Where Does Marketing Start?

Source of spring water. Where does marketing start?

Here’s something I haven’t done lately – and I am going to go out on a limb and guess you haven’t done it either: called up five to ten of my customers and asked them to tell me about the challenges they are facing these days. And then listened.

And listened some more.

And ideally, I’d call up five to ten people who I would like to have as a customer, and another five or ten that I have not been able to win as a customer (yes, I confess, it happens!)

This is different from sending out a survey, or conducting a focus group. These tools have their place, but even at their best they tend to be fraught with potential errors and biases.

It’s different from e-mail, though that may have to do in a pinch.

And it’s different, even, from using some of the great social media approaches that are now available for validating your market and “listening” to the Web.

Nothing beats good,  one-on-one, personal conversations for helping us to break down assumptions and put ourselves in the shoes of our customers or members.

That, in my opinion, is where marketing starts: at the place where no assumptions exist.

One Word to Rule Your Course Business

Chalk board A-B-C business process drawing

If you want to validate the market for your online course idea …

If you want to build an audience for selling your courses …

If you want to pick the right online platform and be confident it will be around next year …

If you want to be sure your course does not flop

If you want to do any of this successfully, there is one thing you absolutely need: a process.

There are methodical questions, concrete steps, and useful tools that course entrepreneurs can take advantage of in each of the areas above. I cover them, at least in part, at each of the links above and I encourage you to read or re-read each of these items.

But more generally, I encourage you to think about what the processes are in your business, where they need to be added, and where they might be improved.

Process is what takes most of the risk out of being an entrepreneur. It is what enables you to scale and create a truly thriving, sustainable business.

There are no guarantees, of course, that a process will lead to success, but without good processes, you are just gambling.

One word: process.

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, it’s worth putting a little thought – and action – into today.