The First Test of a Good Marketing Idea

Marketing Idea Evaluation

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You have a marketing idea but aren’t sure if it’s any good. First, ask yourself this question.

They’re always there. Those pesky ideas. Lots of “tips” and buzz around the internet about digital, social and content marketing. Add onto that in-person marketing, media and events—it’s a lot to wrap your head around.

Maybe you’ve got an idea in mind. One that sounds good and seems like a good fit for your business. Maybe there’s even some post or article out there raving about how much it will boost your business, and possibly solve world peace in the process.

Or maybe you’re the type of person that collects things. Perhaps there are a few too many sticky notes lying around with marketing ideas you’d like to try… someday.

But are any of these ideas actually good ideas?

It can be hard to tell. Lots of information out there. Lots of things to chase. How do you know it will be good for your small business? Especially when your precious time is limited.

In the end, you don’t want to risk wasting your time. So, you end up trying nothing at all. Maybe some day you’ll get around to it.

I’ve found there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself. If you answer these three simple questions, chances are you’ll know exactly which ideas are worth your time, and which ones aren’t.

This post is the first in a three-part series where we’ll dive into each of the three critical questions. By the end, you’ll be able to move on and start getting something done – something that will move your business forward.


It all starts with the objective. It’s the first, and perhaps most important, test of whether or not an idea you have makes strategic sense.

Think of the marketing objective as what you want to get out of your marketing efforts—what you want those efforts to achieve for your small business. Some examples include:

  • increase awareness
  • grow your subscriber base
  • increase traffic/calls
  • build a list of leads
  • convert more sales
  • increase repeat business
  • double your referrals

Marketing objectives like the above generally fall into a few major buckets related to the marketing funnel:

  • Top of funnel—awareness, equity and traffic
  • Upper mid funnel—engagement and consideration
  • Lower mid funnel—sales opportunities and conversion
  • Bottom of funnel—loyalty, referrals and advocacy

Once you’ve identified your priority objective, you can then hold any marketing idea up to your objective as a litmus test.

Does the idea meaningfully contribute to or directly support your priority marketing objective?

If not, it’s a clear sign that you should let the idea go. It just doesn’t belong.


I hear you. Easier said than done.

To further help, here’s a list of common tactics and which marketing objective (general bucket) they typically achieve for a business. Note: Some tactics fit in more than one place depending on the specifics, but hopefully this list gives you a starting point.

Top of funnel—awareness, equity and traffic

  • Paid advertising (banner, Google Adwords, social ads, traditional media)
  • SEO (organic keyword)
  • SEM (paid search)
  • Directories
  • Social (organic)
  • PR/outreach/guest posting
  • News releases
  • Events (live/virtual)
  • Sponsorships
  • Direct mail
  • Outbound calls

Upper mid funnel—engagement and consideration

  • Blog
  • Ebooks
  • Email campaign/newsletter
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Articles
  • Demos
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Galleries/portfolio
  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Flyers/promos
  • Questionnaire/application

Lower mid funnel—sales opportunities and conversion

  • Pitch decks
  • Phone consultations
  • Sales calls
  • Live demo
  • LTO (limited time offer)
  • Price promotion/discount
  • Bonus incentives
  • Retargeting
  • Email campaign
  • Presentations/proposals

Bottom of funnel—loyalty, referrals and advocacy

  • Bounce-back offers
  • Onboarding
  • Customer service
  • Member benefits
  • Rewards program
  • Referral incentives
  • Email campaign
  • Newsletters
  • Webinars/workshops
  • Retargeting ads


You don’t have to scour the web looking for example tactics, nor rack your brain trying to remember which objectives they fit under. Simply enter your info below to get access to the Tactical Marketing Cheat Sheet. It has a list of tactical options sorted by objective, as well as a list of metrics you can use to determine if your tactics are actually working or not.

It’s a simple one-pager that’s extremely valuable and helpful to keep around.


Keep the cheat sheet handy—post it on a corkboard or attach it to your marketing plan. Then keep an eye out for our next post where we outline the second of three questions you need to answer to determine if your marketing idea is worth pursuing.

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