What is the end goal?
Before marketers undertake a new marketing initiative they have to have the willingness or, in some cases, the courage to ask the client – “Why?” Over my career I have sat in meetings with clients who will state that they want to do this or they want to do that - more recently it might be they want a new website, Facebook marketing, email marketing, change their broadcast commercials or stop doing any of the above. In those cases, the first question would be: Why do we want to do this? Why do we want to use this channel as a marketing tool or conversely why do we want to stop using this tool? For many marketing companies, this can frequently be looked at as a buying signal and they jump right into initiating this new project. However, if you don’t fully understand what the client thinks this new initiative is going to do for their business, you can be headed down a very bad road.
Why Is This Important?
Before starting a marketing project you want to understand what the client sees as the contribution this new marketing effort will make to the business. Sometimes there can be disconnect between the business concern that the client wants to address and what the marketing initiative or new channel would actually be able to deliver. Equally as important is knowing how significant this can be to the company, which can give you a perspective on what the potential budget might be.
Why Will Your Customers Care?
After you have evaluated what the client thinks this new initiative will do for the business, it is critical to immediately focus on why this benefits the customer. Is this new marketing channel frequently used by your target audience and thus, provides you with an effective means to communicate with potential customers? Does this offer potential customers a more convenient or effective way to do business with your company? Do you have the proper resources to be effective in this new marketing effort?
Why Should I Call or Respond?
As a marketer, you have to ask the client what he/she believes the power of this new offer or start of a new marketing channel will have in generating a response i.e. if you’re going to open up a Social Media channel, are you going to be active in providing interesting information and respond to potential customers questions? Is the company willing to provide the resources (in terms of staff and time) to make the new effort productive and successful? Many of the new digital marketing channels have different audience expectations and you have to be prepared to meet those expectations if you want to be effective.
What Will the Return Be and How Will We Measure its Success?
The last question is a two-part question and it might be the most critical of all: What will be the return on the marketing investment and how will we measure its success? Understanding whether the marketing goal is to build brand awareness, improve customer relations or sell more products and services must be clearly defined and measured, so that we can ascertain the answer to the questions:
- Should we continue to do this?
- Should we invest more into this?
- Should we look for a marketing alternative?
Taking the time to ask a few critical questions can save marketers and their clients a lot of wasted time, money and effort. So let me ask you: Why aren’t you asking these questions?