3 Powerful Marketing Questions

August 29, 2022

Marketing can be a powerful tool that, if used correctly, can make a successful business. However, it also has the potential to harm companies by wasting money and causing them to lose momentum. Over the course of my career, I found that 3 simple questions helped me to ground my thinking and select the best marketing ideas with the biggest growth opportunities. 

 I call these questions the golden marketing questions because they help to reveal the ideas with the most growth potential and keep human bias in check. Sometimes as marketers we can easily be distracted by new, “cool” ideas, so using these 3 questions like a checklist helps guarantee that we are focusing on the right strategies and will implement them correctly. 

 These are the three essential questions that should ask in every meeting and about every marketing campaign or project because they will provide you with a deep understanding of customers and, ultimately, bring results.


Question 1: WHAT

What do we want to achieve?

It is easy to get derailed by fun ideas or be overly inspired by the best practice. Sometimes I hear my team coming up with ideas such as:

  • Let's launch a podcast!
  • Let's partner with this influencer!
  • Let’s launch a new channel!

While it is great to get creative, show enthusiasm and be innovative in meetings, often these suggestions lack focus. We need to ensure that these ideas are relevant, target-focused and goal-driven.

My golden WHAT questions are:

  1. What do you want to achieve? 
  2. What precise impact do you think this initiative will have?
  3. What is the commercial outcome for the company?
  4. How many sales / leads would it generate?
  5. How much traffic would it generate? 

These questions force you to properly assess ideas and only select those that will help the company achieve their goals. The questions can also frame the brainstorming session and help the team generate other ideas to reach the desired objective rather than being limited to the initial suggestions. 


You can use the following marketing terms and frameworks while setting your objectives: 

  • SMART objectives
  • Metrics
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
  • OKR (Objective and Key Results) 


Question 2: WHO

Who are we targeting?

Forming a deep connection with our audience is a must. My favourite test is asking a marketer whether they can describe their audience as their friend. If not – they need to empathise with the audience more.  

Connecting with the target market provides crucial information for a marketing team. 

CMO Tip: If you don’t know which campaign channel will be most effective, go back to the basics: consumer insights and data about your audience.  

Your target audience will define your marketing strategy. After all, these are the people that you are trying to market the product or service to. We cannot think of ideas in abstract, we must constantly refer back to our audience.

Consider these examples: 

  • If we want to do a podcast, who is the intended audience of this podcast? How is a podcast aligned with our audience? If there is no alignment, why are we pushing this idea?
  • If our audience is not on Instagram, yet we are spending all our money on Instagram advertising, this will not be effective.
  • If your audience is intellectual and reads scientific papers or journals, this is where you should target them.

Ultimately, it is not about who can come up with the most “fun” or original idea, it is about thinking of clever ways to uniquely target the audience you want to reach.

CMO Tip: Can you describe your audience as a friend? If not – you don’t know them well enough.   

My golden WHO questions are:

  1. Who is the target audience for this project/campaign/product feature?
  2. What are the audience’s interests, desires and current thoughts about the product?
  3. What are their needs? What services are they are buying the product to provide?
  4. How can we create a message that will resonate with them?

You can use the following marketing terms and framework while thinking about your audience: 

  • Segment
  • Persona
  • Consumer insights
  • Jobs-to-be-done


Question 3: HOW

How can we reach them?

Now we have defined our audience and have an objective in mind, we should bring these two components together. We need to understand how to reach the desired audience and how the company can resonate with them.


The golden HOW questions are:

  1. How can we reach our audience? 
  2. What is the customer journey? 
  3. How can our message influence their journey? 
  4. How can we incorporate this message across the customer journey?

I think the more we understand the customer journey, the more cohesive, effective and efficient our marketing campaigns will be.


You can use the following marketing terms and framework while thinking through the customer journey: 

  • Path to purchase
  • ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth)
  • Funnel
  • AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue)

So next time, to stand out in any meeting or discussion, ask these 3 golden marketing questions. Be open, humble and curious and see where these questions take you! 


Keen to learn more?

Do you want to learn about how to set objectives, get consumer insights into your audience and map their journey? Join our Multi-channel Marketing Campaigns course on Udemy to learn the in-demand skill of launching effective multi-channel digital marketing campaigns and get access to practical frameworks, templates and checklists.