The First Question Every Marketer Needs to Answer

Dave Niemi | Feb 12, 2016

Let’s take a step back…

Before you schedule your kick-off meeting, before you approve your creative brief, before you place your media buy, answer this question: What challenge are you trying to solve?

If you don’t have a quick, clear response to that query, you may want to take some time to formulate a brief—but comprehensive—response. The patience and line of thinking required to answer this simple question will help shape and validate your entire strategy. As a result:


Your thinking will be focused on addressing your target audiences’ needs rather than your own operational wish list (“Let’s build an app!”).


You’ll resist the urge to jump immediately to the first solution that comes to mind, which is usually a tactical response rather than a strategic one (“Let’s build an app!”).


You’ll be in a better position to avoid “Me, too!” messaging and tactics, helping to differentiate you from your competition (“They’ve got an app!”).

In other words, while building an app actually may be the right tactic, you want to arrive at that conclusion based on customer needs, sound reasoning and strategic thinking—not simply because a competitor has one or an app would be cool to have. The discipline required to know exactly what problem you’re trying to solve can help unify everyone’s thinking.

This simple exercise of thinking about what you’d like to solve first can also serve as a starting point for crafting personas that describe your target audience. Ultimately, it can help crystallize everyone’s understanding of your brand and clarify your approach to the sales cycle. This knowledge can be especially useful if you’re communicating with the “middle man” of your sales channel, such as a financial advisor or an equipment distributor.

What challenge are you working to solve? Answer this question as concisely and as completely as possible, and you’ve taken the first step toward crafting a messaging strategy that will allow you to communicate with your target audience in the most persuasive manner possible.

Then, of course, your second question can be: “Can we make the logo bigger?”


Whatever marketing challenges you are trying to solve, Blue Flame Thinking is ready to help with thoughtful solutions. Contact Steve Schmieder at sschmieder@blueflamethinking.com or 312.327.5120 to learn more.

Dave Niemi

With 27+ years in the financial industry, Dave has a deep well of experience from which to draw as he directs our editorial services and content development efforts for the agency's financial clients.

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