How To Ask Questions That Will Help You Market

You may assume that you’re the expert in your field. You may just assume that because you know what you’re selling and why people would want it, that means you understand all there is to know about marketing. 

But perhaps there’s a better way to go about this. Perhaps the secret to marketing well is to simply ask questions. Here are some questions I recommend asking your customers that can help lead you toward better marketing:

The Art of Asking Effective Questions: Tips and Strategies
1. Effective questions are the cornerstone of successful marketing strategies.
2. Understanding your audience’s needs and preferences is crucial for tailored campaigns.
3. Develop questions that uncover pain points and motivations for more impactful messaging.
4. Utilize surveys, interviews, and online platforms to gather insights from your target market.
5. Use gathered data to refine your marketing approach and enhance customer engagement.

What Does Your Customer Need?

You’ll want to ask questions about what your customers need, want, like, and are currently buying. These are all very different from one another and can help you understand what the person in front of you wants. Now let’s break down some examples for each category:

What does your customer need? This could be anything from food to housing or even more intangible things like security or safety. It’s important to note that “need” isn’t exactly synonymous with “want”. 

A lot of times people will say they need something when they’re just looking for something else; so just be mindful of this distinction as well!

What does your customer want? Sometimes someone may have a need but no real way to fulfill it so we might ask them if there is anything they would like instead (like ice cream). 

Or maybe they do have a way to fulfill their needs but hear us out on this one because sometimes our customers don’t know what it means when we say something like “what kind of car do you drive?” 

If someone told me that all I did was drive around New York City all day long then I would probably assume he meant subway train but since he didn’t specify that’s not necessarily true…he might mean taxi cab! 

We always encourage people who aren’t familiar with our products/services yet so please don’t feel bad about asking these questions because no matter where I travel in America today there seems  to be a Starbucks nearby which means everyone knows how much coffee costs these days.”

When striving to enhance your marketing strategies, it’s crucial to have a systematic approach. Explore our comprehensive 23-Step Checklist for actionable insights that can elevate your marketing game.

What Are Your Customers’ Favorite Products And Services?

Asking your customers what they like and don’t like about your products and services can help you understand the areas that need improvement. 

For example, if a customer tells you that she doesn’t like how long it takes to order or receive an item from your store, then it’s clear that speed is important to her. You can use this information in many ways:

  • As a way of refining future products
  • A way of identifying pain points (i.e., what has caused most complaints) so that you can address them when creating new features or services
  • A way of understanding more about who the real customer is beyond just asking their age range and gender

How Are Customers Finding Your Competitors?

When you ask questions of your customers, it’s important to keep in mind what you’ll do with the answers. You’re not just gathering the information you’re trying to get a better understanding of how people are thinking about the problems your business solves. 

That way, when someone comes along and offers a solution that’s different from yours but addresses the same needs, you can say “Hey! I’ve been working on this exact thing!”

So What Kind Of Information Should You Be Asking For? 

A lot! Here are some good starting points:

What search terms are they using? This will help you understand how people think about their problems, which can give insight into why they might be looking for a solution (or where they might have gone wrong).

Where are they looking for information? This will tell you where potential buyers spend their time online and what sites or social media platforms they frequent most often. 

You can use that data to inform your marketing strategy by identifying places where it would make sense to advertise or promote content.

What are their pain points? People who have spent money on solutions that didn’t work out will want something different than someone who hasn’t tried anything yet and both groups may respond differently when presented with an ad based on keywords like “tired” versus “exhausted.” 

Knowing what these differences look like could help guide future ad campaigns toward more effective results!

Discover the potential of Bingo Cards as an effective tool in your marketing research arsenal. Learn how to harness this power in our article on Bingo Cards: A Powerful Marketing Research Tool and gather valuable consumer insights.

Where Do Customers Go To Find Answers To Their Questions?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about how to ask questions, it’s important to know that your customers are already asking them. They’re doing it all the time and not just on Google.

If you’re ready to start mining this data to help you improve your content and marketing efforts, you need to understand where people go when they have questions. 

That means knowing which search engines and forums are most popular in your industry (for example: what percentage of people use Google versus Bing?), as well as which social media platforms, apps, and websites they turn to when they have a question.

In addition to understanding where customers go with their questions, it’s important that you also know how they phrase them. Do some people say “search engine optimization” while others call it SEO? What about email marketing vs email blast?

What Do Customers Want Or Need?

It’s important to know what your customers want and need because people buy from people they trust. 

They want to feel confident that you’ll live up to your promises, give them the best service and product, and make sure they get a good deal. When you’re asking questions of your customers, remember that there are four things they’re looking for:

  • Trustworthiness: Do they believe that you will deliver on all of these?
  • Service: Is this person helping me now?
  • Product: Does this product solve my problem or meet my needs?
  • Price: Is this price fair for what I’m getting?

What Is The Most Important Thing You Want Them To Know?

The most important question you can ask is, “What do you want them to know?” This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not.

Are you going to tell them they should buy your product or service? If so, why?

Conducting market research doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. Dive into our guide on How to Conduct Market Research for Free to uncover budget-friendly strategies for gaining meaningful market insights.

How Are They Going To Benefit From Buying It? How Will Their Life Be Better If They Use What You’re Selling?

What is the biggest problem they have that this product or service solves for them? What’s stopping them from getting what they want right now and how will solving this problem help them get there faster than anything else currently available on the market today!

Who And How Many People Are A Part Of Your Ideal Customer Base?

To help you get started, here is a list of questions that can guide your next steps:

Who are your ideal customers? Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do for a living? 

