I recently took a stroll down memory lane by reviewing the first Mind Capture book which was written over a decade ago…where did the time go!? As I flipped through many of the chapter’s several “aha moments” appeared in my mind. I was particularly struck by the last chapter in the book titled: 10 Serious Marketing Questions You Should Always be Asking. As I read each question, it dawned on me that the questions were not only still relevant, but warranted being shared again with some updated thoughts as to why they can and should serve as a guide to better marketing for anyone seeking to influence more people and build greater profits.
Instead of listing all 10 questions from the book, I narrowed down it down to a select few and here are the three key marketing questions you should always be asking.
#1. What marketing mix will we employ to build Mind Capture? It still amazes me how many businesses still do not have a written marketing plan. I’m assuming most readers of this blog don’t fall into this category, but here’s why this question should be thought about often: the marketplace changes and competition is not static either. A marketing plan containing the details of your tactics is a non-negotiable. “Hoping business gets better” like far too many small and mid-sized businesses still do is why so few of them statistically make it beyond the 5-year mark in business.
Here’s a new equation I’ve come up with that separates growing versus declining businesses:
Strong marketing + Strong mindset = Strong growth potential
The temptation is to create a marketing plan, look at it once or twice and then forget about it. After countless discussions with prospective clients, audiences, and readers of my online and offline articles, I can say without doubt that this happens a LOT! Creating a marketing plan does not insure success. It’s a huge, positive step, however, it requires consistent action and monitoring to ensure that things are getting implemented and tracked for results.
#2. Where do we visualize our business to be one, three, and five years down the road? It’s amazing that what we focus our attention upon often shows up – good or bad. If a business is worrying constantly about day-to-day issues and rarely if ever looks ahead to see what the main mission and vision is, it’s difficult to stay not only motivated but on track to keep marketing initiatives going. The temptation many businesses face, especially small, is to lose track of the bigger goals when it seems there may not be enough time to step back and do a progress report.
‘Winging it’ in the areas of marketing is a recipe for disaster and it helps explain, among other various reasons, why many businesses struggle. To treat the marketing function of a company as ‘something we’ll do when we have free time’ is dangerous and foolish.
#3. What creative ways and systems will we use to stay in contact with customers and prospects? We spend a lot of time on this blog and when I interview other authors discussing why marketing systems are extremely important to the health and well-being of every organization. Customer neglect is rampant in many businesses and each of us can easily rattle off stories of poor service or lack of follow up from people/firms we currently do business with and those we have sought ought to help us.
One of the best books that hammers home the power contained in the use of systems is Michael Gerber’s business classic The EMyth. This is THE book to read, if you only read one book on the topic of systems. Without clearly defined and monitored systems a company will eventually run into growth challenges based on tracking and follow up issues.
In the marketing component having well defined and monitored systems help to alleviate an area that few people take into consideration: human error. This is not a slam on people, but a genuine observation that a lot of people do little if any follow up with prospects after one or two initial contacts. Follow up is atrocious and many a well-intentioned business owner or salesperson, unless they have tracking systems in place, often let a fortune slip through the cracks because follow up to both prospects and current customers is almost non-existent.
Remember this simple, yet highly profitable statement: The Fortune is in the Follow Up!