Who is your Favorite Internet Marketing Mentor

Ask yourself these 7 marketing questions to help you grow in 2021

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do,

has the US economist Michael Porter once said. This also applies to the marketing landscape. Because also and especially because of Corona, strategic planning must now be carried out. Of course, an online marketing strategy cannot be missing. Because it doesn't always make sense to jump into new, hip channels like Twitch or TikTok just because it's in vogue right now.

New year - new start. The following seven questions can help when designing a good online marketing strategy. We have answered them as an example for an e-commerce shop for party accessories.

1. What is your value proposition?

The value proposition describes which customer problem you solve. Ideally in an easily understandable sentence. Of course, there is a different value proposition for every product. With the Value Proposition Canvas you can quickly and easily create a suitable description.

The value proposition for our party decoration article shop could be: “Your online shop for children's birthdays. Find everything for the perfect celebration! "

2. Who is your persona?

A persona represents your target group. A fictional or real person whose problem your company solves. This: r representative: is summarized in a profile (no larger than a DIN A4 sheet of paper) and hung next to the monitor so that the fictional person is always in front of your eyes. A persona is the linchpin of your online marketing activities.

Important: don't waste too much time working out unimportant details. The color of the car or your persona's favorite band are certainly negligible. Instead, concentrate on the wishes and goals or problems and challenges of your persona. The persona of the decoration shop could be a mother looking for decorations for her son's tenth birthday.

3. What's your wow moment?

When do your customers have the feeling “this product, this service, this website is made for me!”? This is exactly the wow moment. The moment in which your users or customers perceive that they are your focus. The wow moment proves that you have understood your persona and tailored your site or service exactly to them and that you keep the promise that your value proposition had previously made.

Can you already convey this feeling in your videos or ads? During the shopping experience, maybe through a virtual advisor? Or only upon delivery, because you put a lot of effort into packaging? It is important to accelerate the experience of the wow moment. The faster customers find out about this, the faster they can recruit more people through Word of Mouth.

A lead magnet such as a calculation tool ("How high should your party budget be? Calculate now!") Can also help customers to feel comfortable and understood.

For the decoration shop, the wow moment is at the latest the “wow” when seeing the decoration of the children and the other parents - or a lot of likes on Instagram, provided the pictures are posted on Instagram and Co.

4. Who is the competition and alternatives?

Every successful company knows its direct competition: Companies that offer a comparable product to the same target group. But who knows the alternatives? In other words: How do customers solve their problems if they do not commission your company or another?

In the case of the shop for party accessories, there are of course direct competition from other companies that offer balloons, candles or garlands (including platforms like Amazon). Both online and offline. Alternatives are home-made decorative items, the complete renouncement of decoration or other service providers who, in addition to their actual core business, could also take care of party decorations, e.g. photographers, party planners: inside or event locations) - but this could also hide potential partners .

5. Where is the focus?

In most companies, every team or department has its own goals and focus: Marketing should generate more leads and sales more new customers, product management should ensure more product variants and the account manager should ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.

But where is the focus? At which stage of the customer journey are the most leads lost or customers lose interest in further collaboration? Most companies could benefit from looking at the customer journey together, analyzing the conversion rate, and then deciding what to focus on.

The so-called “pirate funnel” model is helpful for analyzing the customer journey. Incidentally, the name comes from the stringing together of the first letters of the individual levels. These result in the typical pirate call "AAARRR".

In the case of new products and companies, the focus should usually be on retention, revenue and referral. Because the better your products and services are, the more likely you will be recommended, which in turn facilitates acquisition. If you already have a successful product, the focus is on scaling the users: inside and customers: inside, i.e. in the front part of the funnel.

Our shop for party decorations definitely has a big lever in the "Referral" area, because not only the buyer, but also his guests rate the decoration and thus the success of the event. But regular posts on Instagram and especially Pinterest with pictures of the best parties you have decorated can also attract new customers.

6. Which metrics should you measure?

Depending on your focus, you should also choose the metrics by which you want to measure success. Because if you don't measure correctly and. If you do not set any number-based goals, you cannot evaluate your measures either. The right data depends on the one hand on the business model and on the other hand on the stage of the customer journey.

The following metrics could be relevant as a shop for decorative items:

  • the number of orders per customer (because you want to have returning customers)
  • the average shopping cart value
  • the recommendation rate
  • the conversion rate of the lead magnets on the website

7. How did I use the North Star Metric as a strategic compass?

Very few companies have defined a “North Star Metric” (NSM) - which is unfortunate because if I don't know where I'm headed, how do I know if I'm on the right track?

The North Star Metric is - again, the name says - a target-oriented metric that can always be used as a guide. Strategy and tactics should always be designed to support the North Star Metric.

What's so special?

Classic company-related key figures such as sales or the number of customers are out of place here. Because NSM also includes customer satisfaction with the product. For a SaaS company like Facebook, for example, it is the number of daily active users. If this increases, it suggests that the users are satisfied with the product. For Facebook, more users also mean potentially higher advertising income.

In our shop, a suitable NSM would be the number of customers who order a third time (because then they are obviously very satisfied) or take out our decoration subscription, with which they decorate all parties throughout the year at a greatly reduced price can.

And how does it continue?

Transparency in the team is absolutely necessary. Therefore, the questions above should not be answered in private, but rather in a workshop with the entire team. Ideally, this consists not only of marketers, but is cross-functional and staffed with colleagues from sales, customer support and product management.

The next step is to identify, plan and implement the right measures.First, go through all your answers again, especially your focus (which step of the customer journey is the most important) and your North Star metric.

The starting point for planning your measures is the question that you are now formulating. For example:

  • "How could we get more customers through recommendations from existing customers?"
  • "How could we get more visitors to Pinterest?"

If you ask this, your central question, wisely and specifically, your team will be able to find a variety of suitable measures.


Before formulating any annual strategy, it is advisable to answer the seven most important questions: What is the value proposition, who is the persona, what is the wow moment, who are the competitors and alternatives, where should the focus be, which metrics are relevant and what is the North Star Metric? Once you've done that, you've taken the first step towards growth in 2021.


Tomas Herzberger is co-developer of the Growth Hacking Canvas, a tool for developing marketing strategies. He is also the co-founder of Hello Growth, a strategic consultancy. He also imparts his knowledge as a trainer and speaker. Tomas is co-author of the book "Growth Hacking: More Growth, More Customers, More Success" and editor of "Think Growth". He supports young startups as a mentor and regularly offers the opportunity to exchange knowledge and network with the Growth Hacking Meetups.