This may be hard for you to come to grips with but “marketing is a process, not an event.” It can be compared to breathing.  You can’t live very long from a single breath. It takes many breathes, one right after another. Marketing is the same. You will not attract, obtain , and keep customers with one marketing action. You keep breathing to stay alive. You keep marketing to generate leads, make the phone ring, cause people to ask for your product, visit with you, request for more information or try a test run.

To understand how to think and approach marketing for your business, it may be helpful to understand my definition of marketing: Marketing is everything you DO or SAY that your ideal customer SEES and HEARS.

Below you will find the seven essential steps that address today’s marketing and sales challenges for organizations and small businesses. I’ve developed these 7 steps for creating marketing success from working and having discussions with businesses owners and CEOs over the years.

1. Develop vision before strategy.

Vision and strategy are both important to your marketing success. But there is a priority to them. Vision always comes first. If you develop a clear vision, you will attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.

Once you get clear on what you want, the how will take care of itself.

Most leadership and business owners don’t take the time to ask, “What are my marketing goals and what is my marketing vision?” Devoting time and energy during your planning process is the most important aspect of any successful marketing implementation.

2. Focus on the customer experience.

Nothing matters more to a business than how they make customers feel. How the customer feels determines whether your business survives or sinks. The secret to every businesses growth is word-of-mouth marketing, not the marketing done in the pages of a magazine, newspaper, trade publication, on TV, or other media outlets.

Word-of-mouth is generated because you made the customer experience referable. If someone chooses to refer your product or service, I then call that a “referable experience” because that’s what we share, our experiences with a product or service. (Products includes your blog, podcast, newsletter, online radio show, and more.)

3. Become the new media company.

Today you must commit to creating content much like a publisher might. Not just any content though, you need to create content that works as marketing.

The Internet has disrupted the traditional sales process, allowing the prospective
customer or client to begin on their own terms via search and social media. This means
savvy business owners or marketing departments must adapt to the information-empowered prospect in a fashion that more resembles courting than it does selling.

The best way to produce content that works as marketing is to have it focus on the problems and desires of prospects and customers. It’s all about delivering independent value with content before you attempt to make the sale.

4. Adapt the engagement model.

I often say that, “your website is for you—one-way conversation, while your blog is for prospects—two-way conversation.” (Note: My point is not that you need a blog but that you need a way to communicate with prospects.)

The majority of today’s purchase decisions involved some amount of research online. Your business must be easily found online, easily engaged online, and easily communicated with online. This requires a focus on:

  • Content Marketing,
  • SEO and
  • Social Media participation.

The smart way to approach this is to treat content marketing, social media and search engine results as aspects of a holistic strategy necessarily centered around content.

Of course, this also means integrating your online presence and activity into every offline business function.

5. Educate to generate and close.

Don’t think of yourself as a salesperson but as a educator and partner to your prospect. This healthy mindset improves both your perspective and your chances of closing.

Realize that you have an opportunity to educate your prospects to succeed at whatever they wish to succeed at. As soon as possible, learn what it is that your prospect wishes to succeed at, and then show how what you are selling can make that success achievable.

You can educate them through:

  • workshops
  • seminars
  • webinars
  • teleseminar
  • classes
  • blogs
  • newsletters
  • infogrpahics
  • slide shares

6. Develop a selling process.

In the same way that your marketing generates leads, you need to also take that same approach when a prospect wants to learn more. Have a well thought out road map that every new lead walks, a way to develop trust and rapport, and a proven process for orienting new clients can positively influence the bottom line conversion results you experience.

7. Create a marketing calendar.

The one thing that is finite for any business is time. There is always more month than time.

So you must identify how and when you would like to launch your program to market your products and services. By creating monthly projects and themes, weekly action steps, and daily marketing appointments, you keep the focus, enthusiasm, and creativity on marketing.

Follow your marketing calendar even if it doesn’t seem to be producing results. Avoid the temptation to alter it for at least a few months. Give it time, remember process not an event.

Question: What would happen if you started to view your marketing as the process described above?