Whether you run a large health club with an internal marketing department or are the owner of a small gymnastics studio and rely on an external marketing agency, you need to know whether your efforts are working. And in order to hold yourself, your team or your agency accountable, you need to know the right questions to ask.

Here are the five that we’ve learned will give you the most insight into whether you’re on the right track toward meeting your marketing objectives, or may need to switch up your marketing mix to boost your business’ success.

1. What is the company’s strategy, and how does your marketing strategy further it?

Your company should have a clearly defined mission that everyone on the team is working toward, along with a strategy that will help you realize that mission. And your marketing team should not only have a documented strategy too (in fact, marketers who document strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t), but it should also support and complement the overarching strategy. If your marketing efforts aren’t aligned with the business’ overall strategy, there’s no point in executing them – and they could actually be detrimental to your company.

Here’s an example. Let’s say the mission behind your Pilates studio is to help members strengthen their bodies so they can prevent injuries and maintain a superior quality of life. Your strategy could be partnering with chiropractors and physical therapists in your area, so you can be a supplemental part of their patients’ recovery plans, and get them enrolled at your studio.

If your marketing department has centered its strategy around exhibiting at fitness tradeshows, it’s not aligned with where you’re trying to grow your business. On the flip side, if your marketing strategy is all about acquiring new chiropractic and physical therapist partners, your whole business will be in alignment and moving toward the same goals. This is the kind of answer you’re looking for.

2. Who are we trying to reach?

Once you know what your strategic direction is, you need to make sure your marketing department is honed in on who your target audience really is. When you ask your team this question, their answers should be in-depth and should ideally come in the form of buyer personas (if you’re not familiar with personas, they’re basically detailed profiles of each of your target buyers, formed by combining demographics, market research and customer data).

Another important note is that the personas your marketing team has today should not be considered final. They should regularly be updated as new information becomes available and as customer data changes. Case in point: Successful marketers are 242% more likely to report conducting audience research at least once per quarter.

3. What is our message?

Once marketing has your audience(s) nailed down, they should create messaging that’s tailored specifically to each group. If your karate business caters to young kids and college students, your messaging should be different based on which segment you want to reach. Your message to young kids would actually become a message about the importance of physical activity that’s geared toward their parents (since they’re the ones responsible for enrolling them and paying for their classes). The message for college students, on the other hand, might focus on how affordable your classes are and how learning martial arts can help them keep themselves safe on campus.

The main takeaway here is that your marketing team should have more than one message they’re using, if you have more than one audience you’re trying to reach. Furthermore, they should have answers about what mediums they’re using to convey these messages (like via email, social media, SMS, etc.).

4. What are our goals?

You know your mission, strategy, audience and messages. But what are your specific goals? It has been found that marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t. Decide on your marketing objectives, and share them with your team. Take this a step further even and post physical reminders of your goals around the office to keep everyone inspired and on the same page.

Examples of marketing goals include increasing memberships by 10%, improving your website’s search ranking on Google or increasing customer engagement on your social channels. There are a variety of goals you can choose to zero in on; just make sure the ones you’re using as your North Star are those that tie into your strategy and mission.

5. How can we track our success?

After your goals are set, ask your marketing team how they’ll actually measure whether or not you’ve reached them. In other words, ask what key performance indicators (KPIs) they’re going to gauge, along with how frequently? The KPIs they share should be measurable, should cover each prong of your marketing mix and should clearly indicate whether or not your goals are being met.

Once you’ve gone through these questions with your marketing team, you should have a much better understanding of whether or not your business is on track to get where you want it to go. If any of these questions are met with shock, confusion, a guess or an “I don’t know,” pay attention because this means you’ve discovered an area of weakness.

Any marketing team, whether internal or external, should be able to confidently answer these five questions and tell you how they got to those answers. After all, this is how the basis of any solid marketing strategy is formed. Contact us to learn more, or to get some help with your own marketing strategy.