As I work with clients over the course of a year, and speak at various association events – talking to people from all different industries – I get to learn all about the various struggles and challenges companies are facing. It’s one of the most exciting things about the type of work I do.

As I reflected on my past year I recognized a number of important lessons I learned.
Here are ten which might I thought would be helpful to you.

• The Bigger Picture of Marketing – Most companies look at marketing as the process of discovering new leads, potential prospects, and attracting new customers. This is wrong. Marketing is what happens before, during, and after the sale. Your focus should be on the longevity of the customer relationship, and not just driving them through the doors. That’s marketing.

• The Importance of Next Steps – Too many organizations leave the next step up to the consumer. Tell them exactly what to do next, how to do it, when they should do it, and why. Do this every single time.

• Unfollowed might be a more important metric – Too many people are worried about how many Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes they have. You’re better off with a 100 engaged subscribers on your email list than you are with 10,000 Facebook likes and nobody listening. Being unfollowed might actually be a more important metric if you’re becoming more focused on those who want to communicate and have a relationship with your organization.

• Work Backwards – The problem with all this talk about “big data” is nobody really know what they’re looking for in the first place! It’s as if the onslaught of customer data is going to reveal some shining light about your customers and transform your business. Instead of wandering without a flashlight, ask what results are we trying to achieve? What insights are we looking to gain? Always work backwards from the desired state.

• Invest In Your Success – I had a prospective client contact me wanting to talk. We spoke and both agreed we should meet at some point to discuss next steps. I said “how about I fly down next week?” He later told me that in all his years of business he never had someone offer to get on a plane to meet him. You need to invest in your success. You need to get very clear about the long-term value of your clients or customers.

• Go Beyond Your Products and Services – In today’s digitally interconnected there’s a major shift happening in the way people/companies do business with you. Here’s a major wake-up call. Your products and services are becoming merely a necessary by insufficient condition for your organization’s long-term success. Customers and clients are demanding more. They’re demanding a more emotionally-engaged experience. Are you prepared to meet those expectations?

• How am I better off? – Marketing based on what your products and services do is wrong. Marketing based on how my life is better from your product and services is right.

• Online Reputation Management – I get asked a lot about online reputation management. Here’s the thing. You no longer have an offline and online reputation. You have a reputation. There’s really no such thing as offline and online anymore.

• Understanding Complaints – People who complain usually want one of three things. 1) Something free 2) A simple apology 3) To be recognized, promised change is coming, and to know they were heard.  More often than not they want #3.

• Have a fantastic 2014! – I hope you’re getting  immense value from my emails and webinars. Here’s to your exponential growth over the next 12 months. And if you’re not sure how, stick with me.