“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” ― Albert Einstein
I had an old, grizzled Creative Director at an agency I used to work at that frequently said to clients, “if we could all agree on what the question is we could probably find an answer to it.” He was right in many ways.
The right questions are the foundation of any solid work. The quality of a solution rests on the right understanding of the problem. This is no less true when it comes to digital marketing and design. The first step therefore in any project should be to ask questions and listen.
Digital marketing and design never have a one size fits all solution. Each business has different markets and people that they serve, different products they sell, and different ways they communicate. For example, a tech company, a dentist, and a restaurant are all going to use digital marketing in different ways.
One may want to reach a nationwide audience but really only serve particular types of people and occupations. Another might serve almost anyone but only in a local geographical area. The bottom line is that cookie cutter solutions, whether they come from a blogger, an e-book, or by observing other brands, aren’t always going to work. It’s important to ask the right questions (and many of them) before you start trying to provide the right answers.
So, you’re probably asking - what are some of the right questions to begin with? Let’s start here.
Who are you as a company? If you don’t know who you are, it will be hard to define any of the other questions. What is your area of focus? Do you make a particular product? Provide a unique service?
Who is my ideal customer? Once you’ve answered the first question, it will be easier to answer this question. Who are you targeting? Are you using analysis to define your ideal customer or your gut?
How am I uniquely suited to serving my ideal customer? What can you do that others in your space can’t? There must be something. What separates you from the competition? What will allow you to stand out from your competitors in your space?
Where does my ideal customer live, work, shop, etc? Once you know who you are, who you’re looking for, and what unique value you bring to them, you need to figure out how you reach them? Will you need a website? Online advertising? Social media marketing? Maybe a Billboard?
Where do I want my business to be in six months? How about a year? Knowing how much money you want (and need) to bring in over the next six months will help you focus on the key areas you need to invest in to get there? This focus will help you find the key levers that will allow you to grow and begin moving those levers.
What triggers my ideal customer to think of me? Is there a particular problem that causes your ideal customer to think of you? What brings you to the top-of-mind for them? Is it an email? A social media post? A physical loyalty punch-card in their wallet?
How much time and money am I prepared to invest into the solution? This is the key question that comes after all the previous questions. Once you know about yourself, your ideal customers, how to reach them, how to get their attention, and where you want to be in six months - you can then make sound decisions about how much you can wisely invest into your methods to ensure you still get a reasonable return on investment.
Certainly it’s an overused quote that is attributed to any number of people but it’s absolutely true - “the best way to predict your future is to create it.” Need some help prototyping your future path? We’re here to help.
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Goodbuzz is a digital agency based in Toronto, Canada. We help brands create and capture value from emerging trends in technology, society and the workplace. We prototype the future - and believe the best way to predict it - is to create it. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or if you have any questions contact Goodbuzz directly.