Have you ever noticed how some businesses just seem to keep going from strength to strength while others seem to struggle along just hanging in there? What is it that really makes the difference?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself over the last several years and believe me I’ve researched and read a lot on the subject. I’ve looked at people running successful companies and I’ve seen those that just don’t seem to make it, no matter what they do, and I’ve spent many a long night pacing the floor pondering on what makes these two individuals different. Both are intelligent, both are integrally involved in their industry, both have vision and are committed to the cause. So what is it that really matters, that makes the intangible difference that’s so hard to put ones finger on?
I’ve come full circle and realized it’s marketing attitude – the way they look at the market they’re in. Not theoretical marketing as defined in the text books. Not attitude as described by motivational speakers. But, real value added marketing attitude.
Those that are successful in life have a marketing attitude that focuses on what they do right, what they’re great at that matters to their customers and how they can add more value to more people more often.
You see marketing is not about doing one thing 100% better, it’s about doing everything 1% better – every day! It’s about getting the basics right, and then telling everyone about it. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. They rush out and spend a lot of money telling people about themselves before they’ve got the basics right.
Internal marketing (company culture development, communication, responsibilities and accountability) needs to precede external marketing (advertising, PR, direct marketing etc). If your internal marketing is weak your sustainability is questionable. How can you offer your customers consistency, at any level, if you have a dysfunctional corporate culture?
The issue is how do you get a motivated, value added and energetic corporate culture (because without that your days are numbered)? I’m afraid to say it starts at the top! The culture of an organisation cannot be bought in, borrowed, delegated or wished for. It comes down to walking the talk, consistently, at a senior level. The cultural example starts at the top and filters down – like a river it cannot flow upwards!
The companies that continue to go from strength to strength have values that can be felt when you walk through the door, values you can see when you watch staff interaction and values based on respect, personal growth, continuous improvement, enjoyment and commitment to excellence. And, it’s not lip service. The example is set from the top and it is walked, talked and reinforced every minute of every day – no excuses.
It’s easy to say what you should have, but how do you change a corporate culture?
I’ve learnt over the years that the simpler the answers the higher the success rate so I’ll keep to “as simple as A, B, C”:
A: Attitude to marketing is the critical first step. Determine what qualities or values you want entrenched within your organisation or within your brand.
B: Behaviour follows straight afterwards. Be clear on what constitutes acceptable behaviour under each of the qualities/values and reward positive behaviour exhibited by your people.
C: Consistency completes the trio. Ensure your behaviour consistently mirrors the descriptions, and expect nothing less of your staff.
Once you start it gets easier as each day passes. You just need to check your own behaviour and within a sort space of time everyone else will start dancing to the same music!
In closing, Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up after every failure.”
If you don’t get it right the first time, try, try again, perseverance is a wonderful gift!