On the one hand marketing is very practical. A website, social media, brochure, business card, logo, events…packaging. Can any business do without this? Does anyone doubt this part of marketing?

But this is where the certainty stops, and doubt begins:
Does marketing boost my sales? I don’t know.
How much should I spend on marketing? I don’t know.
What should I say in my marketing? I don’t know.

Fascinating, really. Every business owner knows he needs to do marketing, but most have doubts about it and few do it properly. Most business owners are in marketing no man’s land.

It’s a bit like eating healthily. Everyone knows they must do it and most people know what this means: eat less sugar, carbs and fat and more natural unprocessed foods. And yet, almost everyone is a little overweight. If you really want to see results from your diet, you need to show a level of commitment that goes beyond the occasional healthy sandwich. It is the same with marketing.

To be clear, it isn’t about making “marketing” so much more important. Marketing is just the name of a business subject. What it is really about is the customer. Your business needs to be customer focused – or customer centric, to use the fancy word – in order for your marketing to succeed.

I recently had a business owner ask me to help his company improve its marketing. I asked him when last he visited a customer just to have a chat? His answer was never.

The start of marketing is not your website or Facebook page. It is the customer. It starts with ongoing conversations with them.

The best marketing advice I have for business owners: get out of the office, and have a coffee with your customer.