Planning a marketing strategy for your business? All good (effective) strategies are the result of asking and answering the right questions about your business, product and most importantly, your market. Not thinking through the questions below is often the reason for really weak and shallow marketing plans that fail to get results, don’t impress investors and ultimately waste resources.
Here are a few really important questions to ask yourself and your team – many of which your competitors have never asked themselves (that’s good news).
So in no particular order…
8 Questions Your Marketing Strategy Must Answer!
- What pain is my target market avoiding and what pleasure are they moving towards? This tells you about the emotional strings currently moving the market into certain patterns of behavior. Understanding this gives you a good idea how to influence prospects.
- What do they perceive as being the best solution for the problem? Marketing is about managing perceptions, not reality – often the two will differ. What (and why) is your target markets perception on what product/ service and brand is the best solution to their problem and does your offering fit into this mold? Should it?
- What proof of competence convinces your target market? This tells you how to go about building credibility into your brand. In some industries it’s about how impressive your client list is, or how much experience you have, or what qualifications you’ve earned or awards you’ve been granted. What do you need to do to offer proof of your marketing claims? And by the way, if you’re a new business, new product or service and you don’t need to offer any kind of proof, then your offer probably isn’t very exciting at all (or you’re a very established brand).
- How are we different? What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)? Solve this by filling in the blanks: My competitors do ___this____, but we do ____this_____.
- What is the most effective medium to reach and convince my target market? Some mediums have more credibility than others. Some have wider reach than others. Some communication/ marketing mediums offer more flexibility or are more cost-effective than others. What is the primary medium you will use to reach & convince your audience? Note, this need not always be the same one as your competitors are using.
- The 3 most important marketing tasks will be…? Send an email? call a prospect? Visit a client? Take someone out for coffee? What are the top 3 most important daily or regular marketing activities you must do well and do constantly to build your business?
- The One thing about our marketing that will make it better than our competitors is ____? ‘Better’ means more effective. Will it be more credible? More visible? More exciting? More viral?
- The One thing the market needs to know about us is….? What’s the one thing that should come to mind when people think of you when your brand is mentioned? How will ensure that happens?
Mind you, this isn’t deep stuff, but it is work. Often you’d do better just by thinking through these, even if you don’t know the ‘best answer’ just yet – just don’t guess. Go out there, talk to a few people in your market, look at your competitors, find out what buying habits characterize your industry.