It would be nice to think that there’s a secret strategy for implementing your marketing both successfully and consistently.
But the longer I’m in business (going on 35 years) the more I realize that this is a complete fantasy.
Yes, there are marketing systems and methodologies. And there are certain strategies that tend to work better than other strategies.
I should know, I’ve taught many of them over those 35 years!
But there is no perfect system for marketing success (or any kind of success, for that matter).
The reason this is true can be summed up in this wise saying:
The Map is Not the Territory.
The system, the steps, the strategies, the how-tos are not the reality.
The Territory or Reality is an infinitely complex set of variables, circumstances, actions, obstacles, and puzzles.
And even if you’ve mapped out a pretty comprehensive “10 Step Action Plan” to implement a marketing activity, the complexity and difficulty presents itself almost immediately.
Let’s say your plan is “Attention-Based Direct Outreach (ABDO)” which is all about contacting your prospective clients directly by email with the intention of getting meetings with them.
The map or plan to do this seems simple enough. And, in fact, it’s a lot simpler and more effective than many other marketing strategies.
But what are the things you’ve got to do correctly in order to succeed? Let me count the ways:
1. Target your ideal clients, and then get contact information for them.
2. Write a marketing message that appeals to their needs, wants, and interests.
3. Write an outreach email that gets attention and breaks through the clutter of other emails.
4. Get an initial qualifying phone conversation and then set up a selling conversation.
5. Send some written materials (I call this a sales letter) that explain the value of your services.
6. Conduct the selling conversation and convert the prospective client into a paying client.
Yes, sounds simple, but every single one of those action steps requires know-how, skills, and trial-and-error to carry it off successfully.
So a plan, instructions, and some training in all of those steps is just the start.
Then comes the hard part: Finding the time and energy to learn these skills and implement them in some kind of consistent action plan.
It’s no wonder that most marketing action plans never get off the ground, let alone get implemented successfully!
“Well, Robert, then what is your secret of success? You’ve obviously implemented many successful marketing plans over the years. Right?”
Yes, I have, and you might even say I have a system for success. But again, the map isn’t the territory. The words are not the reality of what I’ve actually done.
Nevertheless, I’ll share some of what I think has helped me be successful at marketing. Read between the lines.
1. I’ve studied a lot. I’ve read hundreds of books on business, marketing, selling and personal development. I never stop learning. And the times that I slow down my learning, I tend to stagnate and my results suffer.
2. I have the drive to make a difference. But I can’t tell you where that came from or even how to develop it except to empower it as a value. It means serving my clients, doing a great job, and caring about the quality of my work. And that brings fulfillment.
3. I try a lot of stuff. I tinker with things. I might write several versions of a letter, for instance. I see marketing as a machine with many moving parts, and I play around until it starts to work. And for me, this is fun, it’s play, not a chore, because it interests me and I always find it fascinating.
4. I work on my resiliency. That is, when things don’t go right, I work on bouncing back. Sometimes it’s very hard and it takes a long time to get back on track. This can be my biggest challenge and I’m subject to periods of frustration and discouragement like everyone else.
5. I get support and feedback. Over the years I’ve worked with several coaches and consultants. I’ve been in mastermind groups and done co-coaching with my colleagues. There’s nothing more powerful than a fresh perspective, even though getting feedback can be difficult.
6. I work at staying in the present. The NOW is all we have. Past and future don’t exist; they are only thoughts. For instance, when I’m writing, I’m focused on one word and sentence at a time. I try not to get ahead of myself. This is my primary spiritual practice. It keeps things both real and full of life.
7. I work on developing habits. Doing things consistently at the same time and with the same methodology really helps. For instance, a good musician practices scales every day. I do my best to write something every day and write this eZine each Monday. Again, not easy for me as I don’t feel naturally disciplined.
Well, I think seven are enough for now! Notice that none of the above are deep, dark secrets. They’re really common sense, aren’t they?
But they also have endless depth and are not easy. They can take years to develop. Progress can be incremental. And you never get perfect, you just get a little better over time.
What will you do to succeed in your marketing? It’s up to you to figure that out for yourself.
P.S. I’m starting another ABDO Program in August. Watch for my email announcement on Thursday.