Your business’ problem isn’t its website, SEO, or social media strategy. It’s a clarity issue.

All of Hatchet’s partnerships begin with a kickoff meeting. We use this meeting to poke holes in the new partner’s existing sales and marketing processes. This helps us locate the root problem that marketing needs to solve. It’s standard, and it’s indispensable. However, business owners often feel responsible for limited growth and hide the real problems with bullshit responses. If you say your business’ problem is simply the fact that you aren’t making more money, then you’re concealing the truth. Falling behind a major competitor is a problem. Generating new business in a fluctuating market is a problem. Marketing to the wrong level of clients is a problem. Asking an array of directive questions helps these real issues rise to the surface.

Framing the conversation.

Look: it’s not insensitive or unreasonable to expect candor from a partner. Every kickoff meeting serves two purposes. First, it allows the partner to give us first-hand insights into how they do business. Second, collaborating in order to locate the genuine sales and marketing issues creates the basis for a long-term relationship. Good marketing isn’t about SEO, a new website or a trendy social media presence; you can get those anywhere. Good marketing is about finding clarity. Finding clarity at the beginning of a professional relationship sets a precedent for what the rest of the partnership will look like.

Clarity is the father of momentum. It’s just like the spaghetti carbonara you eat before a half-marathon (not right before, of course). Clarity provides everyone affiliated with your business a sense of purpose, drive and commitment, ultimately energizing the company’s holistic brand. And it allows us to attack the source of a company’s problems while addressing more general revenue goals. A lack of brand clarity and consistency across departments stymies growth. Begin with clarity, and growth will follow.

Marketing should be defined as sales support. A good marketing strategy makes sales more efficient and effective while generating qualified leads. Marketing collects data to leverage sales, inform timing and improve customer experience. Whereas sales is a speed game, marketing’s all about stamina. It never stops. Marketing has to analyze everything and make necessary in-the-moment adjustments to drive sales. Momentum might begin with clarity, but it’s up to marketing to constantly re-deliver the momentum your company needs.