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Six Campaign Questions that Marketing Must Answer

June 18, 2015 | By Marcia Trask

  • As marketing organizations adopt an integrated campaign approach, there’s often a struggle to create buyer-centric campaigns
  • We’ve created a list of six fundamental campaign planning questions that we challenge you to answer
  • The SiriusDecisions Campaign Framework assists with marketing planning and execution to align the overall organization to business goals

I frequently work with clients on the SiriusDecisions Campaign Framework. At SiriusDecisions we view campaigns strategically and use them as an integrated framework for marketing planning and execution. In our view, a campaign identifies and addresses fundamental customer business needs, leverages a deep understanding of the buying process, focuses on the execution of a set of balanced marketing programs tuned to how customers buy, and aligns the overall organization so that sales, marketing, and product work together toward common business goals.

General Meetings As marketing organizations adopt an integrated campaign approach, there is often a struggle to shift from creating campaigns aimed at specific products or solutions, to campaigns that address fundamental buyer needs. Marketers have been steadily trained over the years by their employers to focus on company offerings (our wonderful products), internal organization structures (our great business units), and company initiatives (our transformational shift to the cloud) rather than who their buyers are and what business issues they need to address. 

To help marketers build buyer-focused campaigns, we’ve created a list of six fundamental campaign planning questions that we challenge them to answer. Can you? 

  • Which markets do you serve? What are the target markets for your products and solutions? Do you target by geography (e.g. country/region), vertical/sub-vertical (e.g. healthcare, pharmaceuticals) or horizontal (e.g. enterprise vs. mid-market vs. SMB) market segments?  Are these markets consistent across your product portfolio? Why or why not? 
  • To whom do you sell? Can you clearly identify your buying audience? Do you know who your key buyer personas are? Do they change based on product offering or target market? When answering these questions, don’t make assumptions. Your executives may desire to sell into the C-suite (and be pushing marketing and sales to make this happen), but the majority of sales are actually happening at the director level. 
  • Why do they buy? This is the critical (and often most difficult) question to answer. Marketers need to be clear on their buyers’ initiatives, challenges, and primary needs. Marketers must also understand the difference between the company’s solution benefits (our products do this) vs. the buyer need (the business or technical problem they are actually trying to solve). 
  • Who makes the decision? B-to-b purchase decisions are rarely made by a single individual. Marketers must understand the concept of the buying center and the role(s) their buyer personas play in it.  Is your buyer persona the champion ­– the key sponsor for a particular purchase? Or is your buyer an influencer, the trusted source that plays a behind-the-scenes advisory role at critical junctures in the purchase process? Are you speaking to all the people involved in the buying center? If not, are you arming your champion to speak on your behalf? 
  • How do you reach them? To answer this question, don’t just think about marketing tactics such as email or events. Think about what actually influences your buyers’ decisions (peers, past experience with your solutions, self-directed study) and where they go for information (online content, industry research, company salesperson).  Understand this about your buyers, before determining your tactic mix.
  • What do you deliver? Think about the content and offers that you provide to your buyers. Does the content resonate with them? Does it address their business needs? Will your offers help progress a buyer to the next stage of the buyers’ journey or help an existing customer move further along the customer life cycle?

Once you can confidentially answer these questions, you will have the information to build marketing campaigns that will captivate and resonate with your buyers.

Marcia Trask

Marcia Trask is a research director for SiriusDecisions' Marketing Executive Services. She is a passionate marketer with over 20 years of marketing experience in the technology industry. Her areas of expertise include strategic marketing planning and investment, campaign development, marketing technology, business transformation, process engineering, and marketing and sales alignment/enablement. Follow Marcia on Twitter @marciatrask.