Marketing can do miracles. It’s a black art that can magically generate leads…

This is how many entrepreneurs think of it. I get calls from business owners hoping for the unbelievable. Like the guy who recently wanted “…thousands of leads, instantly, using R25,000…”.

This is the stuff of fairy tales.

The marketing community is guilty of creating this impression by focusing too much on “the art” of marketing. But fundamentally marketing is not an art. It is a science using art. It boils down to doing the fundamentals right, starting with this one question: How well do you know your customer?

This single question is the golden key to all marketing success.

You’re not generating enough leads? It’s because you don’t know your customer well enough. You’re not getting access to the right people? You don’t know your customer well enough. Your sales team aren’t converting? You don’t know your customer well enough.

This is where it starts and ends. The customer.

Every profession has a key area of excellence that defines its efforts. That one focus area that, when sifted out of all of the various distractions in business, is the true driver of the overall health of each individual discipline. For the accountant it is cash management; for the HR manager it is managing staff turn-over; for the operations manager it is limiting downtime. In the same way for marketers it is the development of an intimate knowledge of the customer.

If ever you want to know what a marketing person should do in your business, understand this: they are not primarily there to tweet, to update your website, to change the logo from blue to orange or to be your secretary. Actually, they are there to represent the customer inside your business.

Know the customer. That is the secret to the magic.