Do any of these people have children or pets at home? What’s their average income level compared to other consumers in the same area and demographic group (based on age, gender, etc.)?

How many people make up this ideal customer base that you’ve identified so far? What percentage of the total population represents them (e.g., “10% of all consumers”)?

What do these people have in common their interests and preferences that will make them receptive to what you’re offering now or later on down the road as part of an ongoing relationship with your business brand?

Or organization over time once it becomes established within its marketplace niche or industry niche category space (e.g., “they like great tasting food,” “they want healthy options,” etc.).

Why Do Customers Buy Your Products Or Services Instead Of Your Competitors’?

Asking your customers why they buy from you instead of your competitors is a very important question because it helps you identify what makes your product or service unique. If you can’t figure out what makes you different, then it’s hard to market yourself effectively.

You can ask this question in person by using phrases like: “What do you like about my products?” or “What is the reason why people would choose our services over our competitors?” You could also ask this question in an email survey by saying something like “Why did you decide to purchase from us rather than from other companies?”

How Has The Industry Changed In The Last 5 Years?

Asking questions like this is a great way to see what the industry looks like right now, and how it’s changed. You’ll learn about new products, services, and trends that might be relevant to your customers. 

You can also ask them what the biggest challenges are in their field right now this will give you an idea of where people are feeling stuck so that you can help them get unstuck!

Before embarking on a survey, it’s essential to be well-prepared for optimal results. Check out our article featuring 14 Tips Before Conducting a Survey to ensure your survey efforts yield valuable data.

What Is The #1 Problem You Solve For A Customer? What Is #2, #3, And So On…

When you’re talking to a customer, ask them what their #1 problem is. This should be an issue that they have right now and is affecting their business or personal life. 

When you’ve identified this problem, ask them what their second most important problem is. Continue asking until you’ve identified all of their top 5 problems with your product or service.

Once you have these, go back through the list and ask which one of those top 5 could be solved by solving another one of the problems on the list. Identify those too! 

That way when someone asks about your product or service in the future, they’ll already be aware of how it can solve multiple problems for them at once!

Why Should More People Be Buying From You? Or What Are You Doing That’s Different From The Competition That Makes You Better Than The Rest?

The next question you should ask yourself is why you are the best choice for your customer. This might be a hard one to answer, but it’s important because if you don’t know why your customers should buy from you, they probably won’t.

Here are some examples of reasons people buy from a brand:

To support an entrepreneur or small business owner who cares about their community and/or employs other people in the area where they live (and therefore gives back to the community).

Because your product or service makes their life easier in some way (like saving them time), and/or makes them feel good about themselves when they use it (like if someone buys a fancy perfume).

What Would Be A Good First Step For A New Customer?

Let’s say you’re a consultant who helps small businesses with their marketing. You could ask:

  • What would be a good first step for a new customer?
  • What do you think would be the most helpful thing for me to send you?

You can also ask about the client’s goals, and then use that information to determine what kind of materials will help them best achieve their goals. For example:

  • What is your goal with this project/campaign/etc?
  • How does your product or service make a customer’s life easier or better in some way?

It’s important to understand why your product or service is better than your competitors’. Why does it make their lives easier or better in some way? How does it make their lives more enjoyable, comfortable, and easy?

Make sure you have answers to these questions before you bring any of them up in a conversation with potential customers.

By asking questions about what your customers like, need, and use, you can market to them better.

Leveraging online communities like Reddit can provide a wealth of market research opportunities. Learn how to tap into this platform effectively in our guide on How to Use Reddit to Conduct Market Research and discover new ways to gather insights.

You May Be Wondering: What’s The Point Of Asking Questions When You Already Know The Answers?

The most important benefit of asking questions is that it helps you learn more about your customer. Their responses will reveal their needs, wants, and desires. The more you know about your customers, the better equipped you’ll be to market to them.

For example, if someone mentions a problem they have with a product or service that you provide, ask them how this has affected them. 

And if there are areas where they think your product or service could improve, ask what those areas are and come back with solutions based on their feedback.


While it may seem simple, asking questions can be a very effective way to make sure you’re marketing to your customer base successfully. 

While there are many possible questions you could ask, these are the ones that have had the most impact on our business at TTI. We hope they will help your business as well!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further expand your understanding of effective marketing strategies:

Marketing Questions to Ask and Test Short Description: Explore essential marketing questions that can guide your testing and optimization efforts for better campaign outcomes.

10 Tips to Ask Sales Questions Like a Pro Short Description: Enhance your sales interactions with expert tips on asking questions that uncover customer needs and drive conversions.

Basic Marketing Questions for Career Development Short Description: Discover fundamental marketing questions that can shape your career development in the dynamic field of marketing.


What are the key benefits of asking effective marketing questions?

Asking effective marketing questions helps you gain insights into your target audience’s preferences, needs, and behaviors. This knowledge enables you to tailor your strategies for better engagement and results.

How can sales-oriented questions contribute to marketing success?

Sales-oriented questions help marketers understand customers’ pain points and desires, allowing them to create targeted campaigns that resonate with potential buyers and drive sales.

What are some common marketing questions that professionals should be familiar with?

Professionals should have a grasp of basic marketing questions, such as understanding the target audience, defining unique value propositions, and assessing market trends to make informed decisions.

How can asking the right questions improve the customer experience?

Asking relevant questions enables marketers to gather valuable feedback, leading to improved customer experiences. This information can guide product enhancements and better meet customer needs.

What role do marketing questions play in career advancement?

Mastering marketing questions can set you apart in your career by showcasing your strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. Answering these questions effectively can demonstrate your expertise to employers and clients.

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