Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Five W’s of Marketing

the five w's of marketing
Most people have heard of the Five W’s. They are who, what, when, where and why, and they are utilized by anyone from journalists to detectives to customer service representatives. Now when developing a marketing strategy, it is not only important to use these Five W’s but also to use them in a very particular order. Usually keeping the W’s in a certain order is not necessary, but with marketing it is definitely important.

To effectively formulate a marketing strategy, the best way to utilize the Five W’s is in the order of why, who, what, where and when. By following this pattern, much confusion and loss of precious time can be avoided. Many marketers think of utilizing what or where first, but doing this can definitely cause some issues.

By focusing on “why” first, many issues can be avoided. Companies should begin asking themselves why they are expending their limited resources on marketing. They should decide why they are spending this money on marketing instead of investing it in another area of the company. By asking these questions, it allows company executives to undoubtedly define their business and marketing plans. It also lets people deal with any sometimes unrecognized assumptions that they might have before getting too deeply into the strategy.

Some companies may have unrealistic marketing plans that need to face reality, while others might go in the advertising direction to solve a non-advertising problem. The “why” question can help a person to confront these problems head on before delving deeper into their strategy. It can be challenging at times to start with this question, but it is necessary to fully accomplish your goals successfully.

The second question for marketers to focus on is “who”. Who will help us accomplish our goals? Who will be receiving the message that we will be putting out? Who do we need to convince and win over in order to be successful? By asking this question, a company should then be able to clearly define its target audience. The better that the audience is defined, the more effectively the company will be able in addressing the three remaining W’s and formulating their marketing strategy.

“What” is the next question a company should ask. This question allows the team to figure out what they need to do for their target audience in order to accomplish their goals. This stage will include a variety of different important business decisions. A company will have to decide on things such as products, pricing, packaging, and policy. This stage is also where branding issues and personality dimensions for the brand and the task will be addressed.

“When” and “where” are the final W’s that should be utilized to formulate your strategy. These questions will allow you to figure out where and when is the best possible place to communicate your “what” and your “why” to your “who.” It will be necessary to make many tactical decisions during these stages, but if you have effectively utilized the first three W’s, then this should be much simpler.

Marketing principles can be simple at times and very complex at other times. If you follow the five W’s, I am certain that coming up with your marketing strategy will be much easier than you thought it would be. Who, what, when, where, and why are the perfect way to get things done. You just need to be careful what order you follow. By using them in the correct order, you are guaranteed to discover a much more successful marketing plan. So get started on your plan today and make sure to use the five W’s.

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