Who, Why, What, And How Are the Prologue to Success

Success starts with a question. Actually, no. Success starts with a series of questions and the due diligence that it takes to honestly answer them. Often we start with an idea and we run full speed ahead with exuberance. Maybe it’s a campaign or a new product or maybe it’s a whole new business. Regardless of what it is, we get this spark of inspiration and we lunge forward to bring it to life. Before we go all in, however, we need to step back and start asking who, why, what, and how. 

Who is my target audience?

“This [fill in the blank with your own genius idea] is perfect for anyone and everyone!” You wouldn’t be the first person to think so. Maybe it is, but really, it’s probably not. Your idea may, however, be perfect for someone and your first step is to identify who that someone is. 

Who is your target audience? Others might buy your widget, sure, but who is most likely to get as excited about this as you are? Is it a specific age group? Does your target audience have a certain skill set or hobby? Identifying ‘who’ is going to help you identify your brand messaging, voice, the list of product or service benefits you can offer, price point, distribution model, and a whole host of other important things. 

Why am I doing this? Why will they want this?

What’s your goal? Why does this idea excite you and why is it going to excite your target market? “It’s going to be a huge money maker!” may or may not be a true statement, but it’s not the goal we’re talking about here. 

Your idea may have the potential to become the next big, profitable thing, but to get there, you’ll need to first identify why it’s something folks are going to want. What is the problem it’s addressing? What’s the benefit for your future clients? And why are you passionate about it?

What does success look like?

Don’t skip this step. Before you dive into bringing your idea to life, set some expectations. Having identified your audience and your goals, give yourself parameters to measure success. 

Maybe your brilliant idea was to host a launch party to introduce your newest product line. You’ve identified your audience – industry media and those folks that decide what products to put on the shelves of their retail outlets. Why? An event gives you the opportunity to cultivate relationships with this audience, as well as give them the chance to see and engage directly with samples of your new products. 

Here’s where numbers matter. Is the event a success if you had 500 people attend an event but only one media outlet publishes a review and you get maybe a dozen vague promises about running a pilot on select store shelves to test the market? Maybe. Depends on what your goal was. 

If your goal was simply to pack the place with as many people as you could, then sure, maybe 500 in attendance is the only measure you’re looking at and it’s a successful event. However, your goal was probably more focused on generating media mentions and orders. In that case, a 100 people attending the event that yields a dozen published reviews, twice as many commitments to order, and a small handful of buyers expressing interest in a test run in select stores would be a more successful event. While those parameters help you measure your success after the fact, they can help you better define your message, your tone, and all the other facets of how you bring this great idea to life. 

How did we do?

The question and answer phase of this process doesn’t end when the idea is brought to fruition. It’s important to take the time to evaluate how things went. Did you meet your goal? Is this new product, this new company, this event, or this new campaign successful? Do you need to refocus your message? Did you misread your target audience? Did you understand their pain points and/or needs and desires properly? Is your real market a different demographic than what you expected? Did you find unexpected success? 

Maybe the business service you offered didn’t generate an enthusiastic response from start-ups less than two years old, but established small businesses couldn’t get enough of what you had to offer when they learned about it. Take the time to understand what worked and what didn’t - and where you might need to adapt to keep moving forward.