It's so important you follow the right order though!
Most people go wrong by starting with the final step!
1. WHO do we want to talk to?
This question helps you decide the sorts of people you want to talk to. Surprisingly these are normally the same sorts of people who already buy from you, or the people who influence your customers to buy from you. For instance, if you are a plumber doing lots of commercial plumbing work and you’d like more, your answer will be something like; “We want to talk to builders and developers who want a plumber who makes their lives easier, because they get the job done on time and within budget and who doesn’t leave a mess on site. They’ll benefit from a plumber who helps by suggesting and organising better solutions when it’s obvious the original design is going to cause them problems.”
2. WHAT do we want to tell them?
Don’t get clever. Answer the questions like your mum would; e.g. “We want to tell builders and developers the same things that work now when we are talking to them one at a time”. If the plumber normally gets commercial business by approaching builders in person and offering advice about jobs the builder has on the go – the marketing should say the same things and offer the same advice the plumber would in person. Marketing is just mass communication. A list of why the plumber thinks he’s great doesn’t really interest a builder in a face-to-face meeting, and it won’t do any better in the plumber’s marketing.
3. WHAT do we want them to do?
The correct answer to this question is not normally “buy from us”. Of course that’s what you want eventually, but in real life there are normally a few other steps that need to take place first. For instance, in real life if a builder is really keen to contract the services of a plumber, he might ask for a proposal, some written advice and pricing to follow up the discussion they’ve had in person. If that’s the case then the answer to this question will be something like; “We want them to agree to a meeting to discuss the projects they have on the go, and to request a written proposal and pricing to follow up.” If you’re specific about the goals for your marketing, you’re much more likely to achieve those goals. Can you see that the answers to the plumber’s first three questions are starting to suggest a letter or a phone call? Certainly an ad or a website are not going to be the best answers to question four.
4. HOW do we tell them?
The ‘How’ is, should you do a newspaper ad, a brochure, radio ads, a customer evening, a website? Should you make a phone call or a visit? The mistake most businesses make, and the reason most of their marketing fails, is they start at the wrong end and ask question four first. Big mistake. Some well-meaning soul sells them a website, or some kind of ad or brochure, and after that things get progressively worse; having started at the last question instead of the first, they jump to question two and ask what they should say in it. If they’d asked themselves who they wanted to talk to and what they wanted to say to them, they would have been much less likely to buy the wrong sort of marketing. Our plumber could easily identify the builders and developers he wants to talk to and either phone them or send them a letter, or better still, both. A new website or a radio ad is likely to be a big fat waste of time in this particular instance. We make a lot of websites and radio ads, but not when they’re completely the wrong approach for our clients.