You’re Asking the Wrong Question

Strategy is useless without context—it's time to ask better questions.

Back when I was just a “freelancer” I’d start potential client discovery calls with questions about very specific wants and needs. Do you want a slider on your site? How do you feel about parallax? Do you like long scrolling pages or lots of small pages? (What kind of question was that, Past Sarah? 🤦🏻‍♀️)

But I was making a serious misstep. In actuality I was focused on the wrong thing. This is the same mistake many entrepreneurs and nonprofits makes as well. We have a tendency to perceive the “outcome” as the “work product” and not the actual business result.

Better questions to ask yourself and be very clear on are what you hope the thing you’re embarking on will do for you. This can be applied to any business or marketing technology or service you invest in. (Seriously! Courses! CRMs! Sales Tax apps! Anything!)

Here are some examples:

  • Do you “need SEO” or do you need help attracting qualified leads to sign up for your newsletter?
  • Do you “need to blog” or do you need to grow your audience through thought leadership?
  • Do you need a website redesign because “it’s time” or do you have a disconnect between the brand conveyed online and the experience people have when working with you?
  • Do you “need a CRM” or do you need to create more time in your schedule to create info-products or intensively work with clients?
  • Does your “website not work for you” or do you need to get clarity on how a website can be your very own administrative assistant?

I realize this sounds like nitpicking semantics but now that I reframe these conversations, strategy is far far easier because we have context. When we understand context, we can create strategy that incorporates the right technical tactics that will create the fastest, most efficient path to the end result. Without that information, we’re basically throwing spaghetti at walls and seeing what sticks. (While fun, also super messy!)

This has all been top of my mind as so many people we work with have been scrambling to retool. It’s natural to focus on the tech and nitty-gritty rather than maintaining or adjusting your goals and your desired outcomes.

Even for me, I finally jumped and moved the underlying tech for our courses because I’d originally made a couple of infrastructure decisions based around “what ifs” instead of being narrowly focused on what those learning experiences would achieve and minimizing addition human stress from that. I’d been distracted by the fussy stuff when I set it up last year and not the big picture.

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