I'm passionate about helping organizations discover or rediscover their Why. Synthesizing complexity into crisp, why-do-I-care core narratives is my specialty. Effective marketing always starts here. From there, I coach in-house teams or assemble nimble teams to build and execute effective marketing. This is my process.
Start with Why.
Whether B2B or B2C, non-profit or for-profit, start-up or enterprise, effective marketing begins with a crisp description of why you exist. People buy into ideas before they buy things. They digest your Why before they donate or spend a dime. Whether your organization is a non-profit "selling" a cause, an institute of higher learning selling education or a B2B technology firm selling software and services, what you sell matters less than what you stand for. Does your marketing first and foremost describe what you stand for, what you believe and why your target audience(s) cares? If the answer is not a resounding yes, revisit your Master Narrative. When I consult clients, I find the Why/How/What Golden Circle a productive tool. If your organization established a Why/How/What, but has since pivoted or changed strategies, it's time to complete this exercise again.
Conduct a Listening Tour.
With your Why in mind, revisit your key audiences. Have they changed? Are all key constituents represented? Are those responsible for strategy and content steeped in these audience profiles and fluent in their priorities? They should be. The only way to know your audiences is to talk to them. Ask your clients or constituents questions and listen with no ulterior motive or sales pitch in mind. Skeptical they'll take the time to talk to you? Do you like to be asked what you think and talk openly while someone listens without interrupting? Exactly. This is why we pay for therapy. Ask for thirty minutes, come prepared and use the time wisely.
Personas are a key component of marketing methodology, and often the first or second inventory question I ask clients. Personas are based on real people. They're your vision of your customer, your intended audience. You should have a persona for every target audience. Shape them in detail. Name them. Your goal is for your personas to become silent residents in the hallways of your organization. Appoint someone to speak for them. When facing a decision, ask what each persona would prefer and how they would react. Want inspiration? Read this.
You wouldn't let your home or wardrobe go years without curation, but so often marketing content remains in circulation, on websites or in sales arsenal, irrespective of its accuracy. Once you've completed a Why/How/What exercise and have a Master Narrative, syndicating it successfully depends on message consistency and constancy.
These are the steps I walk clients through:
Interpret the Master Narrative for each of your personas. Put the core value proposition in their what-matters-most-to-me language. Imagine how important this is if you're selling to multiple industries.
Conduct a Content Inventory of every public-facing asset you have published across media types: collateral, video, slide decks, web pages, podcasts, webinars and interactive tools. Don't forget about paid ads, social media and blog posts that highlight these artifacts. Classify the medium, the persona to whom this asset speaks and whether or not it supports the Master Narrative.
Assess the results. Most importantly, remove from use content that no longer matches your Master Narrative. Identify which personas are well-covered with existing content and where you have gaps. I often find content is heavily weighted toward one or two personas and one or two media types. Based on your go-to-market strategy, determine and prioritize the content that needs to be created to fill the gaps.
P.S. Confused by the difference between a Content Inventory and a Content Audit? Typically, a Content Inventory catalogs quantity while a Content Audit assesses quality. I like this diagram.