Marketing is crucial to growing your business by acquiring new customers and deepening the relationship with existing customers. However, in the modern business environment, it is science-based, built on research, data, analytics and a deep understanding of the customer. Bringing all of that together requires a carefully considered marketing strategy. Building and deploying that strategy is what stands between you and your success.
At gigCMO, we understand that there are questions you will want and need answers to help you and your in-house marketing team create an evidence-based marketing strategy. Answering those questions and guiding your team through turning knowledge into action is what our team of Fractional CMOs and CMO Whisperers do to facilitate your commercial success.
In this article, we look at 15 questions that will help you create a marketing strategy that will increase business and grow awareness of your organisation.
Questions you should ask before creating your marketing strategy
The reason that marketing is so valuable to businesses is that it generates value by attracting qualified leads.
A successful marketing strategy doesn't just tell the world about your business but targets the people for whom your products and services are highly relevant. The purpose of a marketing strategy is not just to cast a net but to catch relevant 'fish'. The tools within a marketing strategy are the key to that targeted approach.
Today, one of the challenges that business leaders and marketing professionals face is that there are so many tools and information available. That makes clear goals, objectives, and an innate understanding of who you are, your business's USPs, and your target market essential. That knowledge will enable you to create a playbook that allows for intelligent decision-making and swift implementation once the strategy is defined.
The following questions will help you define your goals, objectives, audience and your playbook:
How will your marketing plan support your business goals, or what business objectives do the marketing strategy need to support?
Define your goals for your business and your marketing plan. Make sure that your marketing strategy speaks to your end game. For example, are you trying to increase revenue to a particular point, maintain a profit margin or obtain a percentage increase in market share? Then ask yourself how your marketing plan contributes to these goals.
What do you want to accomplish with your marketing strategy and why?
Defining your measure of success when it comes to your marketing strategy is essential. What metrics will you use to determine success or failure? These are different for everyone - for some, it might be about brand awareness, while for others, it's about increasing sales.
One of the most critical things in a modern business is ensuring you have the tools to report relevant information. For example, if you include an email marketing campaign, you must have a CRM to document the number of new customers generated and track them as they flow through the flywheel.
Define what you believe to be a success at the start of the campaign, and make sure you invest in your measurement tools. This process will then give you more significant insights on which to build the next stage of your marketing strategy.
Who do you want to reach out to with your marketing strategy?
Who is your ideal customer? This question focuses on your sweet spot to target your marketing strategy. In addition to intuition and a general understanding of your customer base, you should refresh and update this knowledge based on data. Look at your most successful accounts to date to see who your audience is - it might differ from who you think. Look at competitors and explore the market to see if there's anyone you could target more successfully and segment your market where relevant to tailor communications.
What positioning and messaging will work for your audience?
Knowing who you're targeting, what they are looking for, what you are offering and how you communicate will directly influence how you position your message and what you say. Remember that if you're operating in multiple territories worldwide, what's right for one audience is not necessarily suitable for another.
For example, Braniff International Airways got into trouble in 1987 when it promoted its new leather seats south of the border with the same campaign in the United States. The "fly in leather" slogan translated to "vuela en cuero" in Spanish, which was appropriate throughout much of Latin America but had different connotations in Mexico, where the expression also means "fly naked".
Who are you up against, and how do you measure up to competitors?
Do you know who your most significant competitor is? Any business needs to know what others in the market are doing. Often, this benchmark raises the game for an entire industry - healthy competition is good for you and your customers.
However, businesses often don't know who their most significant competitor is. Invariably they focus on the next person above or below them in the marketplace. Still, the world of industry disruptors has repeatedly proven that a more lateral thinking approach is necessary.
Take the likes of car hire company Avis. They were famous for being second in the marketplace after Hertz and owned that space with the strapline: "We Try Harder". They always looked to Hertz as their most significant competitor, and as a result, they never saw Uber coming.
Knowing and monitoring your competitors means looking at different market verticals and keeping an open-minded approach to opportunities. An outside perspective can be one of the best ways to achieve this.
What makes your business unique, and why should your customers care?
What core problem do you solve for ideal customers? What is your secret sauce? What makes you special?
