Understanding your client is likely the most important step in the onboarding process of a new client. An efficient marketer is able to connect the dots and ask the right questions to uncover the right solution. How can you present the right solution if you don’t understand your client and their unique problem? Truly understanding your client, could take a significant amount of time, but there are things you can do to speed the process up and be an expert in their field. Let’s go through those now. First, let’s define what the job of a marketing department/agency is.
The Marketing Department is responsible for identifying the correct audience and communicating the benefits of their service/product through many different media channels (ads, brochures, television commercials, radio, etc).
Notice: I didn’t use sell or sales, your goal as a marketer is to create the tools (ads, white papers, commercials, etc) that get people to buy, instead of you selling them. Understanding your client begins by understanding their:
  • products/services
  • target customer
  • current situation
  • desired situation

Step 1: Pre-Planning

A successful client/agency relationship begins well before the first meeting takes place. Doing your homework prior a meeting usually leads to better results and a more comfortable experience for your client. They are trusting you with their families livelihood and expect you to take it as seriously as they do. Preparation will also save you time. Ask yourself these questions and get further clarification from your client for to get a better understanding of their products/services.
  1. What does the client or company do?
  2. What products/services do they sell?
  3. What challenges do they face? i.e. government regulations, large competition, etc.
  4. How has or will their market change in the coming future?
  5. What obstacles can I expect to encounter and how will I respond to each?
  6. What does your client define as “success”?

Step 2: Understand Their Current Situation

Your client has a desired situation, a place they want to be. To reach this desired situation you have to understand their current situation.

Their Business

Focus on their market and opportunities. Here are some great questions to ask. You don’t have to ask all of these, choose the ones that you feel will get you the best answers and actionable information.
  1. Who are your potential clients?
  2. How do your clients currently find you?
  3. Where do they come from?
  4. What characteristics do your potential clients share?
  5. What pain point does your product/service solve?
  6. What are your upsell strategies?
  7. How long is the typical sales cycle?
  8. What makes your business unique?
  9. Who are your three biggest competitors?
  10. What marketing campaigns by a competitor, made you jealous?

Their Marketing

Focus on their assets and strategies. The same strategy as above, choose the questions that you feel will get you the best answers and actionable information.
  1. What are your marketing goals?
  2. How much do you spend annually on marketing?
  3. What’s the lifetime value of a client?
  4. What marketing metrics do you currently track?
  5. What marketing tactics have you used that were least successful?
  6. What are your biggest marketing challenges?
  7. What marketing assets do you currently have? i.e. images, content, reviews, etc

Step 3: Understand Their Desired Situation

As mentioned previously, your client has a desired situation, a place they want to be. Developing the roadmap to this desired situation requires you to understand the starting and end-points. You should have a clear understanding of your client’s current situation. Let’s understand their desired situation.
  1. What plans do you have to grow your business?
  2. What product/service
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