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The Best Questions Ever To Use In Your 90 Day Marketing Review

March 22nd, 2023

The Recruitment Marketing and Sales Podcast

This week our focus is your marketing review. As many of you know, we’re big fans from our corporate days of the 90-day planning process, which works incredibly well if you want to keep on track and keep things happening in your business.

Today I want to share the questions we use that we’ve been honing over the years and brought with us from our various roles in bigger organisations.

Until you review, you don’t know what’s happening in your business, you’ve not looked at the data, and you don’t know where you’re going as you move forward.

If you don’t review, how do you know; what’s going well and what’s probably not going so well?

We have used and tested several processes to review our marketing and business activities for many years.

It was schooled into us when we were both in our corporate roles, and I thank the organisations for teaching us their system.

Over the years, we have adapted our review process and now use two styles of question.

The 4 Rs and The 5 Whys

The first one, very easy to remember, is the 4 Rs, with r standing for review questions.

Then the next one is the 5 Whys which will make sense in a second.

Let’s start with the 4 Rs.

I will give you the questions, dive into each, and then explain how the 5 Whys fit in.

Now, I’m assuming when you sit down to carry out your 90-day review, you will be looking at data, you won’t just be basing it on emotion, and the 5 Whys questions will help remove.

So here are the questions in the particular order we ask them.

  • What did we achieve?
  • What worked well?
  • What did we miss?
  • What are our priorities this quarter?

Now, I ask these questions in this particular order because it’s very easy to get into with a negative frame, for example, “Well, what didn’t work? What did we not do?”

This rarely ends well and wastes time.

Here is the thing; driven business owners and entrepreneurs, we always like to look at the gap rather than the gain.

There’s a great book by Dr Ben Hardy and Sullivan called the Gap and the Gain. I’ve mentioned it before; you can download it here.

It is well worth looking at because Ben and Dan explain how we’re always looking for that horizon moment as entrepreneurs.

We’re moving towards what we want, but just like a horizon, it will always get further away in the distance because we’re always building and building and building. It’s really important to look at, “Well, hang on a minute,” this is the great thing about reviews, “actually, where did we start versus where are we now?”

Two of the ‘r’ questions are important around this. It’s like, “What did we achieve, and what worked well.”

I would always ask you to look at that and don’t do the “Ah, but” or “Ah, but we could have done more.”

Ask yourself, what did we achieve? Then this is where the brilliant questions come in: the 5 Whys.

Sakichi Toyoda’s 5 Why Questions

The 5 Whys was developed many years ago, in the 1930s, by Sakichi Toyoda from Toyota, who wanted to improve processes that were not working as well as they could on the shop floor.

Toyota still uses it to this day.

The 5 Whys is a process where we ask why questions.

This particular framework of questions is based on seeing what’s working and asking questions about what and why things are and are not happening.

Why questions challenge us; occasionally, people can get defensive when you ask why questions, but of course, that won’t be you because you understand the logic around why we’re asking them.

For example, let’s take one of our review questions; what did we achieve? We say, “Well, we achieved, let’s just say we achieved 50,000 in sales, 100,000 in sales,” and then we ask some questions.

We ask five why questions because this will dig down deeper into why things happen so that we get to the truth.

It is very easy to ask, “Well, why did we do that?” You get a fairly straightforward, not very detailed answer.

However, when you keep drilling down into why, that makes a huge difference because it reveals more data.

When you’re talking about what we achieved, maybe 50k wasn’t what you wanted, you wanted 100k that month, and it’d be, “Well, why did we achieve that?”

The first answer could be, well, we didn’t implement everything, or because we implemented everything on our plan, and why did we do that?

“Well, we did that because we started planning properly at the end of December last year, so we got our head in the game.”

Why did we do that?

Can you see where this goes, That you start to reveal what’s going on?

What it does for you is reveal what you’re doing well and potentially need to do more of it and where you’ve had those challenging times.

It reveals maybe where you didn’t do as well and what you could have done differently.

We’ve talked about what we achieved and what worked well, and what could be why things worked well.

Let’s look at the other two R questions, and that is around, what didn’t work as well, and what did we miss?

What did we miss? Why did we miss those things? “Well, we haven’t got enough resources. We weren’t doing enough cold outreach,” which, ironically, I will be talking about in next week’s podcast.

Why did that happen? Why did this happen? Then, you really start to drill down and say, “All right, okay,” so it could be, why did we miss certain things?

You could come back to the point that we didn’t send out enough emails, we didn’t nurture the candidate database that we have, or we didn’t get any quick wins because we weren’t emailing our current database to check in with them.

All of these questions will reveal data that will make a difference for you because what you’re doing is you’re revealing the next stage of the journey for you.

Yesterday I was chatting to one of our marketers in Superfast Circle about the 5 Why process. They are carrying out an analysis of their customer satisfaction levels as a company using the NPS process.

Some of the data it throws up is uncomfortable, which is a positive because it can be changed.

Take that emotion out of it, we’re looking at data, and data is always good because we can do something about the data.

Imagine asking yourself these why questions, what a difference that will make. Because when you look at, what didn’t work as well, and you start to challenge yourself, you will notice that as you do this, you get down to more and more detail, and it starts to reveal areas of focus that you missed and need to focus on more now.

The fourth question is, what is critical for the next quarter?

Because you have been asking questions, your next steps will be better informed.

Because sometimes, when we are talking to people, I say, “I want to do x this quarter.” We ask, “Why do you want to do that? Why, and why?”

The questions start to flow.

Several times people have said, “I don’t know why I’m doing it this quarter.”

For example, some people want a new website, and after a few questions, they realise they don’t need a brand-new website now; maybe they could be utilising what they have in a way that will work for them. Then they can get a new website later and spend their resource, both time and money, on something else.

Next Steps For You?

I encourage you to take the time as we enter the last few days of March to review the first part of the year this process and questions.

Ask the tough and uncomfortable questions, and the five whys will enable you to do that.

We help our Superfast Circle clients review their process as their virtual marketing directors; that is why they are doing so well. If you would like to explore how this can work for you, book a quick call with one of us here.

See you next time,


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