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As impossible as it may seem, we are only a few short months away from the start of 2020. There is still a lot to be done in 2019, but when it comes to marketing your business, investing some time to look ahead to see how you can prepare yourself and your business for what is to come can do a lot for you in the long run. During the month of August, I will focus on how you can position yourself and your business for marketing success in the coming year.

Last week, I started my look ahead to 2020 by analyzing some marketing trends I believe will impact how small- and medium-sized businesses must promote themselves. This week, I continue my look ahead to the rapidly-coming new year by focusing on systems. 

What about systems? Specifically, why you should think of marketing your business as a system and the benefits it will have on your entire business. Look for the embedded video below in which I speak to how you can begin to develop a system of marketing. 

First, what is a system? 

A system, as defined by Mirriam-Webster, is a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole. I like to think of marketing as a system for three reasons:

  1. Successful marketing is an act that you participate in a regular and consistent basis
  2. Successful marketing factors in different items such as your organizational goals, resources, target audience, competition, different marketing channels, and more
  3. Successful marketing takes all of the items above into a unified SYSTEM in which all of those factors  interact with one another to inform you on how you should promote your business. 

In short, a system of marketing takes you away from short-term, ineffective, and inefficient marketing tactics to a long-term, effective, and efficient process that is based off of a strategy designed to scale your business while giving you back time

Now that you know what a system of marketing is and why I believe it is the best mindset to have when it comes to marketing, let’s take a look at some specific ways developing a system of marketing will help your marketing efforts and your overall business.

A system…

…Aligns All Your Business Activities

One of the first steps you take when developing your system of marketing is to look at what  you actually want the end result to be. The obvious answer is “more clients,” but you have to dig a little deeper than that. 

What type of clients are you looking for? Is there a service or product that you really want to focus on? 

Your marketing goals should align with your organizational goals. When this happens, then you position your business for growth because all of your marketing efforts are working effectively and efficiently towards scaling your business in the way you have envisioned. 

…Integrates All Your Marketing Efforts

A frustration I see in many of  my clients when they first come to me is the amount of different marketing tactics they have tried, but failed. Most business owners I speak to have tried some combination of a website, email marketing, social media, networking, text messaging, paid advertising, or print, but they haven’t returned the wanted results. 

The mistake they make is in treating each of these marketing tactics as silos that operate independent from one another. So, when they go to a networking event, they get a stack of business cards but they do not add them to their CRM and follow up with a drip campaign. Or they send email but don’t direct traffic to their social media or website. Or they post on social media without a mechanism to collect email addresses. 

A system of marketing takes into account all of the potential ways you have to promote your business and looks to connect them so they are not operating in silos, but feeding and cooperating with one another in an automated fashion to help promote your business while you are busy operating it. 

…Puts Everyone On Your Team On the Same Page

Successful marketing is a team effort. Another mistake many business owners make when promoting their business is not letting their staff know what they are trying to accomplish with their marketing efforts. 

Your staff, particularly the ones with direct contact with your potential and current customers, should know what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing efforts. 

Part of developing a system of marketing is letting your team know what you are trying to accomplish and defining their role in meeting your marketing goals. Increase employee buy-in by sharing the importance of collecting email addresses, or having people follow your business on social media, or leaving a review. If your staff feels like the work they are doing is important and that they are part of a team working towards a larger goal, the more likely they will be to follow your vision, give max effort, and provide valuable feedback.

… Allows You To Better Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts

I like to say “When it comes to marketing, no one bats 1.000.” This baseball reference means that no one is perfect. To be successful in marketing, you must be able to evaluate the work you have done so you can understand what worked well and where you failed. 

A system of marketing requires you to set goals, so you are able to measure your progress over a given period of time. You are able to see where you have fallen short of your goals, which allows you to take corrective action so you are more likely to achieve your goals in the future. Conversely, you are able to see where you succeeded and how those successes match your goals, which may offer insight on how you can continue to achieve success moving forward. 

Developing a system of marketing takes time, which is why I am speaking about its importance in August in relation to preparing for marketing success in the coming year. You want to be able to prepare yourself to hit the ground running when it comes to promoting your business in the new year. If you use the last five months of the year to think about how you want your system of marketing to operate, then you should have plenty of time to setup and implement one so you can go into the new year will momentum and direction.