Helping SMBs Market: the 12 Questions You Should Ask
7. Who are your competitors and what makes your company different?
Knowing the competitors enables designers to research how, when and where they advertise, in addition to structuring the client's plan to better capture the target audience. Discuss how strong your client's competitive advantage is and how the products compare with those of competitors. If the client has proof that his or her business is better (e.g., testimonials, case studies, etc.), it can be incorporated into materials to strengthen them and build credibility.
8. What is your pricing strategy?
Messaging, images and tactics will change based on the pricing strategy. A high-end, expensive brand will focus more on image compared to the low-priced leader, who will sell based on cost and need to drive volume. See the comparison between these two ads for Neiman-Marcus and Dollar General.
9. What factors affect your industry?
There are seasonal peaks and valleys, along with holidays, that can affect marketing programs and the placement of ads. Mother's Day promotions are in full swing right now and the ads for florists and spas, candy companies and restaurants are common. It's also a high-visibility time for home improvement companies because of the spring planting season. For some businesses, offering incentives might be important when sales volumes are typically low.
10. What do you want to accomplish?
What are the marketing objectives of the client? You need to understand what he or she is trying to achieve, whether that is market leadership or entering a new market where the company is unknown, suggests Ian Linton. The client may want to launch a new product or increase sales of existing products to new customers. Wherever possible, it is helpful to quantify so that proof of return on investment becomes easier. Targeting 1,000 website visitors per day or getting 10,000 sign-ups to a newsletter is easier to measure than "brand recognition" and helps you ensure the plan is relevant and focused.