Mind Over Market

Over 20 years ago, Jay Conrad Levinson changed the way entrepreneurs thought about marketing with his book, Guerrilla Marketing. Now, he shows you how to master guerrilla marketing for the 21st century.

Editor's Note: Looking for our online exclusive? Click here for even more guerrilla marketing techniques from Al Lautenslager.

Have you ever wondered why you don't have all the clients or customers you need? Many times it's because you can't decide where to begin marketing, you aren't sure how to put the pieces together, or you can't stay motivated and focused. You are capable of doing many of the things required for effective marketing, but the real question is, will you?

If you're making a list of the top three things that would make your business a success today, marketing should be at the top of the list. Pure and simple, if people don't know about you, your products or your services, they can't buy from you.

The answer to today's marketing and sales challenges starts with developing the guerrilla marketing mind-set. A marketing mind-set starts with you--not the company, not the marketplace and not the customers. Your goal is to be market-ready. Tell yourself that. Convey it to the world!

In the spirit of guerrilla marketing, marketing is everything you do or say that your prospects and customers see and hear from you. This includes everyone you meet, every vendor contact, every sign, every point of contact and every communication. A guerrilla marketing mind-set requires thinking about all this all the time.

The marketing mind-set is dedicated to the idea that each person and every activity in a company or organization should be focused daily on the following question: How am I building awareness with my prospects and clients through our marketing? While all employees know what their jobs are, they might not be able to answer this question about their marketing mind-set.

The mind-set starts with you. Running a business is more than manufacturing products or delivering cost-effective services. Nothing happens until something gets sold. But you can't sell a product or service no one knows about. Thinking like a marketer all the time ensures that this never happens

A marketing mind-set isn't just thinking about your brochures, signs, messages or packaging. It is the way you think about how all these activities and other things work together to achieve your marketing goals. It is about tying all your activity to the mission statement of your company or organization. It is about understanding your target market--who will buy from you, and why? It is the measurement of your plan, and it is about relationships with customers and prospects.

Change Your Attitude

Whether it's guerrilla marketing, business or life in general, everyone is guided by a certain set of beliefs. One of those beliefs is that you can find a way to achieve something, get something you want or need, or move from point A to point B according to your desire or plan. Without that belief, you're bobbing on an inner tube in the ocean of life, just waiting for whatever happens to happen, going wherever the tide takes you.

Your beliefs are closely related to your attitudes, to what you say and to what you do. Your attitudes shape where you want to go. For beliefs and attitudes to guide you, you must first start with your mind-set.

Are you born with a mind-set? The answer is no. A mind-set is a reflection of your beliefs and attitudes, a conditioning. The good news is that a mind-set can be learned and developed. So can marketing skills. The first step in acquiring the skills is to develop a sensible attitude toward marketing-an attitude based on your beliefs, because what we believe determines how we behave.

Think about your marketing in the same way you think about paying your bills. You pay them routinely every month without giving them much thought. Your marketing can be compared to your breathing. You can't live very long on just a single breath. It takes many breaths, one right after another. Marketing works the same way: You won't attract new customers or new business with just one marketing initiative. You keep breathing to stay alive; you continue marketing to make more trips to the bank.

A positive attitude helps build enthusiasm and motivates you to create the time to develop new skills and set realistic marketing expectations. Your guerrilla marketing attitude combines optimism with energy so that marketing tasks are handled with enthusiasm and passion.

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The late Jay Conrad Levinson is the Father of Guerrilla Marketing. His books have sold more than 21 million copies worldwide, appear in 62 languages, and have become the most powerful brand in the history of marketing. He was the chairman of Guerrilla Marketing International. Learn more at gmarketing.com.

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This article was originally published in the March 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mind Over Market.

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