September 2018
Why asking why makes us better marketers

Why asking why makes us better marketers

The Arketi team has started asking “why?” more. It’s not that we’ve regressed back to our toddler days. Rather, we believe this simple question has the power to make us, and our clients, better marketers.

As any 4-year-old will tell you, the power of “why?” lies in its implicit questioning of the status quo. Just because something’s always been done one way, doesn’t mean it should continue to be. After all, repeating the same action but expecting different results is Einstein’s definition of insanity.

So let’s put the “why?” back in marketing, by reminding ourselves to question four commonly held assumptions.

Why this target?

Our firm recently hosted a roundtable for some 70 B2B marketing and PR executives. Nearly all agreed that small, tightly defined prospect lists – maybe as few as 50 or 100 names – are the new norm. Shotgun campaigns aimed at a broad list of targets simply no longer pay off. These days, we see Marketing working with Sales to define highly targeted groups of prospects by asking, “why is this prospect group a true bull’s-eye for us?”

Why this content?

At the same CMO roundtable, 9 out of 10 marketers said they plan to develop more content in the year ahead. That said, all agreed that content is under greater scrutiny and subject to higher expectations. The “content for content’s sake” approach of recent years has led to content overload, and untenable marketplace noise. Avoid content fatigue by asking, “why is this content something a solid prospect will value?”

Why this channel?

In the rush to jump on the social media bandwagon and leverage marketing automation, many of us are guilty of putting channel above the content in their marketing mix. Now dawns the realization that channels are key but not all channels are right for all content, or all audiences. Pinterest for engineers, anyone? Let’s start every campaign by asking, “why does this communications channel trump audience or offer?”

Why this metric?

Big data is powerful. But it can also mean big headaches. Big dirty data is like a New Year’s Day hangover that won’t go away. Many marketers are waking up to the reality that 20–30 percent of prospects in their databases go bad annually. We all acknowledge data and analytics are no longer nice-to-haves but must-haves. But before we open the data floodgates even wider, let’s ask ourselves, “why is this a metric we need to know?”

“Why why why?” is a new mantra for B2B marketers. Answering the “Why?” ensures marketing leaders, teams and outside partners put themselves in the best position to drive bottom-line results and deliver business value. As the art and science of marketing continue to merge, let’s all heed Einstein’s other sage advice, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”



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