marketing strategy

5 Questions to Ask When Building a Marketing Strategy

Kristine Shreve is the Director of Marketing for EnMart and parent company Ensign Emblem. She developed and writes two blogs—the EnMart Threaducuate blog and the SubliStuff blog. Shreve also maintains the EnMart Twitter account and Facebook page. She can be reached via email at kristine.shreve@myenmart.com

When creating a marketing strategy for your business, there are five key questions (and one bonus question) that you should ask to keep your plan on target and relevant to your business goals.

1. Who am I trying to reach? It’s a fundamental question, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask it. Determining who your ideal customer is gives you a lot of information that can inform your strategy. This question also covers the vital function of making sure you’re talking to people who want what you have to sell.

2. What problems does my target market have? Solving problems is key to making sales. Create a description of each of your ideal customers (known as a buyer persona), detailing demographic and other information about that customer type. The goal is to figure out what the customer’s needs are, and what issues you can solve for them. The answers to this question will form one plank of your marketing platform. 

3. Where does my target market get information? Does the group you want to target primarily shop online? Do they use catalogs? Do word of mouth recommendations and reviews play a large or small part in influencing buying decisions? Also, where do they go to research and learn about products and companies? Do they use social media and, if yes, which platforms? Do they attend trade shows? Do they read magazines? Knowing where your target market gathers can help you understand where you need to be.

4. What is your competitive advantage? Folded into this question is the work of figuring out who your competitors are. Once you have that info, you can then figure out how you differ from your competitors and what you can bring to the table that they can’t, or won’t, offer. Once you figure out your competitive advantage, you have the other plank in your marketing message, something you can emphasize when you’re communicating with customers.

5. How much is a new customer worth to you? If you have groups of customers, you may want to quantify them based on category. The goal here is to figure out what the lifetime potential income from a particular type of customer is. This helps you figure out which categories to target and determine what portion of your budget should go toward that particular customer category.  

And the one bonus question:

6. What does success look like for you? The only way to know if your marketing plan is working is to have some idea of what you want to achieve. Do you want to bring in a certain number of customers per month? Are you looking to sell a certain amount of product? What metrics will tell you that your strategy is working? 

Wondering what it takes to build a successful marketing campaign? We're here to help! 

This Printwear article has the tools you need to build one.