Mind Over Market

Develop a Marketing Mind-Set

One simple way to develop more of a marketing mind-set is to look around you. Which signs or billboards catch your eye as you're driving around town? Which radio commercials stick in your head? Which direct-mail pieces do you throw away and which do you keep?

Pay attention to features, headlines, benefits and calls to action. Which ones work, and which ones don't? Paying attention will not only become a habit for you after a while, but it will also be a continual contributor to your ongoing marketing mind-set.

Do a competitive marketing analysis. Who is doing what type of marketing? What seems to be working in your marketplace?

Keeping both your eyes and your mind open is the first step in creating your marketing mind-set. The next step is learning how these no-nonsense techniques and methods can be used in your business. It will become habit, and habit becomes mind-set.

Your marketing mind-set is supported by your focus on customers, on their needs, and on satisfying those needs. This means getting the right products and services to the right customers in the right way at the right value, all while making a profit. Thinking about these issues all the time keeps your marketing mind-set fresh.

So many brochures, websites and salespeople talk about "what we offer," "our features," "what we do," etc. A true marketing mind-set puts you in the customer's shoes. Ask yourself: What's in it for them? How will they benefit? You must develop or shift your mind-set so it's driven by value, a customer focus and a strategic approach.

Define what business you are really in. Are you selling eyeglasses, or are you selling vision? Are you selling drill bits, or are you selling the holes? Are you selling circus tickets, or are you selling thrills?

Develop the attitude that says each and every customer's visit is important both to the customer and to you. Delighting customers is your goal. Put them first. Every day, think of several things you can do to amaze at least one customer.

Continuous learning and improvement is especially important today, with so many changes occurring in marketing. Seek the help of experts, and learn from them. Expand your mind by researching books, websites, seminars and more. Keep a journal of what you learn.

What Works . . . and What Doesn't

As important as understanding how to develop the marketing mind-set is understanding the attitudes that can sabotage your marketing mind-set. Are any of them affecting you?

1. Thinking in terms of "I make a good living" or "I'm comfortable and my numbers are fine." Complacency is your number-one enemy once competition steps in or a market turns. Not having the right marketing mind-set will leave your company in a vulnerable state and a catch-up situation. Many times, action comes too late when there is already too much to recover from.

2. Thinking in terms of "I already lead in my market." Sooner or later, the competition will get stronger. There will be a new competitor in the market, or the technology will change. Some industry factors are beyond your control. Lack of a marketing mind-set will put you at risk from those factors.

3. Thinking in terms of "I concentrate on the financials; marketing belongs to the marketing department." Marketing starts with you, the business owner. Taking on this responsibility requires the right marketing mind-set. Growth and survival cannot happen without marketing, and marketing can't happen without the proper mind-set.

4. Lacking a competitive spirit, not having a killer instinct, and not playing to win. Vince Lombardi famously said that winning isn't everything--it's the only thing. The same goes for marketing. Marketing is not a hobby: It is put in place to win customers and business, and winning customers requires a winning marketing mind-set.

Once you have developed a marketing mind-set, the following steps will help you maintain it:

  • Continue to meet people to build your network.
  • Keep track of whom you meet.
  • Constantly review, audit and evaluate your marketing activities.
  • Have a marketing plan, and use it as a living, working document to guide your marketing activities.

Marketing does not consist of mini-events that happen between orders. It's about always communicating, sharing information and solving problems, all in the spirit of giving. Developing this mind-set will ensure a constant marketing attack and a consistent approach to your markets and customers. A marketing mind-set combines motivation and passion to drive your business's vision forward.

A marketing mind-set means thinking, living and breathing marketing. Many people know what to do, but they spend too much time getting into position to get into position or too much time getting started getting started. Starting and maintaining the right mind-set ensures your success.

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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