There’s a whole lot of things that marketers, including myself, will often ask and talk to you about if I want to help you create a marketing strategy.
People are often surprised at how much information we need to know about your business but it’s really important for us to get a full picture of what you’re doing, where you’re going and where you want to go to help us create the right messages and the right avenues for you to do those things.
We also need to consider what state your business is at, what your budgets are and where you’re going in terms of capacity and team development to help us determine what’s possible for you and what could be done, that may need a little bit of extra growth with help and support.
We also need to know what’s going on already, so we can either make decisions on whether some things need to stop, or whether things are going to keep going and develop OR, if we need to add new information.
There’s a lot of information that marketing strategists just need to know and ask you to develop a great strategy.
It’s one of the reasons that us, at Identify, don’t jump in and start doing marketing work with people unless they’re already presented us with a really clear marketing strategy or we do the marketing strategy for them.
Our preference as a marketing agency is to help you as a business owner do as much of the marketing yourself or have people in your team do it without having to use an external agency.
An external agency is always there for you to help you with the bits you don’t want to do or you don’t have time to do but it’s always a good idea to try and work out how many things you can do as a business owner or as your team to help your marketing work better.
With all of that in mind here’s 10 things that we’re always going to talk to you about when we work with you to create your marketing:
- What do you sell and what do you want to sell?
This is a really important question! You need to be able to tell us what you want to be telling people you sell. Now it’s really important when we determine this, that you TELL us you want to sell may NOT be the same as what you’re currently selling. Some people get stuck into creating a business where they’ve accidentally marketed bits and pieces that they don’t really want to do or is not profitable and they are not doing the bits they really want to do. So it’s very important for you to tell us what you’re currently selling and whether that’s what you want to keep on selling.
2. Where do you fit in the marketplace?
Are you a high-end luxury product? Are you a middle of the road product? Are you a bargain-basement type of business, that needs lots and lots and lots of it for people to keep them buying it?
If you are a bargain-basement business, you need to either have a steady flow of customers or you need to have a lot of repeat business for it to be viable.
Generally speaking, the higher positioning you sit at, the less customers you need — but you also have to do a lot more work to get those customers because they’re paying more money and they deserve the hard work.
3. Who do you sell to?
Setting out to understand who your target audience is is really important. We’re talking about the person that you need to convince to use your product or services.
We spend quite a bit of time developing what those are. There are normally more than one in a business. We want to think about what makes them tick and why would they want to use you or what might prevent them from using you. That’s something we call identifying your target persona.
4. What is your turnover and your profit margins?
People are often surprised when marketing strategists want to talk money but it’s really important for us to get an idea of the scale of your business currently, where you’re wanting it to go, and how much profit you’re making because as a marketing strategist we do need to consider and care about all of your business.
We need to make sure that whatever we do is going to increase your profits and help you build a business where it’s not just increasing turnover or revenue but it’s actually increasing that profit margin.
We also need to make sure that the business is currently viable and checking through what other things can we do to protect the business or help it grow so that you can continue to market and do it and you continue to trade.
So it’s really important for us to know that.
We also use this to work out what marketing budget you’ve got or what you should be having depending on the size of your business. So it’s really important for us to have a bit of an understanding of your financials.
It’s surprising how many businesses don’t have a good grasp of this. It’s really important if you’re a business owner to be very clear about your own financials and understand what these are. So it’s great if you can have these numbers on hand.
5. What are your short, medium, and long term plans or goals?
We need to know these including your Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs).
We need to know these so that we can understand where you’re heading. We’ll then make sure your marketing messaging become really sound and clear and headed in the right direction to get there.
We’ll also give you advice on other things that you could be doing and helping and looking at your business holistically.
As a marketing strategist, we don’t just look at digital marketing, we look at a lot of different forms of marketing including networking, strategic alliances, public relations etc. Looking at the whole picture, we need to know those short, medium and long term goals to make sure that what we’re planning helps those things happen, prioritizing marketing activity in alignment with that.
6. What Marketing Are You Already Doing?
It’s really important for us to understand what you’re already paying out, where you are doing things and how you’re fitting things in, in terms of your time and energy, so we can help you and advise you around what should continue, and what needs to stop, and how to make it all fit together better. We can give you advice about how best to use the providers you’re currently using and the questions to ask them so you understand what they’re doing better and to fit it in and give you advice on whether you should start, stop or continue new marketing methods.
7.What systems and solutions do you have in your business currently?
We need to have a good overview of what’s going on in your business. What you’re using for your accounting, what you’re using for your CRM, what you’re using for your scheduling and all the different systems you have, so that we can help simplifying and create a better approach to creating those systems or at least make sure that whatever we suggest is going to talk to those systems and make your marketing fit in with the rest of your business.
Marketing and sales should never work as a stand alone thing apart from the rest of your business. It should integrate and work to help your business work better, as opposed to being another irritating thing you’ve got a whole lot of platforms for.
8. What sort of time and capacity have you got to do your own marketing?
This is really important because we could suggest a whole bunch of stuff but you don’t have the time for it. So we talk about the time commitment required for each thing and how to make it work better for you. We’ll recommend how to block time out for particular areas and how to prioritize the right parts of your marketing to make sure you’re getting the return and the needs you’ve got.
9. What barriers and gaps in knowledge do you have in marketing?
When we do a marketing strategy we want to make sure that you know how to implement the marketing strategy. So we may have to train you in some of the areas. If you’re already fully confident about them we’re not going to sit there and over train or over tell you but we’re going to help you develop those.
10. What are the things you’re going to need help within the short or long term?
It might be from another team member, it might be from outsourcing to a virtual assistant or getting someone else on board to help you, or it could be using an agency like ours to help set things up and get things running.
There’s lots of different things that are marketing strategists will ask you when they come and meet with you to create a really effective marketing strategy for you. It’s good to be prepared with that information.
The more direct information you can give people, the easier it is for them to create a marketing strategy that fits your business, that is bespoke to your business and has the right impact to help you grow and get those important goals that you’re looking for.