For many companies, marketing seems like the department of magic.  CEOs understand the concept of sales, and there is little confusion about operations or finance. But marketing remains an enigma. When it works, everyone is excited. The business grows mystically. When it fails, few can explain. Money was spent and no one responded. It's little surprise that Chief Marketing Officers have an average tenure of just a few years. If you don't know what they do, it's hard to justify keeping them, and easy to blame them for what went wrong.

The first challenge is to find a clear definition for marketing. The dictionary claims: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. Ironically, it's not much different than selling: to influence or induce to make a purchase. It's no wonder there is much confusion, particularly in small and midsize companies where sales and marketing are likely done by the same people.So here is a better definition of marketing as it relates to sales: Marketing provides tools to make the sales process scalable.

One sales person can easily sell a product to a few customers without the need for websites, social media, advertising or even a business card. But if you want to grow big, you need to figure out how to get exponential sales without relying on people for everything. Great marketing requires understanding of the many tools that are out there and the knowledge and skill to use them well. Only then can you see consistent ROI on your marketing dollar. Still seem like magic? Well here are 3 tips that work regardless of the tool. Master them and you'll be as powerful as Harry Potter or Kim Kardashian.

1. Be Compelling

Marketing is largely communication. But so much of the content being pushed is meaningless. It uses irrelevant messaging gathered from industry tomes. You want your messaging to attract customers to buy and at a premium price. To be truly compelling you need these three components:

  • Empathy--You must connect with your potential customers in a way that is meaningful to them. Identify their pain that most needs to be resolved if you want them to notice you.
  • Objectivity--Don't try and push your wares on the customers right out of the gate. Once the customer realizes you are smart enough to understand their needs you should draw them in with objective solutions.  Suggest a perfect resolution to their pain so they'll agree and yearn for more of what you have to say.
  • Differentiation--Everybody touts great customer service or experience even when they can't deliver. Promote true differentiation by offering something your competitors can't do or won't do without great effort or expense. Otherwise you're just the same as the pack or, worse, a liar.

2. Be Intentional

Many in marketing use the spray and pray model where they throw a bunch of stuff out there and hope it pays off. If you want ROI you need to be specific with your intent and your resources. Emphasize these 3 priorities.

  • Forethought--Good marketing takes time to plan. Very little happens by accident. Do your homework. Analyze patterns, behaviors and objections in advance to open a successful sales path with your prospects.
  • Efficiency--Few companies have unlimited resources. Each program you consider must generate more impact then the resources required to launch it. Look for ways each tool can save time and money on a per sale basis and then measure, measure, measure to insure efficacy.
  • Integration--The biggest failure for most marketing programs is that they are stand-alone. Marketing is never about one thing. It's a complex structure of integrated tools and events designed to move a customer to action. Spend time figuring out how to gain exponential benefit by making your programs consistent and relatable.

3. Be Memorable

The only thing worse than boring marketing is invisible marketing. Great marketing needs to grab your customers' attention, hold it all the way through the sales process, and leave them wanting to come back and send their friends as well. Here are three components required to last in the minds of thousands:

  • Creativity--Don't take the easy way when it comes to creating marketing programs or materials. Find ways to use innovative, original thought that adds pleasure and meaning to an experience. Combine creative mediums like video and art for resonant emotional outcomes. And for heaven's sake, have fun with the process.  If it feels like work to you, it will come off as labored to the customers.
  • Intensity--Great marketing creates an emotional and mental quality of force or impact. Your communication needs to be extremely powerful to break through the noise of the millions of messages bombarding your customers every day.
  • Revelation  - To truly be memorable you have to deliver an AHA! moment. You must trigger the brain to think differently. Your customer needs to intimately understand and see the value of the information you are providing. You might use humor, beauty or trauma, but somehow you must create a lasting imprint in the brain or your time and money were wasted.

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