A marketer is saying marketing is not the answer? Indeed. Let’s throw a little more fuel to the fire: PR is not the Holy Grail. Nor will any of today’s “it” tools solve your problem…not Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, SEM, videos, or websites….confused yet?
From planning to tool selection to implementation, if you don’t have your pulse on your organization; if you haven’t defined your business goals, if you don’t understand what makes your audiences tick, any communication effort you make will fall short. At best. So, while marketing, PR, social media platforms, traditional advertising avenues, special events, engaging articles, and snazzy videos can (and will) help tell your story, knowing your authentic story and who wants or needs to hear it is the answer to the “how do I grow my business” conundrum.
Here’s a general list of questions to ask and truthfully answer to peel back the layers and get real with yourself before a marketing plan is developed:
- What is great about my business from the customer/client/patient perspective?
- What is great about my business from the employee viewpoint?
- What are the weaknesses my audience sees? What do employees see?
- What is the competitive landscape? [Do you know how many times we hear “ I really don’t have any competition…”]
- Who is your ideal customer/client/patient?
- How are the best ways to reach potential new customers?
- Are you deliberately connecting with former and existing clients to cultivate a relationship?
- What is your bandwidth for new patients/customers?
- What is your brand / brand voice? What makes you special, what do you want people to think about when they think of your business?
- Have you paid attention to the experience existing and new customers have when engaging with your business on social media, your website, the phone, in person, after the sale/service? Where is there room for improvement?
- What exactly do you want to accomplish with marketing, PR, communications activities? How are you going to measure success?
- What is my budget for all communications activities? [It is far better to be deliberate with $6,500 than reckless with $30,000!]
Once you have the answers to these questions as a baseline, then you’re ready to outline a communications strategy and tackle tools and platforms as a way to communicate your well-defined message – to your identified audiences in an authentic brand voice. Whew, that’s a mouthful!