated goal is increased awareness, but the person ultimately evaluating the success is going to be looking for total revenue generated, that’s a problem.

  1. What are all of the success metrics that will be used?

This is obviously tied very closely to the first question. Asking this will help get clarity on the goals and allow you to track the right things.

  1. Who are you are targeting?

Again, dig into this. You or your client may think you know who needs to see the message, but there may be influencers, gatekeepers, or ultimate decision makers that also need to be addressed.

  1. What are the problems you are solving or pain points you are addressing for the client?

Focus on the benefits and determine how you are helping your target audience fill a need better than anyone else can.

  1. What are the timelines and the budget?

Knowing the constraints, you are working under right up front is key for everyone and is massive in determining what you can actually do.


Paul Leese,
MBA is the Executive Vice President of Keenan-Nagle Advertising, Inc. located in Allentown, PA.  He specializes in marketing strategy development and execution and has over twenty years of successful experience in marketing, management, team building, media services and strategy development for non-profits, large corporations and small businesses.

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