5 Tips On How To Ask the ‘Right’ Marketing Questions

Are You Asking the ‘Right’ Questions?

Whenever humans are faced with a dilemma – be it personal, professional or in business – our brain spins out of control with tons of questions.

Why is this happening?Questions

What can I do to correct this?

How long do I have?

And on and on and on our minds go.

It’s the same in marketing.

We often waste our time, energy and business resources because we’re not asking the ‘right’ marketing questions.  This is important because the ‘right’ question will often lead you to a far better solution.

Time spent asking the ‘right’ question is critical.  As Einstein put it:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

The ‘Right’ Question led to the Disruption Theory

I was reminded of just how critical asking the right question is in a recent business presentation where the speaker talked about the questions that led Clay Christensen to develop his theory of disruptive innovation.

The assumption was that established companies failed when management – the same management that led to the company’s success – suddenly became stupid.  Christensen reasoned that successful management doesn’t become stupid overnight and that there had to be another reason for the failure of established companies.

He discovered that it was management’s thirst for short-term and higher profits that allowed others to disrupt the market, overtake and eventually to kill the more established companies.  This YouTube of Christensen will tell you more.

The ‘Right’ Question led to the Cell Phone

Then I came across a Forbes article about how a Motorola engineer created the ‘cell’ phone and not the ‘car’ phone by asking a critical question about phones.

“Why is it that when we want to call and talk to a person, we have to call a place?”

A simple pause followed by asking the ‘right’ question led to the smart phones we have today.

The ‘Right’ Marketing Questions Leads to the ‘Right’ Solutions

When sales aren’t going well, business owners often have a knee-jerk reaction – a “What” question:  “What do I need to do”?

Rarely does the marketing answer come from a ‘what’ question.  It most likely begins with a ‘who’ question.

Have you spent time answering these ‘who’ questions?

  • Who is my real audience, the people who rave about my product or service?
  • What do they really want?
  • How does my audience behave, live, work, decide?
  • Am I meeting my audience’s wants?
  • Do I really offer them value?  If I did once, am I still offering them value?
  • Do I understand the real job my audience is hiring my product to do?
  • Are my audience’s wants, desires being met with my product?
  • Do they understand my product?
  • Do they trust my business, my industry, me?
  • Am I communicating with them in words they easily understand?
  • Do they have physical or mental barriers to purchasing my product?

If you haven’t spent the necessary time answering these marketing questions for your audience, you need to.  The real and deep answers to these questions will lead you directly to your next and probably more successful marketing actions.

How To Know If You’re Asking the ‘Right’ Marketing Questions?

It is not easy coming up with the ‘right’ question.

That’s why Einstein said he would spend 55 minutes of his last hour on the task.

You’re not trying to recreate the phone or to answer the mystery as to why giant companies die.  But you are trying to be more successful in your marketing efforts.

If you’re not achieving your desired result, then it is a big red flag that there are more marketing questions that need answers.  Here are 5 tips to help you get those answers.

1.  Double and triple check your assumptions about your audience, about the market.  Often, these assumptions are off base.

2.  Focus all of your questions on your customers. They are the only one’s you need to move, change, convince.

3.  Go deep.  Don’t just accept the first response.  Keep asking and probing until you feel in your bones you’ve hit pay dirt and have unearthed a raw gem of information.

4.  Accept that you will never have all of your marketing questions answered because the marketplace is ever-changing.

5.  Be persistent and stay curious.


Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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