Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marketing is a Process, Not a Project

Smart businesspeople understand that they must build and maintain long-term relationships with profitable customers. This starts when they invite their prospects to purchase their superior products and services and ends when they become loyal customers.

In order to achieve this goal you’ll need more than passion and technical knowledge. You’ll also need to learn ways to manage two primary business activities...

projects and processes – and understand the differences between the two.

Projects are distinctive, temporary and have a beginning, middle and end. For example, building your website is a project. It starts with an idea - you get designs, someone builds it, you place in on a server and launch it on the Internet. Once the site is up, the “project” is over. Conversely, processes are your businesses’ ongoing activities. So while you’ve completed a project by getting your site up and running, you now need to develop a process for updating and maintaining it for as long as your online business exists. This also applies to marketing in a more general way. Building a marketing strategy may be a project, implementing that strategy is the process. While each contains actionable tasks, projects are finite and processes can be duplicated and used over and over again.

How is this relevant to developing your business?

Simple. If you acknowledge the difference and manage the two successfully, it will make many of the challenges you face seem less daunting. As I’ve said before, marketing is about building lasting relationships with loyal customers. It involves a commitment to serve – before, during and after a sale. It’s a process, not a project – one that requires a long-term perspective. It’s not one transaction. It’s not one order. It’s not one anything… Rather, it’s accepting the benefits of ongoing connections and doing whatever it takes to grow and nourish them. Like a good marriage, it begins with a sincere desire to please two people – your and your spouse – and continues with a constant commitment to make that happen. So while the wedding itself is a project, the marriage is a continual process – one that must be “fed and watered” every day. If not, it usually fails. In a more specific way, your marketing communications is a process.

Consider this… Most experts agree that it takes a between 9 and 27 marketing messages before a consumer moves from a prospect to a customer. Although estimates vary widely one thing is sure – it’s more than one.


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