Asking the right questions is paramount to business success, and in being able to deliver tangible marketing outcomes. Quite simply, if you fail to ask the right questions you are never going to get the right answers.
This is why an execution led approach to marketing often fails to deliver a substantive impact. Rather than asking questions that relate to business goals; such as how do I improve customer acquisition or retention; the attention turns to shallow indicators that give little in the way of tangible outcomes.
Often repeated examples include measuring website visitations, social media likes or the issuing of media statements, or event attendees, as the end goal. You need to dig deeper beyond these metrics to identify the outcomes that will have a potential impact on your business:
- Website visitations need to be targeted to ensure you reach potential target markets.
- Social media likes only have merit if there is engagement with relevant stakeholders.
- Media statements are only useful if they gain coverage.
- Event attendees need to be able to commit to your call to action.
While websites clearly need visitors to identify targeted traffic, social media likes are often the precursor to engagement, media releases need to be issued to gain traction, and events need attendees, it is their impact that should be measured and evaluated.
Of course, many potential customers will need more than one touch point to commit to your products and services, so you need to identify the overall experience that is required.
Knowing what to measure and the desired impact on your business is why marketing needs to be led through strategy. Ask what marketing outcomes are needed to achieve your business goals, rather than looking immediately at tactics. Understand the decision making processes of your customers and your competitive pressures, use these insights to identify how to cut through with an approach that resonates with your target markets.
Following this enables you to explore strategies that will build the capacity of your business, resulting in marketing activities that actually delivers tangible value.
Ultimately, asking the right questions is the first step to aligning marketing outcomes with your business goals.