Getting buy-in for a marketing campaign can be tricky, but the real work starts when it’s time to bring in the internal stakeholders to create your plan.
Who needs to be involved? What information should they share?
Whether your marketing budget is $5,000 or $500,000, here’s what you need to ask to get off on the right foot.
Who are the internal stakeholders?
First, you don’t want to assume that only top leadership can assist. In fact, your operational management and data professionals can also lend some expertise. Even if you have a single point person that asks all the questions and collects the data, identifying all the interested parties in advance can save time. You’ll also avoid hurt feelings or accusations of dismissing important players who may not be at the higher levels of the company.
Stakeholders may go by different role names, but essentially, you’ll need to bring in:
- Marketing team
- Digital team
- Sales team
- Website admins
- Upper management / C-level professionals
- Customer care team
Knowing how to identify internal stakeholders can take time, as managers may not have all the details someone answering the phone may have, for example. They should, however, be able to point you in the direction of the person with the most knowledge about the topics at hand. It’s still best to start with the highest levels of each department, so you don’t step on toes.
50+ questions to ask internal and external stakeholders
In 2021, 32% of marketers felt that their biggest challenge was to align marketing and sales efforts, showing it’s essential to have more than marketing department stakeholders involved in big campaigns. 18% of these same marketers were frustrated by siloed or incomplete data that could have made their content efforts better. Ideally, all departments should have their input and share past data, which is why asking probing questions is so important.
These inquiries aren’t written in a particular order but are grouped by department and type of question. Use your judgment to determine which to ask. You may find some don’t apply; others may lead to more personalized questions as you go.
Digital team: content strategists, designers, developers, and product managers
- What digital channels are you using? What digital channels should you be using?
- What are your competitors doing on these channels? Are they effective? Can you do it better?
- How do you currently track metrics? Is this method effective?
- What metrics are you not tracking that you think may be important?
- What single message do you want to focus on?
Marketing team: PR, advertising, and marketing managers
- What existing ad campaigns and product launches are scheduled for the quarter or year?
- Can this campaign align with these existing projects and support them in any way?
- What shared digital assets are already created or scheduled to be created?
- How is multi-channel marketing being used across the company? What channels would be a good fit for cross-promotion of this new campaign?
Sales team: Reps, account managers, and executives
- What advertising or marketing materials do you find useful as part of the sales cycle?
- What marketing channels have prospects found to be beneficial or authoritative?
- Which products or services do you naturally emphasize in your sales outreach? Is there enough content or marketing materials to help with this?
- Is any current content or marketing material confusing or discouraging to prospects? What would you change about it?
Website admins: webmasters, editors, and those using content management system (CMS)
- What existing content management tools do we have that can help boost messaging?
- Are there any updates to our technology that we could use but aren’t yet?
- How does site functionality limit our messaging? What can be done to correct that?
- How long does it take to make changes to the website once approved and publish-ready?
C-level professionals: CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CMOs, Presidents, VPs, and board of directors
- How has the industry landscape changed the most over the past 1-5 years?
- What one change in the direction of the company do you see as most important? Most beneficial? Most urgent?
- How can content marketing support that shift?
- What do you think the competition is doing that we haven’t done to our full potential?
- What one advantage are we not explaining with marketing materials that we should be?
Customer care team: case managers, call center teams, and social media support
- How can updated content make your job easier? Is there information we aren’t sharing that we should be?
- How do customers prefer to reach out for questions or concerns? Is there a way to redirect some of that with better marketing assets?
- Do you have examples of marketing campaigns or messages that conflict with what you’re telling customers? How can the digital strategy teams prevent this in the future?
- What marketing assets do you want at your fingertips to reference as needed?
You can’t always ask your customers questions in the same way you query internal stakeholders, however, studies show that 77% of customers are likely to be more brand loyal to companies who reach out to them for feedback and then use what they learn.
To get answers to the following questions, use a blend of customer surveys, social media posts, and the data you collect from search queries and time spent on the site. It may take some piecing together to get a good view of what they really want, but you’ll receive excellent data and may boost your reputation with your customers in the process.
- What would you like to see us talk about or share on our blog, social channels, or website?
- What is your favorite way to learn about us?
- Which social channels do you use that we aren’t on yet?
- What frustrations do you have about our content currently? How can we change this?
Questions to ask yourself about content
After reaching out to stakeholders, it’s time to look at what you can do to meet the expectations and maybe even fix some of the issues your past marketing content has created. One area of improvement for marketing teams may be to better identify goals. Recent data shows that 88% of marketers want to increase brand awareness, while others could be focused on expanding the reach of a particular product or even changing the perception of their brand entirely.
These next questions should be guided by input you’ve received from other departments and focus on establishing your metrics, strategies, and goals.
- How will we set goals? What metrics will they be measured by?
- Based on our stakeholder’s feedback, how close are our current goals to what they should be? Do we need to create new plans or simply adjust them to meet their needs?
- How many of the new goals can be achieved now? In 6 months? A year?
- What significant changes to our workflow or processes need to happen before goals can be actively pursued?
- How will our goals be tied back into ROI so that we have the buy-in to pursue future projects?
- How will we communicate the goals and progress made to stakeholders? How often should this be done?
- How often will we audit our campaign and site to be sure we are making progress?
- What tools will we use to measure progress?
- If we don’t see significant changes, how long will we give the current campaign before making changes?
- What questions can we ask our customers during the campaign to ensure we meet their needs through content? How often will we check in?
- Who will document any content or marketing process changes as they occur?
- What places should these changes be documented?
- How will we manage new projects, tasks, and larger campaigns?
- Do we already have the tools to do so? What tools will we need to invest in?
- How will new tools be implemented?
- Who is in charge of training users on these new workflow tools?
- What metrics should we establish as important early on? Which are nice-to-haves? Which are non-negotiable to see an improvement?
- Will we use any new metrics retroactively for other in-progress campaigns? How will these metrics be used moving forward for future campaigns?
Examples of content-specific questions
As you can see, these are more generalized questions that will lead you to more specific, brand-focused, and goal-driven questions. If you are focusing on creating a new group of pillar pages for your site, for example, you will have even more specific questions targeting your goals for this one kind of content.
We know that 9% of marketers are still not tracking metrics, which can completely derail efforts. (How will you know what’s working if you’re not measuring it?) Establishing “what” you will track and “how” to track it is key to figuring out successes, like in this set of sample questions for pillar pages below:
- What keywords will we be targeting with pillar pages?
- How are our competitors using pillar pages?
- What pages do we already have that can be optimized and linked?
- What pages do we need to create to support our pillar page?
- What mapping and measurement tools do we have to track the implementation and success of these pillar pages?
- How can we use our internal teams to support these pages? What outsourcing can be done to take some of the workloads?
- In what ways will we promote and boost these pillar pages? Can we utilize existing campaigns to extend the reach?
- How will we determine whether the pillar page was a success?
- What is our process for updating and expanding pillar pages and clusters? How often will we reexamine their performance and make updates?
Looking for additional tips and in-depth insight on what to ask? Check out these 25 questions for content strategy available as a free workbook.
Create an effective content marketing strategy
If you still aren’t sure exactly where to start, it may be time to enlist the help of an agency like ClearVoice and our seasoned pool of freelance content creators and SMEs. We have a range of pricing options to help companies of all sizes move the needle on content by creating an effective content marketing strategy that involves all stakeholders.