How to Build Your Marketing Muscle

Exercise Your Marketing Muscle with Engagement single silver free weightI exercise almost every day. Please don’t hate me.

People often wonder how I pull that off. Here’s how I make it work:

  • My repertoire is simple. My go-to exercise routine includes elliptical trainer rides, power walks and hot yoga classes. Occasionally I spice things up with a vigorous hike or bike ride, but 98 percent of the time my workout is one of my triumvirate.
  • I do what I like. Yes, I know I would benefit from more cross training. But I love the mindfulness of hot yoga, I enjoy being outside for power walks and I get to watch TV while on the elliptical trainer. M*A*S*H* reruns never get old for me.
  • Systems make it easy. I can sign up online for hot yoga up to a half an hour before class. I keep my iPod charged and ready to go for power walks. And the elliptical trainer is IN MY BASEMENT. No commute.
  • I show up. I mark yoga classes on my calendar and go as I would keep any appointment. Walks and elliptical trainer workouts go on my to-do list at the beginning of the day.

When I wake up in the morning, it’s not a question of IF I will exercise. It’s which exercise I will choose. I don’t rethink my decision.

Over time I’ve gotten stronger, increased my flexibility, built my stamina and improved my balance.

Like the benefits of exercise, your marketing strength and effectiveness come not from one-time mega efforts but from small daily activities that accumulate brand awareness and trust over time.

Set Yourself Up for Marketing Success

When you think of marketing, the strong temptation is to go for big hits like advertising or some other blanket-the-audience measure. It’s easy to feel like quantity reach is the goal.

But quality counts too. Keeping your brand top-of-mind and relevant happens in one-on-one interactions more often than you think.

The same four guidelines that support exercise routine success lay the groundwork for good marketing practices.

Choose a simple repertoire of marketing that works for your brand by defining your audience well and then selecting the media and tactics that reach them.

Filter the list of marketing tactics that reach your audience to play to your strengths. Catalog your preferred modes of interaction and social media habits, and those of your employees. If you enjoy one-on-one interactions more than working a tradeshow floor, include more of the former. If you are already on Facebook and much of your audience is there, choose Facebook as one of your social media.

Set up systems to make your marketing easy.  Scheduling appointments on your calendar, setting reminder tasks, creating templates and bookmarking webpages smooth the way for you to market your brand regularly.

Show up every day and engage your audience in some manner.

I cannot emphasize this enough: show up and engage your audience every day.

Your Marketing Muscle Comes from Your Relationships

In the end what builds brands and grows revenue is relationships. People don’t buy from brands, they buy from people.

Understanding your audience and connecting with them regularly is the most important thing you can do to bolster your marketing. Here are 10 things to choose from for your daily marketing efforts:

  1. Meet a customer or prospect or vendor or new connection for coffee.
  2. Listen to or take a shift on your customer service line.
  3. Handwrite a thank you note to a customer or vendor or someone who helped you.
  4. Call a customer or connection just to check in. Email is good too, but phone calls stand out more in today’s screen-driven world.
  5. Visit a retailer to see your how your product is displayed and to observe shoppers as they consider it.
  6. Ask your retail partners their observations of how your product is selling and what you could do to improve it.
  7. Respond to an online review.
  8. Engage on social media by commenting on a post or an update or by posting something yourself.
  9. Send a birthday card to a business connection.
  10. Congratulate someone in your audience on an accomplishment. Checking social media and/or setting up Google alerts on key contacts can highlight these occasions for you.

Every one of these 10 marketing efforts costs little, delivers a personal experience, and builds your brand in the mind of the person you engage. Many of them help you learn more about your audience and how they perceive your brand.

Marketing Muscles Strengthen Via Frequent Use

Though you may only engage one person at a time in these interactions, like a slow but continuous drip to a bucket, your efforts will accumulate. They will ultimately result in significant brand building and marketing impact.

And like exercising regularly, you’ll begin to see your marketing muscle emerge after a few weeks of daily use.

Over time, you’ll likely see tangible evidence of business that came from your efforts. The customer who received your birthday card and decided that day to reorder. The gratitude from your congratulations call that turns into a “hey, while I have you on the phone…”.

Like exercise or any habit, marketing daily gets easier once you get used to it. To set yourself up for success plan your marketing activities in advance so that all you have to do on any given day is show up.

