Questions A Marketing Agency Should Ask You: What Are Your Short and Long-term Business Goals?

The long and the short of it is, don’t over state the importance of articulating both short-term and long-term strategic goals of your business.
Like most things in life, there are priorities. Understand which marketing goals are immediate priorities and those that align with your longer-term aspirational vision. This will help the agency do two things:
  • Do more sooner to begin solving your specific marketing issues, via a prioritized strategy, and
  • Match those immediate goals with the long-term vision to help activities contribute to the bigger corporate picture.
But, businesses can stumble in a few areas answering questions when addressing its priorities, such as:

Lack of Clarity and Measurable Objectives

Avoid answers that might be vague or generic. Instead of saying “increase market share,” a strong answer would specify a target percentage and timeframe.
For example, don’t say “increase brand awareness. A better answer would be “achieve 20 percent brand name recognition within our target demographic in the next year.”

Focus on Tactics, Not Outcomes

Ever been in a marketing meeting, and as the ideas begin to percolate, tactical approaches crop up?
Tactics are the fun stuff. This is when a business gets caught up in specific marketing activities (e.g., “run more social media ads”). Instead, look at the strategic desired results (e.g., “generate 100 qualified leads per month”).

Unrealistic Expectations

Goals are good. But goals should be within the ability of the business to reach them. Expectations that are too aspirational set the stage for disappointment and missed opportunities. Those goals might be unmoored to marketplace realities that don’t consider market trends, competitor activity, or customer needs and the ability to serve those needs.

Internal Disagreement

Short and long-term goals might not be well-aligned. Sometimes, different departments within a company have conflicting priorities. Inter-company competition and departmental squabbling can make it hard to present a unified vision of goals with potentially disconnected visions.

Operational near sightedness

Businesses might only focus on immediate financial goals, neglecting long-term aspirations for brand development, innovation, or market leadership.
To expect this question, do the following to help improve your answers:
  • Do the prep work: Before meeting the agency, brainstorm and solidify both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Quantify your goals: Turn broad objectives into specific targets with deadlines.
  • Show the connection: Explain how short-term goals ladder up to the long-term vision.
  • Speak with one voice: Align all departments on goals before the meeting.
  • Leverage data: Use market research and internal data to inform your goals and show their feasibility.
Address these pitfalls and you’ll have a productive conversation with a marketing agency. You’ll be the recipient of a plan that is short on ramp up and long on effectiveness.