Understanding the “big picture” helps us reach our goals more smoothly, and continue to be successful in what we want to achieve. It acts as a guideline you can use to keep yourself on track or to sway you back in the right direction. Here are the 7 questions you can ask yourself in order to start figuring out your company’s marketing strategy – formulating the big picture:

1. Why do your clients buy from you?

There are many reasons that clients buy from you; however, if you don’t know the real answers, it may be time to survey your clients to see exactly what entices them to continue buying from your company. If you think you know… you will be surprised at your client’s responses. Many times the management team’s perspective is too internally focused and proves time and again that the client’s perspective needs to be measured continually to ensure nothing changes.

2. What problem do you solve?

If you are not solving a problem, then you need to rethink your strategy all together. Any good business professional knows that you exists to help by providing a product or service that will make someone’s life easier. Clearly understanding what problem you are providing will always ensure your communications to your target audiences are inline; if you don’t clearly understand, step back and take a 10,000 foot view of your company and figure it out now before your clients do.

3. How will you improve the client’s business?

Making strides for continuous improvement should be top of mind with any business owner. Although your clients may not realize how you are helping them improve their business, you need to verify that what you are doing is adding value to your clients. At any time, if your client evaluates your performance and does not see the value you are providing, you are in a position to lose the client.

4. Who is your primary target audience?

Companies are continually told that you must understand the way your target audience buys; so, how do you focus on your target audience? Have you ever considered how your secondary target audience buys? Remember that 80% of your revenues may come from 20% of your client base, so how are you cultivating the others? Many times, that is how your company will grow!

5. What do you want to accomplish?

This questions relates to your overall strategy – maybe you want to be the “largest real estate company in the tri-state area” or maybe you want to “become the premier marketing consultant to professional service firms.” Whatever your BHAG is, be sure it showcases exactly what you wish to accomplish – then be sure to match up your objectives, goals and action items to that.

6. What makes you unique?

Unique characteristics come in small packages. When asked this question in my last presentation, the responses were quite similar: “excellent customer service,” “on time delivery,” and “great people.” Ok… so after those three no-so unique qualities, what is the real quality that defines your uniqueness?

7. What are your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)?

You have all heard it, companies must know and fully engage in improving upon their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Dive into these questions and your SWOT will become much easier to improve upon:

  • Strengths – What are you doing well or better than everyone else? Where are you making the most money?
  • Weaknesses – What are you doing poorly? What are the areas of improvement? Where are you losing money?
  • Opportunities – What are your new products, client needs or service offerings? Has the market changed, grown, or boomed?
  • Threats – What obstacles does your company need to overcome? Did the economic climate improve? Is the housing market improving?

These seven questions will help any company think big picture when it comes to building a strong marketing strategy. Many of these questions may be part of your company’s strategic planning process, but if you don’t share the information with your marketing team, then what good are these concepts? Be sure you are including your marketing team in the strategic discussions of your company  – this will ensure the team is armed with the right strategic direction to successfully plan and implement your marketing efforts!