11 Questions that Get Actionable Insights to Guide Marketing Strategies

What’s the answer for getting actionable insights for your marketing strategies? It all starts with asking the right questions.
I have found the following eleven straightforward questions to be beneficial. I also have included comments about what can be effective answers.

  1. What are we trying to accomplish? Create a marketing plan isn’t the correct answer. Building sales, market share and awareness can be the right answers. There can be no wiggle room on this question.
  2. What is happening now? My boss wants a plan is the wrong answer. A better response would be that our competition is beating us on innovation, but we can beat them on service and profitability, so show us how to exploit this advantage.
  3. How long has this been happening? We have been experiencing this problem or missing this opportunity for years is an acceptable answer. Your client might not even want to address this problem. So, maybe follow up with a question like – do you want to or need to change and what’s driving that attitude or behavior?
  4. Who are we specifically talking to? Attracting Boomers is too vague of an answer. A more specific response would be reaching adventure sports enthusiasts who are 35-40-year-old men with disposable income to fulfill their dreams and who value their time more than their endless supply of money.
  5. What are they thinking/feeling now and what do we want them to think/feel after our efforts? That we are really cool, and they should friend us is an aimless answer. Promoting that this product/service clearly meets your customers’ needs – price, product quality and service can be right on point.
  6. What’s the single most important thing for them to understand as a result of our efforts? We make you look smart is not a terrible answer. A more valuable memory would be that your customer has similar opportunities and challenges, and will benefit from this product or service.
  7. What are we trying to avoid? Getting fired is always a concern, especially in this economy. Nonetheless. irrelevance, untimeliness, uncertainty, misguided actions and wasteful spending are more important things to avoid.
  8. How will we define success?  We all feel positive can be goal for your company culture, but growing sales and changing attitudes and behaviors are more valuable definitions of business success.
  9. What would we do with no limits on time/resources? Buy a Super Bowl ad isn’t even fathomable or appropriate for most companies. But how about — showing our sales team exactly how this marketing strategy was conceived and giving them the most advanced tools and technologies and ongoing and consistent support to execute it.
  10. What other constituencies do we serve? The boss’ neighbor is not the right answer unless his private equity firm owns your company. But shareholders, environmentalists, government officials and business thought leaders can be valued constituencies.
  11. What and when are you prepared to invest in this effort? Withholding this important information as a response is counterproductive as no one wants to waste time. You want to hear a client say – we have allocated a budget in this range and we are ready to invest around these key selling seasons when we feel comfortable with your strategy.

Start using these eleven straightforward and powerful questions to get the right insights for your marketing strategies.