Where to start always seems easy, but it never is. It takes hard work, detailed analysis and tremendous insight to develop the effective marketing function for your business. I think you need to start with focus on three key areas—A thorough understanding of your business strategy; a comprehensive view of your target customers and lastly, a clear view of what success looks like.

Let me start with number one. In order to make decisions about what the marketing function should deliver, how it should be organized, what type of people do you need, and others— you need to have a clear understanding of your business strategy. Answers to things like, How do you make money? Where do we make the most money? What markets are attractive? Why do customers buy from us? Where are we investing? What are we not going to focus on? are all fundamental in deciding where the marketing function should start. They also provide a view into the customer segments to focus on the second point—a comprehensive view of your target customers.

“To appropriately design your marketing mix and vehicles, you must know who you are targeting and who you aren’t”

To appropriately design your marketing mix and vehicles, you must know who you are targeting and who you aren’t. But even more important than who they are, is how they get their information, what influences them and how they make their buying decisions. With insight on these items, you can determine the best way to touch customers in different segments and experiment with new ways as long as you can measure your success. You can also think about the focus of your efforts along the lines of Generating Awareness; Encouraging Trial; and Developing Preference.

The third area is defining what success looks like before you start. This is another activity that seems relatively straightforward but when done right, will challenge you in many areas. You will need to consider things like, How will we measure success? How will we know when we get there? and How we are doing along the way? This step is critical to creating a vision your marketing team can buy into and align around, making your journey more successful and more rewarding.