As we approach marketing strategies for clients old and new, we often find ourselves needing to come back to basics and recenter the conversation to remind everyone that priority is, by definition, singular. Often when we ask clients “what are your goals?” they’ll answer “to increase sales.” Well, of course. Who doesn’t want that? At times like these we find three additional questions useful as a way to refine almost any business notion, whether it be a project, a quarterly target, or a marketing plan.
Who? What? Why?
- Who. Who are your customers? No, but really, do you know who they are? How would you describe them? What attributes do they share? Down to their age, gender, likes, dislikes, needs, goals, tipping points. Before we can talk about anything we need to know who we’re trying to talk to because that will influence how we want to talk to them.
- What. Obviously, the next question is what are you selling? We’re not talking about the actual, tangible items--here, the “what” is “what is the promise or impact you’re selling”? Is it the customer experience? Is it the quality? The workmanship? The warranty? People don’t buy a pair of rainboots--they buy good arch support that’ll keep their feet dry. They buy the assurance of a good warranty, knowing they’ll be well taken care of.
- Why. Finally, the last question we have to ask is “why should those people buy that thing from you?” Your customers can almost always shop elsewhere, but they’re choosing you. Why? Why would you want them to choose you? Why should they? Entrepreneurs talking to other entrepreneurs often talk about a special sauce, which, if you’re selling burgers is great, but is otherwise a pretty generic way of talking about specifics. This question is a little uncomfortable because we all think everyone should appreciate what we make or do intrinsically. But doing the work of taking a step back and objectively asking yourself why someone would walk into your store or browse your website is an important exercise in developing your marketing strategy.
While none of this is rocket science, these are the questions that are easily overlooked when talking about goal setting with clients. People often think of tactics first--how to solve the problem, before identifying what the problem even is. It’s easy to get wrapped up in finding the right packaging or shipping solution, but at those times it’s worth the time to revisit this exercise. Maybe you even answered these questions a year ago--great, do those answers still hold today? Were you right? One question often begets ten, but the process is fruitful.
Got another question for centering business goals? We’d love to hear it.