It’s fun to be on the cutting edge of marketing using the latest techniques and platforms, but the cutting edge isn’t always where you need to be to make the most impact for your business. If your customers are older than college kids, then Snapchat and Instagram are probably not the best places to market to them, no matter how cool those platforms may be.

Clients often come to me saying, “We need a/to [insert trendy marketing noun or verb] for our next campaign.” However, what these clients are asking for is often not what they really need. When clients come to me with requests that don’t fit their goals, I walk them through an exercise to help them find who they are and what they are really looking for. Here’s how to set marketing goals before you start a campaign.

Research

 Rather than jumping into a marketing campaign because it looks cool or “everyone is doing it,” do some research first. Ask yourself three “who” questions: Who are you? Who are your customers? Who are your competitors? …and 3 “how” questions: How do my customers buy from me today? How else could they buy from me? How have I made it easier for them to do so with this campaign? The answers to these questions will serve as the foundation to any marketing initiatives you start.

 

The 3 Who Questions:

 1. Who are you?

What are your products/services? What is the character and culture of your organization? What is your brand DNA?

2. Who are your customers?

Do you have different types of customers? Are your customers segmented and divided into personas? How do your customers consume information and media? Do you know your customers’ preferred communication style?

3. Who are your competitors?

What are your competitors’ services/products? How do they outperform you? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

 

The 3 How Questions:

 1. How do my customers buy from me today 

Online, in store, through distributors or resellers, or all of the above?

2. How else could they buy from me?  

Could there be a “channel,” which you could open up using an existing ecosystem, that could enable incremental sales?

3. How have I made it easier/can I make it easier for them to do so with this campaign?  

 Let those meeting numbers be part of your success metrics. (A contest could help with that).

The automatic answer is typically “sales,” but sales is a huge area. Break it down into specific actions that can be measured and build the campaign to help facilitate those actions. For example, if face-to-face meetings with current and potential customers boost your sales, then getting more face-to-face meetings should be a goal in your campaign and your campaign materials should entice your customers to seek face-to-face meetings.

  1. Now that you have a better idea of who you are trying to reach and possible ways to do that, ask yourself what you really want to accomplish with your marketing. What moves the needle for you?
  2. Defining goals & success metrics
  3. Look at your current sales channels and see where and how your competitors are—and where they are not. This could also open up new opportunities for you.

If you have other experiences or ideas you think we would all benefit from hearing about, please comment!

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