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I’ll start with something that is likely to get me in trouble with #marketingtwitter, but marketing isn’t about guesses, feelings, or purpose.

As we sit back and wait for my Twitter mentions to fill up with people telling me how wrong I am and how I “just don’t get it”. Let me explain to you what I really mean when I make the above statement.

Real marketing isn’t about guessing because it has a foundation in Market Orientation and research which helps the well-trained marketer answer the question of what a customer wants with the only correct answer: “I don’t know, but I do know how to find out.”

So how do we move from guessing to making educated decisions?

Here are a few key ideas that I remind myself almost constantly.

You most certainly aren’t your market:

One of the big challenges that many of us deal with is we take jobs with companies we admire, like, or loved before we started working for them.

This means that we’ve had an opportunity to experience the business from the outside, but as we become the people that are working with a product, service, or brand, a crazy thing happens and we lose the ability to see the business objectively.

We get too close to the business and we start to make assumptions about the business from our perspective that is no longer of someone in the market, but someone in the business.

This idea is important because the foundation of successful marketing campaigns is to put the customer at the center of the marketing efforts.

To become customer-focused, it means that you have to be willing to recognize that your opinions don’t matter and that the opinions of the customer are supreme.

The best organizations are learning organizations:

This is pretty simple really, but something that doesn’t happen in all organizations, but the best businesses are always learning, going into the market to test a product or service, getting feedback, and improving what they do.

What does this mean to us?

We begin with research to understand our market. We create a product or service that reflects the feedback we received. Then, we roll it out into the market to see what the reception is. After we have some customer feedback, we take the feedback and improve our offering.

Over and over, like spinning a wheel.

To be successful going forward, you are going to have to continue to constantly learn and use that knowledge to improve your product or service.

That learning will take the form of ethnography, focus groups, surveys, and other conversations.

Market Orientation opens the door to some cool side-effects:

The cool way to sell someone on a new way of approaching a problem is to highlight all off of the cool things that happen when you are successful.

In the case of recognizing that you aren’t your market and that you have to constantly be learning from your customers, the upside is pretty awesome.

You see, by approaching your marketing challenges from your customers’ point of view you are likely to see four really great outcomes take hold in your business:

  • Higher profits
  • Sales growth
  • Better customer retention
  • More successful new product launches

Those are four things every business is looking to achieve.

My hope is that as the pandemic works towards its conclusion, we will enter a new era of marketing where folks follow the data, follow the customer, and stop pulling things out of thin air.

Because real marketers don’t guess, they just work really hard to know their customers so it only seems like they are pulling their results from thin air.