One of my roles as a marketing consultant is to filter through the constant flow of new products and ideas that come my way, deciding whether or not I should promote them to any of my clients.
In a typical week, I am exposed to a variety of products and services, most of them hatched in the digital realm, that promise to change the way I do business or at least make it happen faster and cheaper. Sometimes my clients bring these ideas to me for my inspection and advice, and other times I receive them directly or read about them on one of the many information channels I connect to. I may consider recommending a new product or service, especially if it is supported by solid research or comes with KPI metrics to back it up. Occasionally, the new idea is really a repackaged older idea that didn't work all too well the first time around!
Regardless of what particular tactic I'm considering, it must clear one primary hurdle - the strategy. I always ask whether this new idea (product or approach) will support my client's strategic goals? With no exception, it always goes back to the strategy.
That's why I spend time early on in a newly developing client-agency relationship conducting a strategic intake. This may take the form of a single face-to-face session, or a series of phone calls. But I don't ever skip this important step. Asking key questions related to my client's business goals, past marketing experiences, product descriptions, target audiences, company resources and timing, to name just a few categories, is worth its weight in gold later on, as new opportunities arise.