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Brad VanAuken Marketing

Testing Marketing Competence

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It has been my experience that "marketers" are quite varied in their ability – from "clueless" to "brilliant." The problem is that many people can't tell the difference between these two extreme ends of the continuum. Here is a list of questions that should help you sort the wheat from the chaff. Ask these of the person in question. His or her answers should help you make up your mind where he or she belongs on the scale of marketing competency.

·Who is your primary target audience and why?

·What are the most efficient media and other vehicles to reach this audience?

·What is the best way to segment this market?

·What is your brand's top-of-mind unaided awareness among its primary audience?

·What is your brand's primary point of difference? Explain why it is compelling to your brand's target audiences.

·Why will your target audiences choose your brand over competitive brands?

·What are your brands "proof points" or "reasons to believe"?

·Please list or articulate your marketing strategies and tactics in decreasing order of effectiveness? That is, which would you invest in first, second, third, etc.?

·How much do you spend on PR as a percentage of paid media spend?

·Describe some of the insights that you have gained from research about your target audiences. What are their hopes, fears, anxieties, attitudes and values? Are there any insights that lead to a "hook" or "way in" to the target audience?

·List the brand and category benefits in decreasing order of priority for your target audiences. Which of these benefits are "cost of entry" (or "parity") benefits and which can be (or are) differentiating benefits?

·What "reach" and "frequency" does this marketing campaign deliver?

·Explain your pricing strategy and why you think it is or isn't working?

·Which lead sources are delivering the highest ROI? What is the ROI?

·What is your media spend level versus that of your competitors?

·What is your brand's brand development index (BDI) in a particular market? [for consumer brands]

·Does your brand have an "elevator speech"? What is it? Is it compelling?

I could add dozens of other questions to this list, but I will stop here. You will know whether you are standing in the shadow of a marketing genius or a vacuous imposter after having made your way through even half of the questions in the list. Best wishes for successfully assessing the competence of your favorite marketing "expert."

Sponsored byThe Brand Positioning Workshop 

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5 Comments

Bhavana Jaiswal on May 25th, 2009 said

Thanks for this article Brad. It’s a lovely way of reviewing how much we, as brand managers know about our brands, and how deeply we understand it. I’m going to be using this as a checklist every time I prepare a marketing plan. Thanks so much!

Josh on May 25th, 2009 said

A solid list. I wonder if this would work on asking one’s own marketing teams to keep them on the ball as well? Or would it be sort of intimidating to have your supervisor or manager spring such a Q&A on you?

Sean E on May 25th, 2009 said

One of the biggest bugbears I have as a director of brand design consultancy – is the complete ignorance of the most rudimentary aspects of the design and production process by those in charge of a company’s brand / marketing management.
Yes most marketing managers we know could answer all the above – but when you explain what is actually required to implement a strategy – well that’s where the wheels start to fall off.

Randall Beard on May 26th, 2009 said

Another point to consider beyond asking the questions above (which are really good) is to benchmark the marketing organization’s skills relative to peers and other industries. Marketing Excellence Survey is one useful service for doing so. Research has demonstrated that more skilled marketing organizations deliver better business results–totally intuitive but ignored by most organizations. I cover this very topic in my blog post at: link to randallbeard.wordpress.com

Sanjana on June 01st, 2009 said

A great list…thanks for the article! It really helps in understanding the marketer as well as the market. I think it’s a great comprehensive list but its also pure basics of marketing — the answers to which every marketer/brand manager should have at their finger tips.

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