Top-Shelf Tip No. 006:

"The business of business isn't just about creating profits for shareholders — it's also about improving the state of the world and driving stakeholder value."

Marc Benioff

The Value Of Stakeholder Interviews, Part 2

Whether you've merged with another brand via acquisition or launching a new product or service, it's often important to conduct stakeholder interviews as a key step in redefining your brand positioning and go-to-market strategies.

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared key steps in arranging stakeholder interviews, both internal within your organization and externally with customers and prospects . Today, PCT shares the key questions to ask your stakeholders, depending on their role, as defined by San Francisco-based marketing agency Suite Seven.

Branding And Marketing

• Do you have a sense of the brand awareness for the company in the marketplace?

• How much are you focused on building brand awareness in your marketing vs. product marketing and direct sales support?

• What do you want customers to leave thinking about the company and its products, and how do you want them to feel?

• Can you describe your marketing program over the past year, and what you're planning for the upcoming year? What is the general breakdown in spending for your marketing budget? How do you see web and electronic marketing fitting in to your overall marketing picture?

• What are your major marketing opportunities in the next one to five years?

• What are your biggest marketing challenges?

• What are your major marketing objectives, strategies and metrics for the next couple years?

Customers

• Who is the primary user of your products?

• What choices do your customers face — what decisions do they need to make before finally deciding to purchase your product? How are they influenced?

• What objections might a customer have about your product? How do you address these objections? Do you use your current marketing tactics to help overcome objections?

• Can you describe the purchase process for these target users?

• Do your existing customers feel brand loyalty to your company and your products?

• How would you describe your value proposition vs. your top competitor(s)?

• What are your major customer objectives, strategies and metrics for the next couple years?

Sales

• Who is responsible for selling your product to the end customer? How do you prepare that salesperson to communicate the right messages to customers about your product?

• What does the sales process look like?

• What kinds of information do customers typically need to make their decisions about buying? What factors do they compare and weigh when deciding between yours and a competitor's product?

• What are your 3 biggest sales challenges? Will these stay consistent in the short-term future or do you see new challenges emerging in the next two to five years?

• What are your major sales objectives, strategies and metrics for the next couple of years?

Products
• Which of your product brands is the strongest or best selling? Why?

• Why do customers choose your products over a competitor's?

• Where are your products weaker or more limited than those of your competitors?

• How are your products branded and named? Is there a systematic way that you name brands and differentiate models (a brand architecture)? Do you spend a great deal of marketing effort to promote specific brands?

• Are the target audiences different for each of your product brands?

Market/Competitors

• How do you see your market changing in the next three to five years?

• Which competitors most often win over your products in the market?

• What are those competitors' strengths that cause them to win?

Tomorrow, PCT wraps up our stakeholder interview series with tips on what to do with the insights gleaned from stakeholder interviews.

Source: Suite Seven is a marketing agency that builds successful brand, marketing and content strategies for organizations. It helps businesses conduct an in-depth discovery phase that includes discovery interviews, communication and content audits, and competitive analyses. Then, it develops in-depth strategies that provide a blueprint for how to engage with customers.

Compiled by: Cassandra Johnson



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