The most important question any small business can ask when it is shaping its marketing strategy is, “Why?” Why are you doing this?
It’s the question I ask of clients most often, too. They say, “We want a social media strategy.” I ask, “Why?” Then I keep asking why until I get to the real reason. Because the first answer to, “Why?” is never the real answer.
It’s a Six Sigma Technique made widely popular in business circle thanks to the mainstream exposure of principles that drive Toyota Manufacturing. An example:
The robot stopped working –> WHY (1) –> Because the circuit overloaded –> WHY (2) –> Because there was insufficient lubrication in the bearings –> WHY (3) –> Because the oil pump isn’t circulating –> WHY (4) –> Because it’s clogged with metal shavings –> WHY (5) –> Because there’s no filter on the pump.
Put a filter on the pump and you solve the problem. The five whys lead to the real answer and cut through the cause-and-effect dominoes that mask the real problem.
Typically, when I ask, “Why?” of a client, it’s something like this:
We want a digital marketing strategy? –> WHY (1) –> To engage our prospective customers –> WHY (2) –> To create more awareness of our products –> WHY (3) –> To drive more traffic to our website –> WHY (4) –> To capture more leads –> WHY (5) –> To sell more stuff.
Many brands get stuck on the engagement and awareness parts. The ones that do ultimately don’t like the output they get from digital marketing partners or consultants because they stopped at Why No. 2 or 3. The ones that are typically satisfied with their digital marketing partner’s work are the ones that cut through the clutter to get to the ultimate Why?: To make more money.
Don’t fool yourself about social media marketing. It can certainly aide in awareness and engagement. It can produce lots of benefits for a small business beyond revenue. But if you aren’t diving in to leveraging social media for a small business without the ultimate bottom line as a strategic point of emphasis, your efforts are likely to eventually be judged a failure.
So ask yourself, “Why?” And do it again and again until you identify the real reason behind your efforts.
You’ll be a lot happier with the results in the end.