The Most Important Question to Ask When Building a Marketing Campaign

authentic brand story brand messaging customer journey Jun 01, 2022


What's the most important question to ask yourself when starting work on a new marketing project?

Most of us would say : ”What am I selling? Or “Who am I selling to?” And these are important questions for sure!


But in the book, Great Leads, Masterson and Forde make the case that the most important question you can ask yourself before formulating any marketing campaign is this:


"What does my prospect already know?"


What do they know about our product and our company?

How much do they really know about the problems we solve for them?

What do they know about other solutions that are out there? 


Answer these questions, and you will learn:

  • the type of lead – 
  • the headline and opening paragraphs of your campaign – 
  • that are most likely to generate the greatest response. 


This is the premise of their book, which is aimed primarily at a B2C copywriting and marketing audience.


Your answer to that question can lead you to deeper understanding of: 

  • What kind of information your prospect needs
  • How you need to talk to them
  • What type of promotion is most appropriate for your target audience
  • How direct you can be in talking about your product or service
  • What kind of offer will generate the most leads


How do you come up with a useful answer that helps me make decisions?

Good question! 


The Five Levels of Customer Awareness


Eugene Schwartz is an icon in the advertising business. Famous for having authored 10 books on advertising and copywriting, including his classic, Breakthrough Advertising


Mr. Schwartz offers us a clear formula for answering that question: “What does my prospect already know?”


He identified five distinct levels of customer awareness. They are:

  • Most Aware. These are your best customers – your multi-buyers. They're brand loyal. They're enthusiastic about your products, and will sing your praises.


  • Product Aware. These prospects know your product, but haven't bought it. They're familiar with your competitors' offerings. They're just not sure if your solution is best for them.


  • Solution Aware. Solution aware prospects know about solutions like yours, but don't know your specific product or service. If your company isn't well known in their industry, they may not have heard of you.


  • Problem Aware. Problem aware prospects know they have a problem, and have some idea of what that problem is, but they may not completely understand it. They haven't dealt with this problem before. They're totally unfamiliar with possible solutions.


  • Unaware. These are prospects who don't realize they have a problem. They simply don't know a better way exists. If you have a new product that addresses a major drawback of previous solutions, most of your prospects may be at this level.


These five levels allow you to separate your prospects into five distinct segments. 


It’s similar to the levels of a sales funnel, in this analogy, your "Unaware" prospects are at the top of the funnel, and "Most Aware" prospects at the bottom.


Prospects at different awareness levels have different needs and desires. There will be different messages for each one. 


For example, the less aware a prospect is:

  • The more education they require before you can "sell" them
  • The less open they are to a sales pitch 
  • The more clear your message needs to be to pique curiosity for them to learn more. 


Schwartz’ customer awareness level is quite handy for determining what type of promotion will work best for different segments of your target audience. All you have to do is determine which awareness levels your audience falls into.


Determining Customer Awareness Level


How do you determine awareness level? Ask more questions, go deeper. 


Ask questions about the problem your offer solves:

  • How well known is the problem?
  • Do the prospects realize they have this problem?
  • Besides ours, what other solutions are available?
  • How well known are these other solutions?


Ask questions about your company:

  • How well known are we?
  • What is our reputation in the prospect's industry?
  • Is this prospect likely to have seen our advertising? (What's our ad budget?)


Ask questions about your solution:

  • Is it brand new? If not, how long has it been on the market?
  • Is it unique, or are there similar solutions available?
  • How much advertising of this product have we already done?


Keep asking, listening, asking more. 

Get really clear of your prospects' overall awareness level. 


Once you've determined what your prospects already know about your solution, it makes it much easier to write emotive compelling copy that leads them toward a sale. 


In Summary


  1. The most important question to ask yourself when starting a new marketing project is:

"What does my prospect already know?"


  1. Categorize your prospects into segments based on what they already know. 


  1. Use The Five Levels of Customer Awareness to build your segments:


  1. Unaware
  2. Problem Aware
  3. Solution Aware
  4. Product Aware
  5. Most Aware




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