Truly understanding your value proposition is not only essential for your marketing strategy and your messaging, but it's also a fundamental need to protect the longevity of your business. If you don't know what makes you unique, you could inadvertently lose your USP, or at the very least, you won't make the most of it. Knowing this (and re-evaluating year-on-year to make sure it remains true) allows you to understand better how to speak to customers, price and get ahead in the marketplace.
Which marketing strategy is right for you?
There are lots of different types of marketing strategy and marketing tools within that strategy. For example, you might include social media marketing, email marketing, an inbound marketing strategy, an editorial strategy, local, global, influencer and many more. You can use multiple approaches that are interconnected, or you may focus on specific areas. What you choose to include will depend on your knowledge of your target market and overarching objectives.
How much are you willing to invest monthly in marketing?
The Roman playwright, Titus Maccius Plautus, is credited with saying, "You have to spend money to make money." To some extent, he is entirely correct, although it's worth noting he was not a successful businessman. On the other hand, a respected friend of ours operates on the principle of 'assume you have no money - how will you achieve what you're aiming for?'. Somewhere between these two ideologies, there is a happy balance.
Marketing does require some investment, and with the variety of options available, the opportunity for spending is endless. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to budgets, but it does impact what you do and how you do it. The important thing is to use your resources strategically.
Some investments will go into planning and measurement tools, some will go into internal resources, and some may go into external resources. You can be strategic with your budget by accessing top-level expertise, like a Fractional CMO service, to bring different elements together and ensure you're making the most of them.
What tasks need to be completed to reach your marketing goals?
Once you have answered these questions, you move into a space where you can turn that knowledge into action. Again, this seems obvious, but a clear plan for the steps that need to be fulfilled and the internal and external resources required to achieve it will enable you to make the most of your budget and capabilities. For example, you might use external contractors from CMO level to freelancers as needed.
What have you achieved, and how to improve?
Your marketing strategy doesn't end when a campaign is complete. The information you gain is instrumental in informing what you do next. Those metrics and measurement tools that you put in place will pay dividends at this point. Therefore, it's worth considering at the start how you will debrief and collate your data and feedback to build a cumulatively well-informed approach next time.
What tools, talents, and resources do you need to execute your marketing strategy, and who is available to assist in implementing it?
At any stage, businesses need to know what their resource capabilities are. Often, internal resources only cover some of a business's requirements. It's not good practice for a company to be over-resourced.
In a digital world, the ecosystem of gig workers, freelancers, agencies and consultancies enables businesses to scale resources as required, particularly as only some elements are necessary on a full-time basis.
However, to take that approach, you do have to have exceptional coordination and organisation in place. Knowing what you need, when you need it and what value each resource offers is essential to successfully executing your marketing strategy.
Where will you find your customer, or how will you reach your target audience?
Knowing where you will find your customers is part of understanding your target market. Consider who your customers are, how they operate, what they're looking for online, and where they are, both geographically and digitally.
Why hire a fractional CMO?
With all of these different elements and areas of consideration in mind, even the most talented internal teams can benefit from an outside perspective. The benefits of a fractional CMO service are wide-reaching for a team that wants to be targeted in their marketing approach. For example:
- They bring a fresh outlook to your approach.
- They can translate your goals into tangible wins based on their wide-reaching knowledge.
- They're time efficient. As they aren't full-time employees, they're aware that time is valuable and focused on their objectives.
- It's quicker to onboard a fractional CMO than a full-time senior executive.
- There's less financial risk in using a fractional CMO.
- They bring a wide variety of knowledge from a broad industry cross-section to supercharge your marketing strategy.
Where gigCMO takes all those benefits and supercharges them, elevating the CMO offering and turning it into a streamlined, focused, bottom-line driven and scalable offering, is that instead of providing an individual CMO, we offer a CMO service.
We have a team of highly experienced Fractional CMOs, who use our proven playbook to support businesses. This is delivered by marketing leaders, so you are not served by any one individual and their perspective but a methodology that’s been tried and test across hundreds of clients, honing the collective brainpower of multiple experts in their field.
Our team’s skillsets span industry as well as geographic verticals, meaning that whatever your business challenge or goal, we have the knowledge to help you innovate and increase revenue both in your home market and overseas. We know what it takes to grow a business because we’ve done it multiple times over. Now, we want to help you.
Want to find our more about our Fractional CMO service?