Speaking of showing up, I have a date with my elliptical trainer now.

If you liked this post you’ll love the next one. Click here to have future posts sent to your inbox and to receive my free guide “The 10 Best Strategies to Differentiate Your Brand.”

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Big Brand Blunders OR Equifax, A Hate Story

Image of Jerry Seinfeld by slgckgc CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Image of Jerry Seinfeld by slgckgc CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Can you imagine Jerry Seinfeld not being funny? Or Amy Schumer? Or Chris Rock?

If you attended a stand-up performance and they were performing with a cold, you could excuse them for not being healthy. The show must go on.

If their outfit did not appeal to you, you could reason that style might not be their forté or that you have different tastes.

But if they weren’t funny? That wouldn’t fly. They are comedians. read more

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Zig When Your Competitors Zag

Two bags of The Haven granola part of Brand Strategy Subcategory lessonAbout eight years ago I went from striving to finish a 32-ounce tub of yogurt before it went bad (usually over three or four weeks) to consuming a tub a week.

Two events led to this change.

First, my husband Dan and I began taking annual summer trips to The Berkshires. On our first trip we discovered The Haven Bakery & Café and their fabulous granola. I had it with yogurt for breakfast there.

It was love at first bite. read more

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Why Comcast Makes Us Crazy

"This call may be monitored or recored or ignored or ridiculed or forgotten or mocked or played at our office parties for laughs." - Glasbergen cartoonDuring the latter half of July my husband Dan and I took a 10-day vacation to Scotland with friends. Lots of golf for Dan, lots of sightseeing for me.

It was a wonderful break and I came back with that relaxed vacation feeling that gives you a new perspective on your daily routine.

Shortly before 11 a.m. on Thursday August 3rd I was back in my office and noticed that the Wi-Fi had suddenly gone offline. No big deal, especially in my relaxed state. read more

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Airbnb’s Wild Ride

Airbnb billboard saying "We imagine a world where can belong anywhere." brand in adolescence positioning

Image source:

From the moment my eighth grade French teacher informed me that you could study abroad in college I knew I was going to France.

Six years later I spent the summer preceding my junior year at a program in Avignon and the fall semester in Paris. I traveled for the two months in between. read more

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For Better Marketing, Channel Your Inner Three-Year-Old

Olympic Rings Donut Formation, For Better Marketing Channel Your Inner Three Year Old

Image Source: The Huffington Post

In the summer of 1991, when the unemployment rate in Boston hit 8.4 percent, I had the unfortunate need to find a job.

I was transitioning from a full-time MBA student at Boston College to part-time. I was temping during the day to pay the bills. Two nights each week I attended a three-hour summer class.

I read the want ads religiously. Veryfine Products ran an ad for a marketing research analyst in Brandweek, a marketing trade magazine, and I enthusiastically applied. read more

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Why Your Brand Needs a Niche

Find Your Brand Niche Sweet SpotIf you wanted to buy a book online, where would you shop?

If you wanted to buy organic foods, where would you go?

If you wanted to see how your baseball team fared at its most recent game, where would you look?

Raise your hand if you answered Amazon, Whole Foods or ESPN. read more

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L.L. Bean Gets the Boot

LL Bean Original Rainboot a symbol of brand consistency

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When a fashion-conscious teenager opts for a 104-year-old product, there must be something special about it. So when my 16-year-old daughter Fiona chose L.L. Bean rainboots, I had to ask her what the appeal was.

To Fiona’s credit and my relief, she did not say “I don’t know.” (Parents of teenagers will understand my relief.) read more

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4 Undeniable Truths About Your Brand

Woman mannequin with sun glasses and speech bubble above her head talking to male mannequin who has no face telling him the truth about his brandDo you know how brand images are formed?

Come behind the scenes to my kitchen project and take a look.

I was seeking a tile contractor to install a new backsplash in my kitchen.  My aim was to get three bids. I got a list of names from two tile retail stores and contacted seven contractors. read more

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10 Brand Storytelling Lessons from Bruce Springsteen

Book cover image to Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run

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When I read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run in January, I learned that he and I have a few things in common.

  • Both of us like the smell of coffee but not the taste.
  • Neither of us can read sheet music.
  • Both of us grew up in New Jersey (okay I knew that), in a family with two girls and one boy.
  • Both of us learned our craft on the job.

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