A practical marketing guide for your business
Advice for achieving your marketing objectives
While it may seem obvious to determine your audience and goals before you begin your marketing journey, it’s a step in the process that often gets overlooked or rushed through without proper consideration.
When this happens, even the best ideas and strategies don’t achieve desired outcomes. Companies should use clear processes to help determine their audience and goals, knowing that, once these are established, the tactics will more likely achieve overall marketing objectives.
Determine the 3 Base Factors
An effective process requires investigations into three main areas: primary business goals, primary and secondary audiences, and available resources. To identify the primary business goals, look at both immediate and long-term aims. Based upon these objectives, determine your primary audiences and any secondary audiences you need to consider and target. With goals and audience identified, delve into what resources are available or necessary, both monetarily and in human capital, to effectively reach your targets.
The point of this examination is simple. By determining the three main base factors of goals, audience, and resources, you can define what problem you are solving, for whom, and whether it can be solved viably. With this baseline, the ideation may begin, and a comprehensive marketing strategy unfolds—all of which leads to greater ROI. In my experience, solving to the right problem always leads to better success.
To determine your business goals, the most important way to begin is by asking lots of good questions and listening—truly and genuinely listening. Marketing leaders often don’t ask enough questions of their team and begin to implement an approach before really understanding what problem they are solving. The art of good marketing involves asking the right questions, listening, and identifying the nuances of the problem so that a unique and effective strategy can be created.
Example: If a donut shop comes to a marketing agency with the main goal of growing their business, some questions to ask might include:
- What do you mean by growing your business?
- Do you want to increase profits?
- Do you want to add stores?
- Do you want to increase brand awareness?
- Do you want more customers?
- How much do you want to grow?
- In what amount of time and with what resources?
By determining the answers to these questions, you can determine if you need to generate more sales, more profits, more customers, etc. For example, the goal might be to increase the price of each donut—or to sell more donuts to the same customer—or to attract more customers to whom you can sell more donuts, etc. Each of those possible outcomes would require a very different marketing plan.
The important thing to remember is that goals, audience, and resources all work together, and a successful marketing strategy must take all of these factors into account. Solving solely for any single one of these factors doesn’t work because they are all interconnected, and the outcome of one thing has an effect on each of the others.
Most business owners know that understanding their audience(s) is key to their success, but audiences often shift or evolve and it’s necessary to monitor those changes in order to reassess the primary target(s) of your business. Knowing your audience allows for more effective marketing strategies and, therefore, better outcomes.
Example: If the donut shop wants to grow its business and it’s been established that their goal is a set financial amount within a specific time frame, then knowing their audience allows them to tailor a plan for that specific audience. For instance, if the donut shop sells to locals in the area, they might try a punch card to encourage repeat visits. On the other hand, if they sell mostly to one-time, drive-by traffic customers, they may look at ways to increase signage.
Even with goals and audience clearly established, without a clear understanding of a business’s monetary and human resources, a strategic plan is still in the distance.
Understanding resources is not a purely financial consideration. It’s essential to acknowledge all aspects of what makes a business successful: employees, facilities, equipment, funding, etc. The marketing strategy needs to take into consideration a client’s entire resource profile to accurately deduce how it should fit together with goals and audience.
Example: If the concept of new customers fits into the goal profile of the donut shop and the audience is easy to attain, the question of available resources is the last piece of the puzzle. Some questions at this stage might include:
- Is there room in the physical space to hold the new customers?
- Can the owners find enough employees to keep up with the demand?
- Are there enough friers to keep up with the demand?
- Can the manager manage the growth?
Acknowledging capacity is critical. When creating a strategic marketing plan, if all these factors aren’t considered as a whole, then the outcome may be unsustainable. You must find solutions that not only speak to your goals, audience, and resources but, importantly, to the intersection of all three. Finding that overlap is the foundation of any successful comprehensive marketing strategy.
Ask, Listen, Ideate, Execute
When asking thoughtful questions, listening well, and discovering the intersection of the three base factors of your business, solutions are inherently smarter and strategies and tactics more clearly designed to create better success.
Eliza Prall is CEO and founder of Prall & Co., a team of marketing professionals who have mastered the art of listening to their clients to understand what they think their challenge is, and then asking enough key questions to understand their true, overarching problem before designing what always seems to be the most simply elegant solution. She can be reached at 303-588-4174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.