The magical silver bullet. Like unicorns and fairy dust, though it may be a pleasant concept to dream of, the legendary silver bullet that can solve all of your marketing strategy woes is just that–a thing of legend. So often, I come across business owners and marketing managers who understand this fact well enough, yet continue their search for this mythical one-stop fix to whatever ails their brand. Why? Well, it is certainly much easier to assume that if your branding only had X, it could finally break through to that elusive target audience or market.
The hard truth is that the best brands do multiple things well in order to find success and become more than just a peddler of goods to their audiences. A marketing strategy is much more akin to a formula of different elements, combined to create an explosive mixture that sends your brand to the stratosphere. Thriving businesses understand that their brand values, beliefs and ideals are powerful tools for mastering marketing strategy. By asking yourself some pointed questions about your brand, you can come closer to identifying those elements and concocting the formula of success for your business.
What Questions Should I Ask to Identify the Needs of My Marketing Strategy?
- How did you get here? Why was this business created in the first place? What decisions were made and why? What was the initial inspiration or passion that launched this endeavor and is it still what drives the company to this day? Thriving businesses are driven by well-considered decisions.
- What does your company value? Values are important. They often dictate everything from price to the product. Defining values can help you ensure that your marketing and brand as a whole is focused on facilitating and fulfilling that value and avoids muddying the water and losing its way. Successful businesses keep their eye on the ball.
- What is your brand’s story? Since the time of cavemen, people have huddled around a fire to listen to and tell stories. Why? Storytelling is an inherently human form of expression that works on an emotional level. If you don’t want your marketing to get lost in the advertising white noise, you have to leverage the power of storytelling in your marketing strategy. Saying your washing machine is the fastest on the market is not enough. You have to show how it helps a single dad tackle laundry faster than ever, so he has time to surprise his kids with his special homemade pizza after school.
On a higher level, your brand’s story can help build interest and connect with customers in a far more intimate way than sticking to the facts alone. In fact, researchers have discovered that storytelling empirically improves message recall and fosters a feeling similar to kindness. That is truly powerful stuff.
- Who is your brand selling to? As most writers will tell you, knowing your audience is not only important–it is mandatory. Knowing your audience, who you serve, is the first step in any successful marketing strategy. From there, a marketer can shape tactics and tone to meet those people where they live and breathe with content they’re hungry to consume. If you’re not selling to a specific audience, you’re probably selling to no one.
I explore more questions to consider in my latest book, Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market From the Core, but this is a good primer for any brand looking for a way to think more formulaically about their marketing strategy. Dig deep, look internally and ask the difficult questions. Remember, silver-bullet solutions are fantasy–it’s introspective, well-strategized marketing and branding that wins the day