Marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade.
The way marketing overlaps with and complements PR and other communication efforts has changed as well, which calls for increased clarity and collaboration from all sides. It’s crucial to understand what your marketing team is working on and what they’re trying to achieve. That’s the only way to prevent duplicated effort, monitor their success and stay in sync.
Here are 12 questions to ask your marketing team members to get a better sense of their goals, performance and organization.
1. What are your objectives?
Marketing departments should have a documented plan that outlines its short- and long-term goals. Do they want to retain customers, improve brand visibility, convert visitors on the website or gain a larger audience?
Understanding the end game will help determine the best techniques, tools and technologies that will help everyone meet these objectives.
2. What is your brand strategy?
The company brand is more than the logo, slogan or name—it’s the experience people have with the organization, product or service.
Your marketing department should have a strategy to improve brand awareness, visibility and loyalty among clients and prospects. Measuring brand awareness is notoriously tricky, but there are helpful metrics to monitor it.
3. How are you developing the product?
Your marketing team should be coming up with ways to develop a compelling product that gains traction among consumers. Do they have the resources to make this happen?
4. Whom are you targeting?
If “everyone” is your target audience, you’ll probably reach no one. Just as with other forms of communication, marketing should be tailored to specific individuals, prospects and personas.
5. How are you using data?
Marketing personnel should be wrangling analytics to monitor trends and learn more about consumer behaviors. The trick here is in the reporting. Anyone can sift through analytics and spew out numbers; it takes a pro to distill data into a cohesive course of action.
6. What are your customer retention strategies?
A high customer turnover rate is bad for any business. Many marketers focus on acquiring new customers rather than retaining the existing ones, despite the drastic cost implications.
What retention strategies are you investing in? Email marketing, follow-up calls, texts or meetings? Your marketing team should certainly have new prospects on their radar, but not at the expense of strengthening relationships with your loyal fans.
7. Are you crafting compelling content to attract customers?
Content is king, period.
8. How are you tracking results?
Your team should be tracking return on investment and conversions from social media and the website. Ideally, they are also sharing these results so others can see which strategies seem to be working.
9. What are your success metrics?
Other than revenue, is your team measuring qualified leads, engagements or newsletter sign-ups? How about total website visits? Understanding which metrics are most important to them gives you more insight into their daily work and larger campaigns.
10. Where is the competition falling short?
Marketing pros should be using analytics and social listening tools to monitor what customers in the industry are saying. These data offer insights into customers’ preferences and unmet needs.
11. How many referrals are you getting?
When customers are satisfied, they often refer a business to their friends and others within their social circles. You can weigh the success of your campaigns by calculating the percentage of sales received from referral customers. Marketing should be on top of this.
12. Which areas merit more investment?
What’s working well? What strategies are flopping? Is there anything in particular that seems to resonate with our audience? Your marketing team should be a goldmine of insight related to digital marketing, brand awareness, product development and customer retention. Unfortunately, silos, mistrust and busy schedules often prevent fellow communicators from deriving as much as they should from one another.
A version of this post first appeared on Spin Sucks.