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We’re just a few weeks into the professional baseball season, and already fans of America’s Pastime can identify professional batters and pitchers who, for whatever reason, find themselves amid a slump.

Such reductions in performance happen to the best of players. And, when these athletes can’t quickly break from the slump to begin performing at their typical levels, analysts begin to throw around a phrase that, in many ways, is a good reminder for all of us who want to stay at the tops of our games:

“It’s time to get back to the basics.”

Breaking from the minutia and getting back to the basics is something we in the marketing community strive to do consistently. Most marketing campaigns use various tactics to reach and connect with potential customers. The objective is always to engage and drive customers toward action. But, with so many balls in the air, it can be easy to lose sight of the main objective and get caught up in the process.

To prevent this from happening to your marketing strategy, we at MindStream Creative encourage you to occasionally take a step back to review your marketing efforts in the most basic sense. We’re talking about avoiding boring industry terms and simply asking yourself a few simple questions that may help to reveal areas of change, challenge, and opportunity within your marketing strategy.

Pinpointing such evolutions within your business can also help identify areas in your marketing efforts that could use some pruning.

Here are six questions to help you get started with this “Back to the Basics” marketing review:

Who Are You?

Before anything, we must first dive into this most existential of questions. Who are you? Starting a business isn’t easy, so what is your purpose for existing? What is your objective, and what beliefs do you maintain around the goods or services you provide? Who are your people, and how do they add credibility to what you do? The answer to all of these questions helps form the basis for everything you do in marketing, from branding and website development to the messaging you create around your brand.

What Do You Offer?

Yes, you’re a business that offers goods or services or perhaps both. But, what are you offering? Do your products or services offer simplicity, freedom, health, or comfort? Do they provide safety, hope, or peace of mind? How do they help consumers become better people, parents, caregivers, or homeowners? Dig deep to understand what people want of you fully, and you’ll be able to better engage with potential customers and clients. 

What Makes You Unique?

Chances are there are others like you in your market. These, of course, are your competitors –- other businesses that might keep likely customers from engaging with you for services. What sets you and your business apart from these other options? What’s the niche that makes you unique in your marketplace? Whether it’s a new product, an innovative service, or a unique technology that improves customer satisfaction, identifying your niche will help you identify opportunities to stand out.

Who Is Your Audience?

An audience can be defined by a specific demographic –- say, active and health-conscious 40-somethings within your zip code –- but it’s much more than that. Take time to think of the actual human beings who make up your target consumer base. What problems do they have? What causes them discomfort and keeps them up at night? How do they see themselves now and in the future? As the literary character, Atticus Finch famously said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Doing this exercise will help you craft messages, offers, and calls to action that genuinely connect with people.

Where Do They Engage?

Does your audience tend to engage in-person or online? Do they enjoy congregating in Facebook groups, or are they more apt to connect professionally via LinkedIn? Are they readers, researchers, and media consumers, or are they more attracted to and willing to engage with photos, infographics, and videos? Always work to find audiences where they are; don’t expect them to come to you, regardless of how great your message may be.

What Are You Asking of Them?

Finally, what are you trying to get your audience or consumer base to do? This is your call to action, and it doesn’t always directly align with your final goal, which is to sell goods or services. It could be to get them to share information about themselves, follow you, engage with you, attend a free session, or anything that might take them further down the funnel toward a final sale.

A better understanding of your business makes pinpointing your ideal customer that much easier. Take the time to get back to the basics so you can make that home run.