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The Zen of Marketing Success & Lead Generation Part III
By Bob Martel, JMB Marketing Group

Perhaps your company enjoys such a favorable marketing position that a marginal return on your marketing investment is acceptable. Maybe you have more leads than you can handle so if half of them become ice cold it doesn’t matter. Perhaps, more realistically though, your company depends on a steady flow of high quality prospects. Either way, some deep thinking is in order. In one scenario, you have to imagine the success you’d enjoy if you could multiply the results of your marketing efforts and convert more leads, while in the other you have to imagine the future state of your company if your marketing programs fail altogether.

You may also be frustrated by the lack of progress your marketing team is making in implementing new programs – as well as launching tried and true marketing initiatives that past results prove worthy of repeating. In this final article on the Zen of Lead Generation, I ask that you step back and look at all of your marketing efforts; your USP, your direct response campaigns and, especially, your lead follow-up system. Is your lead follow-up system timely, efficient and effective, and are your marketing, sales, and customer services efforts creating a customer for life along with the ongoing revenue stream you seek?

So, continuing with this metaphor…ask yourself this: what can a 13th Century Japanese Zen monk, poet and kokushi teach you about growing your business? As it turns out, if you’ll open your mind, Koken Shiren has some sage advice for you:

• Tend to Your Zen Garden (of Customers): Are you planting seeds that will grow and prosper or are you spraying weed killer on the ‘plants’ that are, indeed, your money plants? How does your company really treat your customers? How can you differentiate your company using customer service as a marketing tool?

• Tend to Your ‘Bonsai Plants’ – Cultivating A Healthy Customer Relationship Requires Patience and Care:

o Nurture the healthy and promising plants: I hope you do not treat every customer the same. Do you have a key account strategy? A customer win back program to reactive lost accounts?

o Uproot the diseased and dying plants: Not all customers are profitable – and you need to decide which of your high maintenance customers are worth your while. Some customers are better served by your competitors!

• Put Another Koi on the Fire: Which came first? The Koi fish taco, the Koi cocktail or the Tel Koi Bengali dish? It really doesn’t matter – they all taste great! The point is that the pretty Koi fish is a pet to some, a meal to others. It’s all a matter of perception. How do you view the Koi fish? How do your customers view your business – and your value proposition? How do you view your customers? Do you take a lifetime value approach to serving them or do you ‘throw the in the frying pan’ and simply try to maximize profits on each and every transaction? Do you have a short or long term view of the relationship?

• Join the Koi Polloi – And Listen to What They Are Trying to Tell You: Your employees have great expectations of you. When your employees believe in the value proposition of your company, and they see you making smart marketing decisions, they have confidence in their own future. Yes, I believe smart marketing also contributes to happy employees and vendors which, of course, contributes to the disposition of your customers.

• Walk The Tokaido Road – And Beware the Ronan (Leaderless Samurai): There were five famous Edo-era roads linking Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo) – The Tokaido (East Sea) Road being the most famous. After the Meiji Restoration, the Samurai found themselves out of work – and wondered aimlessly, search for meaning and purpose. What does this have to do with marketing your business? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. Isn’t that the point of Zen?

The last point I’d like to make about your marketing is that, as a Zen master would tell you – chop wood, carry water. There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." Are you leading an enlightened marketing company? Marketing your company properly requires your best thinking – and you have to roll your sleeves up and actually implement your smart ideas. Sounds obvious but trust me, as a consultant to both large and small businesses, I wish I had a nickel for every client who went to great lengths to actually avoid the hard work that effective marketing demands. Put your company’s collective heart, mind, intellect and even soul into your smallest acts. This is the secret of your marketing success.

---Source: Bob Martel is the principal consultant at JMB Marketing Group, in Sterling, MA. JMB Marketing works with business owners and principals to help them take their business where they want it to go, ultimately to help them generate all of the business they can handle. He may be contacted at (508) 481-8383, or through his web site,, where you can sign up to receive his Marketing With Ease newsletter.









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