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  • Michael Kerman

The 12 Questions of 2020 Marketing (Part I)

Well, 2019 is coming to end which means everyone is heads-down trying to close-out Q4 and get their 2020 plans and budgets in-place. So, I’d like to break with tradition; instead of the “12 Days of Christmas”, I’d like to offer up the “12 Questions of Marketing”.

I believe these are questions that every marketing leader should be prepared to answer, regardless of whether the question comes from the Board, the CEO or even themselves. Remember, just knowing the answer isn't enough. It needs to be documented, aligned and socialized across the company. So without further ado, here they are:

1. Is your 2020 Marketing Plan aligned with your business goals and your GTM strategy? This may see obvious, but you should have very tight alignment between your business goals and your plan. If your company is launching new products or getting into new markets, your plan had better reflect that. If you’re going after a very narrow, well-defined market, you might want to consider adding some flavor of account-based marketing to your plan. If your company is expecting growth to come from partners and channels, your plan should have a heavy dose of enablement and channel marketing.

2. Do you know your 2020 commit in terms of revenue, leads, opportunities, budget, awards and other KPIs? The answer here had better be “Yes”, especially if you’ve got private equity investors. Yes, there are many variables and assumptions, but you need a solid baseline in order to measure your progress. There are many good XLS models out there to track the funnel, conversions and so-on. It is great to build a draft of this and then sit down with your Sales, Sales Ops and Finance team and poke holes in it to make it more robust.

3. Do you have a clear, agreed-upon and consistent basis of segmentation? The days of blasting marketing out to everyone is long-gone. The mantra today is customer experience and personalization. If you’re focused on large, medium and small companies, you have to have an agreed-upon definition of those segments. Is a “new customer” a customer who has never done business with you? What about one that did business with you 8 years ago and left. Are they “New”? All of these segments need to be defined, agreed-upon, documented AND shared.

4. Have you validated how your customers are using your solution and how they articulate the value they are receiving from it? As per my recent blog, it is important to learn from your customers about how they’re using your solution and what it means to them. Are they using 1 module or all of them? Does it save them money and if so, how? Does it help them grow their business and if so, how? If it helps them reduce risk, can that be quantified? Maybe it helps them be “easier to do business with”. These are all things you need to know.

5. Do you know who actually buys your solution and the journey they take (in terms of information and resources they rely on)? In order to turn prospects into buyers, you need to know what they read, where they “hang-out” (both physically and digitally), who they trust and rely on and so-on. You need all of this to determine what content you need, what format is most useful and the right channels to reach them. Make sure your 2020 plan is based on this insight.

6. Do you know how you’re going to deliver more personalized content to your prospects? As you’re crafting your 2020 campaigns (customer acquisition, retention, upsell/x-sell, etc.), how are you going to make them personalized and impactful? What themes are you focused on for each persona and/or customer segment? How are you leveraging best-practices, ROI and other high-value content to build a trusted relationship?

Exhausted yet? I hope not – there’s still another 6 questions to come. Stay Tuned!!

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