3 Marketing Questions You Must Answer


It is easy to be so fixated on our current operations, processes, and running a successful business that we forget to integrate a marketing perspective. As Pete Hayes and Art Saxby put it in their book, Growth Gears:

Running an operationally focused company is like riding a bicycle. Every time you put a little more power into the pedal, you go a little further, but you have to keep pushing harder and harder to get there. However, if you add the market-focused perspective, it’s like adding gears to the bike. Then every pedal stroke gives you increasing leverage and takes you even farther, faster.

As we think about adding the marketing gear to our businesses, we must step back and ask bigger questions like:

  • Why are we growing?
    Who do we serve?
    What need do we meet?

Ideally these questions would be asked and answered prior to the launch of a product or service. But we know it’s necessary to constantly adjust to ensure our companies are meeting the needs of customers and growing in the market. As we adjust, it’s helpful to take a step back and ask ourselves bigger questions that will inform our marketing strategy.

Why are we growing? It’s one thing to grow, and it’s another to know why growth is happening. By not having a clear understanding as to why a company is growing, we won’t know how to fix the business when growth slows or halts. Chances are the strategy in play today won’t be the strategy needed to grow tomorrow. When we take the time to understand why our business is growing, stagnant, or regressing and reflect on the “why?”, it will help in answering the next two questions.

Who are our customers? Do you know who exactly is buying our services or products? Is it the customer segment that we are targeting? If you know the crucial information contained in the answers to these questions, that’s great! If no, it may be time to re-evaluate the target or the strategy to reach the desired customer. Working with the marketing and sales teams to determine which direction the messaging needs to go will help better align the product or service appeal to the customer.

What need are we meeting? Another way of asking this question is, “Why are customers buying our product?” This need should match the customer demographic  outlined in the previous question. The first step however, is creating customer personas. While this can be tedious and sometimes confusing process, it’s important to have a focused picture of why the target customer is interested in a product and what makes them choose to buy. In a future post, we will explore how to develop a DSI (Dominant Selling Idea), and how to leverage it to help inform future buying decisions.

To determine how well you implement these concepts, or to start the conversation, download our free marketing self-assessment tool.


  • Kevin Miller Bio

    With over a decade of experience in marketing leadership, brand management, and business development, Kevin has helped numerous companies refine and implement plans to create exponential growth.

    Prior to joining C12, Kevin led a successful Florida-based brand strategy consulting business focused on growing small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurial in spirit, Kevin also has a diverse background in launching start-ups as well as helping struggling or stagnant businesses develop a new course of action. His experience incorporates knowledge from multiple industries including textile manufacturing and design, medicine, real estate, technology, web development, and the creative arts.

    After attending the University of Central Florida where he studied Music Performance, Kevin became involved in worship arts and youth ministries, serving for several years in various leadership roles. He and his wife Beth, an elementary school administrator, have been married since 2000. Together with two sons Kyle and Kamden, they enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities including hiking, hunting, fishing, and backpacking.

  • Troy Blackmon Bio

    Troy came to The C12 Group in 2008, with a diverse background in executive leadership, sales development, team building, and operations. Through his role as VP of Field Operations, he is committed to serve, equip and encourage CEOs and business owners to lead thriving companies that honor the Lord and serve people.

    During his tenure at Chick-fil-A, Inc. Troy learned that business excellence and glorifying God in the marketplace go hand in hand. Troy managed a P&L of $35+ million in revenue and coached business owners in operational excellence and improving financial results.

    In addition, Troy has been involved in leading small group ministry, including planting a church in Seattle, WA. Troy was formerly Partner at OneAccord, a management-consulting firm focused on accelerating revenue for mid-market companies. While at OneAccord, Troy was privileged to work with numerous technology companies in senior leadership positions, managing sales, marketing, and business development activities. Troy most recently served as the President of a technology private equity group, where he led the management teams of 4 portfolio businesses.

    Troy is married to his high school sweetheart, Shanna, and has been blessed with 4 children. He enjoys golf, cycling, and mountain biking with his family.

  • Mike Sharrow Bio

    Mike joined C12 as a member in 2010 while serving as an executive pastor for a large church in Texas and owner of a healthcare strategy consulting group.  Prior to that, he had served in a variety of leadership roles in both operations and sales corporately for the Walgreen Company, financial services as well as strategic development work with Health by Design.  In 2011 he exited his commitments to join the local C12 practice in San Antonio as an associate chair serving CEOs across that market.  In 2013 he and a partner acquired the greater Central Texas region and stewarded it as it grew to a team of 8 full-time chairmen serving nearly 150 leaders.  Mike is passionate about collaboration, strategic planning, Gospel initiatives and BHAG endeavors.

    With a background spanning Fortune 50 corporate settings, startups, non-profit and local church, Mike has been discipled into an integrated life perspective around the calling all believers share to be disciple-making disciples and ambassadors of Christ across all vocations and contexts.  It was in 2005 when God revealed to Mike the perils of a “sacred versus secular” duality in life and since then he’s been on the adventure of living one life in Christ, with work as worship, business as ministry and life as mission.

    Mike grew up in Alaska, graduated from Trinity International University and the Loyola Graduate School of Business.  He married his bijou of an Iowa farmers daughter, Jacqui, in 2002 and they have 2 girls, Elayna and Sophia.