One thing I have observed working in marketing for 10+ years (including three years with ad agencies), is that business people can be a bit lax when it comes to developing marketing strategies and plans.
Many operate project to project without a cohesive, systematic program or strategy in place. Seldom do they take the time to carefully analyze their firm from a marketing perspective. Their results often are mixed, leading some to grumble that “advertising doesn’t work.”
The following questions are designed to get you thinking critically about your firm, and in the process identify strengths you can leverage in your marketing efforts.
- What do you do? Sounds obvious, but how often have you really thought about it? Start with a paragraph, and edit until you get to the essence of your business. This is similar to an “elevator speech” though shorter. Get right to the point.
- Who is your audience? Is there more than one? Identify by demographics, geography, and other quantifiable measures.
- What is significant about your products or services? Perhaps they are faster, better, more economical, and more reliable.
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and ask yourself, “What will these products or services do for me?” Concentrate on the benefits, not features: increased sales, reduced losses, improved efficiencies, more free time, or a more comfortable retirement.
- What are your customers’ expectations of your firm and your products or services? Areas to consider include warranties, product reliability, service after the sale, quick and/or free delivery, and 24-hour customer service.
- Why should someone buy from you? Avoid the common tendency to say that you have the best (or friendliest) customer service people or the most knowledgeable salespeople. Anyone can say that. Why do your customers keep coming back?
If you can’t answer #6, call or visit some of your better customers, and ask them why they do business with you. You may hear some enlightening comments. (If you’re really lucky, they’ll also mention some areas that need improvement, thereby allowing you to correct a problem before it becomes fatal.)
Remember that the effort you put into this exercise is an investment in your firm’s future. Take the time to honestly and completely answer each question. Once applied, this information will pay dividends for years to come.