Some business owners just don't get it. Build it and they will come? That's not the case with most businesses; it just doesn't happen that way. The solution? Market and they will come. When business owners don't think with this mindset, they're doomed for failure.
Call it an attitude or call it a way of life. I like to think of it as a habit-a marketing habit-that you must have to be successful in your business. Just like any other habit, practice makes perfect. I've recommended to many of my marketing clients that they do three to five marketing things each day. After about two or three weeks of doing this, it becomes a habit. We become conditioned. It's sort of like going to the gym or needing that nap on weekends. After doing it for awhile, it becomes routine; it becomes a habit. You want your marketing to be the same. You want marketing to become a habit.
Here are four factors that contribute to a poor marketing mindset. Every business owner must overcome them to become successful:
- Thinking in terms of "I make a good living" or "I'm comfortable, and my numbers are fine." Complacency can be a killer once competition steps in or a market turns. Not having the right marketing mindset will leave the company in a vulnerable state. Many times, this can be too late and too much to recover from.
- Thinking in terms of "I already lead in my market." Sooner or later, the competition will get stronger. There will be a new entrant to the market or the technology will change. Some industry factors are beyond your control. When you lack a marketing mindset, you allow those factors to take over.
- Thinking in terms of "I concentrate on the financials. Marketing belongs to the marketing department." As an entrepreneur, you can't afford to neglect this responsibility. Growth and survival cannot happen without marketing, and marketing can't happen without the mindset.
- Lacking a killer instinct or a competitive spirit; not playing to win. Vince Lombardi stated that winning isn't everything; it's the only thing. The same goes for marketing. Marketing isn't a hobby; it's in place to win customers and win business. Winning customers requires a winning marketing mindset.
Sometimes you need help in developing this mindset. I recommend you consult other successful business owners who've used marketing as a lever point. You can also contact other marketing companies that have helped businesses kick-start their marketing efforts. Read as many success stories as you can to understand how marketing helped those businesses succeed. The more positive stories you read, the more you'll think about how they apply to your business. You'll also see how important it is to think about marketing in the right way, all the time, and how this important business habit will lead you to business success.
Having the right marketing mindset is the perfect starting point for the marketing planning process. Kicking your marketing into high gear will put you on the path to more customers and higher profits. Try just a few things regularly and see what happens to your marketing mindset.
Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant and direct-mail promotion specialist. He's also the principle of Market For Profits, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm. His two latest books, Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and The Ultimate Guide to Direct Marketing are available at www.entrepreneurpress.com.