Have you started thinking about your marketing strategy for 2016?  If not, now is the time.  As budgets and plans are put into place, they are often a copied from previous years. If you are doing this for your marketing strategy and budget, note that marketing has changed.  How prospects and clients find you, research you and buy from you has evolved.  An online strategy is no longer just for large retail businesses, but for everyone's business, including B2B.  
Entrepreneurs are the most creative and driven people I know.  I enjoy their energy and passion for the great ideas they bring to our communities and lives. They are often driven by an idea, and a belief of how to turn that idea into success.

The problem is that not all entrepreneurs are born marketers. Many are born sales people, if for no other reason than for the passion of the product or service they've created.  The problem begins to occur when the entrepreneur begins to confuse that sales is synonyms with marketing. There is a distinct difference, and believing that passion alone will drive your marketing strategy will create a self-serving misaligned strategy that is most likely not based on you customer's needs.

Marketing is an investment in your business and not something you should take lightly.  It is also something that has changed over the past ten years and continues to evolve.  How you reach customers and how they find you, research your business, and buy from you has also changed.

If your marketing practices are stagnant or nonexistent, your business will fail.  Here are the top five mistakes that I see small-to-medium sized businesses make most often.
There's just something good about Friday. Most people see it as the second best day of the week (next to Saturdays).  But, Fridays can be the best day of the week for an entrepreneur.  Monday through Thursday is reserved for working like crazy in your business, but Fridays is the day to work on your business.  For me, Monday through Thursday is spent marketing my clients' businesses, meeting with prospects, attending events and writing marketing strategies for my customers.  I reserve Friday to reenergize my business and myself.  This is when I put together marketing plans for my own business, I set goals and budgets, write blogs, engage in activities that inspire my creativity, and connect with mentors, friends and others in my field.  
In the contest between the two sides to marketing, inbound and outbound, inbound is winning. While traditional marketing efforts have been placed on obtaining customers through creativity, understanding customers' wants and needs, going out and finding the next sale, the sneaky inbound marketers are servicing customers coming to them.

There will always be a need for outbound marketing, but for any company that wants to engage with their customers and is looking to offer a unique customer experience, inbound marketing is really the only way forward.
Most businesses have a marketing component, and if they don’t they should, but what makes a marketing department successful is the quality of the marketing manager.

A great marketing manager can be the difference between success and failure, or growth and stagnation.

I've been around the marketing scene in Dallas for over 15 years and I've worked with the very talented and some who ended up in marketing due to a misaligned company reorganization. In that case, marketing is being lead by someone for whom marketing is a foreign language.

As I continue to grow my firm, I'll be searching for marketing managers who are strong tactically. They can apply marketing and business tactics to real world situations. They are super organized. They understand analytics and they have a great attitude.
I often hear from a number of professionals in the manufacturing, construction,  professional services, medical, and technology fields that social media is not for them.  If they have tried social media, they have tweeted a time or two, connected to a few people on LinkedIn, and maybe sent one message.  Through a meager attempt they have determined that it does not work.

The question I pose to them and to you is "how did you find this blog?" and "how do you now know the Marketing Eye brand?" 

I know the answer - do you?
Have you been told you should blog? Maybe you have a website with a link to a blog that sits empty.  I hear many reasons not to blog; time, dislike of writing, lack of topics and ideas, or lack of knowledge about what a blog can do for your small business.  However, there are many reasons to blog and the biggest reason of all maybe linked to your bank account.

Last night I caught a few minutes of America's Got Talent.  In the episode, two magicians do the same trick with dramatically different results.  It reminded me how often we enter the sales process with a similar 'trick' (i.e. product or service) to our competition, but our results are dramatically different, one gets the sale, the other does not.
What is Reverse Mentoring?

Traditionally when an employee enters a company, they automatically take the student role. That is where they have a higher level employee such as an executive or manager train and teach them the ropes. Everyone knows how useful it is to mentor the young employee and help them develop. What you do not know is that the reverse holds the same truth. The younger  colleague can do a lot more to help you than you might believe.

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