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Why marketing matters more than production?
Imagine you are in a car speeding along the motorway with a boot full of freshly picked Spring cabbages heading for the market. All of a sudden the road vanishes. You screech to a halt and look over a precipice into the void below.

Your route to market just disappeared and with it all hope of any sales. You lost the link between you and your customers. Now your market is cut off from you and they will never get to enjoy the taste and flavour of your produce. You can go back and keep planting more and getting better and better at growing them, but without a market they'll either rot in the field or end up in the compost heap.

Think of marketing as a process rather than an activity

You can think of marketing as that motorway. Marketing isn't an action, it's a process of initiating movement. There are many definitions of marketing but I like to think of it in terms of energy. Like energy moving through water to create a wave, marketing can be thought of as a force that agitates and stimulates activity in the mind of your customer and in your own business. Like energy it has to find a medium, a vehicle or it will to be dissipated. When you give up on marketing or it gets squeezed out by other things, your business loses momentum; that energy gets dissipated.

Thinking of marketing as a process, constantly moving, reacting, precipitating, makes it a much more dynamic and exciting prospect then just an item on your 'to do' list you really should get round to, like writing an e-newsletter, or a press release or getting some postcards printed.

Marketing encompasses everything from the first spark of an idea, developing your product or service, through to researching your competitors, creating your brand or identity, setting your price, finding your market, engaging with your customers, exchanging goods or services for money then feedback, refining your offering and re-engaging with your customers.

Why you should be driving that process

You are the source of inspiration, action and follow up in marketing. To keep that momentum going you need to feed your mind with ideas. Find what is working for others and adapt the ideas for your business. Read widely, listen hard to your customers and the wider market. Get into the habit of filtering what you hear through your Marketing Filter. The Marketing Filter enables you to relate that information, idea, comment or news to your customers' aspirations or fears.

Inspiration to keep that process moving is all around us

Ideas are all around us. Log on to the internet, search on Twitter, go to events. Tune in to the world around you and you will start to notice 'areas of agitation'. This is most obvious when people all share a common interest or purpose and a buzz starts to build. This is being seen on a massive scale on the streets of Cairo this week. Change is in the air. A nation is calling for self governance. That is a huge shift in the landscape. What are your customers calling for? Where are they gathering? What are they talking about?

Make tuning in a daily habit

That listening or tuning in should become a daily habit. Back to our motorway analogy, don't just drive up and down that motorway but notice things along the way. Who else is on there, what are they driving to market? Which lane are you in? Plodding along in the slow lane doing what you've always done? Speeding down the outside with your latest offering or holding your own in the middle,

This tuning in is something that can quickly become second nature if you make it a daily habit. Being good at marketing is not just about being able to sell. Being good at marketing means being good at attracting and retaining customers who love doing business with you. To do that you have to evolve and your business has to evolve because human beings are a puzzling lot. They have a sense of humour, they love the new, the challenging and the inspiring.

They donít in the end love the status quo. They donít want to stagnate. By accepting that change is an inevitable part of the human experience you can find out how to agitate and stimulate the minds of your customers to encourage the transfer of ideas and ultimately goods.
Contributor: Juliet Fay @

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