5 W’s for Marketers

Marketing is in the details. Really, it is. I am sure many of you reading this may disagree, thinking that marketers are full of fluff, grandiose ideas and all “big picture” – but trust me when I say the details can never be overlooked. (Mind you, when I say details I am not pigeonholing marketers into tactical programs, but I am saying that strategy must be based on an in-depth understanding of your market.)

After reading a great and thoughtful article on “The Five W’s of Marketing” in Bloomberg Businessweek, this point became even more apparent. In the article, Steve McKee makes a valid argument about the five W’s. Let’s all say them together – who, what, when, where and why. Correct? Not always.

Order matters
As McKee points out, we need to reorder the five W’s to fit marketing’s needs. The new order – why, who, what, where, and when – moves you from thinking like the average Joe to thinking like a true marketer. In other words:

  1. Why do you need marketing? What are your goals and objectives? Forget for a second what you think you need and focus on what you hope to achieve. We’ve seen this happen numerous times where prospects and clients enter a meeting with a plan – i.e. I want an ad – but upon discussion, we realize what they really need is an email marketing program.
  2. Who are you trying to reach? Who are your resources? It’s been said before and it will be said again, the best way to engage a prospect or client is to be in their space.
  3. What is your message? What programs will be run? If you haven’t already asked the “why” then how can you accurately answer the “what”? In other words, if your objective is to generate leads (which you’ll have identified in question 1) then you might want to run a demand generation program and position it around a new product or call-to-action.
  4. Where can I connect with prospects and clients? This question will largely be answered by your response to question 2, “who”? Knowing who you are talking to will help you make strategic advertising, public relations and event decisions.
  5. When should you roll out a new program? When should I talk with prospects and clients? Again, after answering question 2, the answers to these questions will come naturally.

So, are you starting to see my point on the details? Marketing is not just about programs and it is not just about discussions, it is about asking the right questions at the right time.

By Whitney – January 18, 2011

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Posted in : Thought Leadership

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