Is that a Marketing or Strategy Question?

Many marketing challenges are often strategic dilemmas. When company executives meet to discuss missed sales targets, unknowingly they are often trying to solve strategic issues with marketing solutions. Since they are not addressing the core problem, the marketing efforts are often misdirected.

Common questions discussed during sales and marketing meetings are:

(1) How do we increase sales?

(2) What can we do about our diminishing customer base?

(3) How do we deal with the intense competition?

(4) What can be done to maintain year over year growth?

These issues may sound like they can be solved with additional sales and marketing efforts. However, the actual problem may be the result of structural  changes occurring within the industry. The entire marketing approach may need to be reassessed strategically.

In your next marketing or sales meeting, before your begin asking tactical questions such as; should we advertise in this publication or do we attend more tradeshows, consider a strategic approach.

Begin the meeting by asking the following questions:

(1) What changes are taking place in the industry

(2) Who is making money and how, and most importantly,

(3) What are we going to do to grow our company to the next level.

The ensuing discussion can lead you down a pathway that is crucial to your company’s long-term success. Once these questions have been explored, you can return to the original marketing questions above. The resulting marketing plan will have a greater chance of success, once properly aligned with current industry conditions.

marketingAbout the writer: Lori Williams

Lori Williams is a well-known business consultant, speaker and writer. She is the founder of which is an online resource for business information and advice. Business Simply Put offers eBooks, Financial Tools, Webinars and Videos designed for start-ups and small businesses. Lori is also an adjunct professor for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California.