I want to share with you an interview question that someone asked me a long time ago, one that’s stuck with me ever since.
It’s an excellent way to test how someone thinks about marketing.
It goes something like this…
“I have a website that I just launched, so it currently gets zero visitors. How do I get it from zero visitors to 100?”
How you answer this question says a lot about how you think about marketing. Before reading further, take a second to consider how you would answer this question.
How Average Marketers Answer
The “just okay” candidates immediately answer the question with ideas that could have come from anyone. They will immediately say things like:
“Write more blog posts. Make a Facebook page. Post on LinkedIn. Run ads. Get PR.”
In other words, a list of random tactics.
Now, these tactics aren’t bad. These marketers have probably read a few marketing books, follow a few marketing influencers, and have some high level idea of how marketing works.
The problem is that these marketers think that more tactics somehow equals better marketing. After they’re done speaking, they have nothing else to say.
How Better Marketers Answer
Marketers with more skill and insight will say things like:
“To get more traffic, you have to get better at SEO. So, let’s start a program to build backlinks. Let’s optimize the content. Have a content outreach strategy. Post on LinkedIn and Quora. Set up partnerships. Find influencers and get them to share.”
This group still answers in tactics, and they’re able to speak in detail about how to do it. They keep themselves up to date. They usually attend events like GROW so they’re up to speed on marketing best practices.
However, they have the same problem as the first group: once they’re done, they’ve used up all their material.
How Great Marketers Answer
What does a “great” answer to this question sound like?
Some of the smartest marketing people I’ve met would answer this question in a completely different way.
Their reply will be something like:
“What is the website about? What are your goals? What role does the website play in the business model? What kind of people do you want visiting this website? Why 100 visitors; can I achieve those goals with 50?”
Even though it’s just a hypothetical situation, this group takes a second to think, and before even coming close to answering, will ask loads more questions.
These marketers first ask questions to understand the core of the issue, and then come up with an appropriate strategy that will drive impact to the business.
By getting as much information as possible, they can then form a strategy that addresses what I’m really trying to achieve.
Only at this point would they start talking about tactics.