Fundamental Marketing Truth #1: You Don’t Create Your Results. Your Customers Do.

Imagine it is two years from today, and your business has had great success over the past two years. Who created that success?

Sure, there are many things you and others in your company did to influence your success, through programs you created, actions you took and initiatives you implemented successfully.

But if you think about it, the direct driver of your success included the actions of many people outside of your company – your customers.  Customers who bought more, paid more, referred you more – to name just a few profit-inducing actions – were the direct drivers of your success.

Years ago I had a humbling – yet healthy – epiphany: I don’t create the profits in my business, my customers do.  My job is to encourage my customers to act in ways that drive my success.

Marketing, sales and branding are the activities you engage in to invite your customers to act in ways to drive your success. Never forget that the job of your marketing is not just communication, “getting the word out,” or completing the new brochure by the November 15th deadline. It is encouraging your customers to do things that help themselves and help your business.

Practical application of Fundamental Marketing Truth #1:

If you have a marketing plan, chances are that it includes much information about what your company is going to do, e.g., an advertising plan, improvements to your website, an SEO strategy, new social media programs, etc. But does it include details on what you want your customers to do?

Insert a section into your marketing plan, just after you describe your goals and objectives and well before you describe the actions you are going to take, that describes the following:

  • Which customers will best help you reach your goals
  • What you want those customers to do

When you describe your desired customer actions, don’t just write, “buy from us.” Get much more granular.  Think of all of the actions you want your customers to take, before and after a sale. By detailing those actions, you will have much more clarity about your marketing needs.

Fundamental Marketing Truth #2: Customer = Anyone Whose Actions Affect Your Results

If customer action influences your business results, we can focus on a very clear definition of a customer:

Paying customers may be your most important customers. But there are many people and/or companies who never pay you anything but still, nonetheless, affect your results.  A few thought-starters:

  • People who refer you … do they do it often, and with passion and persuasion?
  • Your vendors … do they treat you better than their other customers, making it easier for you succeed?
  • The media … do they write and/or say nice things about you?
  • Regulating bodies … do they act in ways that help you succeed, or that impede your success?

Anyone whose actions affect your results is your customer. Anyone. Are you treating them as a customer?

Practical application of Fundamental Marketing Truth #2:

Apply all of the Fundamental Marketing Truths to your marketing efforts directed at paying customers, but don’t stop there. Apply every principle of marketing, sales and branding that you practice to all types of customers, even those who never pay you anything.

Imagine how much better your vendors would treat you if they had compelling, differentiating beliefs in your brand. Imagine how much more passionately your referral sources would recommend you if they were more clear about how you could benefit their friends, colleagues or clients.  Why limit your marketing efforts only to paying customers when there are so many other people who also affect your results?

Stay tuned. In our next two issues, I will dig deeper into the remaining five Fundamental Marketing Truths.

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