Solving marketing problems with questions

Are you asking the right questions about your marketing? Will the answer help you solve a meaningful underlying problem? Too many try to solve problems that’s just don’t matter. Here’s their story.

Problems are solved by the questions you ask. Often technology is the variable in a situation that leads us in directions that don’t solve the underlying problem. In every situation there is something unique, but every marketing problem has the same underlying problem that remains.
An example form marketing is tracking open rates:
In email marketing, with PDF or digital documents, you can track how many people open your document. A marketer can also track number of messages sent or PDF’s downloaded. The ratio of documents requested and opened gives you an idea of percentage of audience views. Technology makes this an easy measure.
Plus, it’s nice when readers open your e-mail or read your document. Feels real good to know you sent 1,564 documents and you had 174 opens. However, does something like e-mail open rates really tell you anything? How accurate is the number? What does it all mean?
Listen, marketing isn’t a popularity contest. And many less educated advertisers actually get upset when I say what you’re about to hear. After all they have invested in design, layout, and graphics — not to mention what they may have paid a copywriter, artist, or creative professionals.
Here’s really what you ought to ask:

“Will the answer help you solve the underlying SALES problem?”

The only purpose of marketing is to make sales. While marketing can do other things, if you want to build a sustainable business or personal wealthy, then you need to get paid.
That means, when someone comes to me and says, “What’s the best way to track open rates of a PDF?“, I instantly respond, “By number of sales that document produces.”
Think about it. The only accurate measure of a documents success as a marketing tool is the response. Personally, I like to measure response in dollars (whole dollars with lots of zeros.) Even if a documents sole purpose isn’t marketing, why not offer something to reward the reader?
There are many more reasons a person may open a document than there are for someone to respond. A response means they have at least decided to do something with what they read, that you’ve got a live body.
The tool you use doesn’t matter: a home work assignment, discount certificate, critique coupon, or a request for a catalog. Your measure of reader response is a measure of client or prospect behavior that proceeds a purchase.
Now rather than a useless number, you now have a bankable value of action (behavior in “response rate”) against distribution — this tells you so much more about active participants ready for the next step. The “open rate” number is just a novelty.
Are you asking the right questions? To solve marketing problems with questions, your answer needs to move the prospect closer to becoming a customer, or create a specific sale. Anything else is just contemplating success rather than achieving it.
© 2010 Ask Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.

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About Justin Hitt

Justin Hitt helps million-dollar plus electrical contractors create and keep profitable customers while turning business relationships into profits guaranteed.