10 Questions to Ask Before You Create a Marketing Strategy

So you’re ready to take a more process approach in your marketing efforts, but you’re not sure where to start…

You’ve come to the right place. Marketing strategy must come before tactics and these 10 questions will help guide you through the process.

From overall characteristics about ideal clients to logistics about measurement and offers, these questions walk you through the steps you should take prior to hitting “go.”

For example, it may help to know that your clients real problem is cash flow and the value they get from your solution is getting paid faster.

Bottom line: the goal of a marketing strategy is to increase business and grow awareness of your organization.

Here are the 10 questions to ask before creating your marketing strategy.

#1. Who is your ideal customer?

This question helps you focus in on your sweet spot. Ideal can mean many things — who can you deliver the greatest value to, who do you enjoy working with, who needs what you do most. Give some thought to how you might reach them and appeal to them. Use your most successful accounts to date to help you think about what makes them ideal for you. (Hint: they are profitable and talk about you.)

#2. What core problem do you solve for ideal customers?

Think about what your customers core problem is. This question lets you discover the real value about you, your services/products and your company. Write a description of the problems you solve for ideal clients.

#3. Who are your primary competitors?

If you’re going to war, you must know your enemy. Smart marketers employ some form of competitive research in an effort to better understand what products and services, pricing models and value propositions they are up against.

#4. What is your primary competitive advantage?

Trying to figure out how to be better than the competition — better product, better service, better features, and better price is worthless. In my opinion focusing on building a better process or better relationships is the surest and maybe simplest way to create a true competitive advantage that someone might care about.

#5. What is your lead offer to first time customers?

Today’s shift in buying now demands a very tangible way prospects can experience your offer. Buyers want an understanding of what they’re potentially buying, and they want it right away — essentially a buyer wants the opportunity to see and experience a service/product in action very early on. The answer is offering prospects a way to sample your expertise, product or service. This can be in the form of free consultations, money-back guarantees, demos, seminars, proof of concept, audits, trail offers, assessments, etc.

#6. What is your maximum cost to acquire a new customer?

I think the cost of acquiring a new customer is one of those data points that is critical to understand in any business. Once you understand the lifetime value of a customer, you can determine how much you’re willing to pay in new customer acquisition costs. For example, if the lifetime value of your average customer is $1,000, anything you spend under that in new customer acquisition costs will be profit — or the marginal net worth of your average customer.

#7. How many new customers you can handle per month?

The customer experience is everything today. You must make sure your organization is equipped to handle incoming request and on-boarding new clients. Ruin this in a social driven world and you’re doomed.

#8. How do you ensure prompt follow-up on sales inquiries?

Lack of a process approach to selling is the biggest weakness for most small businesses. Installing a sales process, one that everyone involved in selling in the organization operates, is the fastest way to improve overall results. I’ve seen lead conversion rates go from 3% to over 50% when all of the parts of a marketing and sales process work together.

#9. What target keywords do you want to rank in Google?

Keyword research has long been the primary tool for search engine optimization plans. The idea was that you found out what people in your industry were searching for and you optimized your site and pages to try to show up on page one — pretty simple. Today, I believe that content is the primary tool for optimizing your effectiveness is just about every channel your clients use — it’s the key to SEO, social media sharing, referrals, email marketing and even online and offline advertising.

#10. How do you measure marketing investments?

Management consultant extraordinaire Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Now, while terms like measurement and management might seem like big company jargon, the fact is you can’t successfully grow a business unless you track what works and what doesn’t work.

We suggest using Google analytics or vendor specific analytic tools to measure your marketing. It gives real-time reporting on social media, inbound links, seo, keywords and Pay per click marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

When asked to come into a business and evaluate marketing activities for growth or make marketing recommendations — this is where I start because this is where all the answers reside.