“Should we run Facebook ads?” And other questions I hate.

I get asked questions. Here’s how it happens. The person finds out I’ve been working in marketing for over three decades and they figure they’d get a seasoned perspective. I don’t mean to sound like a whiner. It’s really a compliment that they respect my experience. And, you know, it just comes with the territory. So, I get the questions. It’s usually something like, “Do you think we should run Facebook ads?”

It’s not that this is a dumb question. At some point, it needs to be asked. It’s just that it’s the wrong place to start.

"Ah, right. So you're saying we should start with search ads?"

With any client, I’m going to start with their financial goal and work backward to understand what kind of engagement we need to build. As I’m doing that, we’ll start to understand and order the prospects so we know the most effective way to allocate dollars. That should help us answer that question about the Facebook ads. Or the search ads. Or whatever. But even with all this insight we still haven’t addressed the most crucial factor. Your story.

If you don’t have a simple, compelling, and unforgettable story, then it doesn’t matter how many ads you run.

Okay, got it. Then we run the ads?

I’m going to suggest something less sexy. Before ads, let's make the sales engagement awesome. Let's give our frontline people really great materials spawned by that killer story that we took the time to get right.

"Great! Soooo…Snapchat or Twitter?"

Uh, no. Then I would say let's create some really, really great help that we'll offer those people we're hoping to engage. The kind of help that makes us irresistible to them. As opposed to us trying to coerce them into paying attention to us.

Let's get all those things right first. Once we do, all those questions become a whole lot less vexing. Because when we start with our story, the answers will reveal themselves.