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Did you ever stop to think about the fact that “marketing” is happening all the time in your business — whether you want it to be or not?  Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean…

Picture yourself walking into a restaurant for dinner with your spouse.  It’s a reasonably nice restaurant with an energetic atmosphere.  There’s plenty of activity… you might even say it’s “alive” with excitement.  You’re looking forward to a nice meal.  After a friendly greeting and a brief wait, you are shown to your table where you sit down to look over the menus.  “At any moment,” you think to yourself, “someone will come by to take our drink order and tell us about the specials.” But you wait…

You chat with your spouse and even comment on how unusual it is for you to wait this long.  10 minutes go by.  A large group at a nearby table is served their piping hot meals.  Everything smells good.  People are talking and laughing and having a good time.  Your stomach growls.  You and your spouse exchange small talk and odd looks as you wonder aloud about the service.  You consider going to find someone to ask about your server, but you don’t want to ruin the evening for your spouse…

Ever had this happen to you?  Isn’t it frustrating?  At that moment when you’ve waited for 15 minutes and even tried to get someone’s attention, what message has that restaurant sent to you?

“You’re not important.”

“We don’t care.”

The business owners reading this are probably getting antsy.  Despite our best efforts, sometimes we inadvertently treat customers poorly and send them the wrong message.  We don’t intend to do it, but it happens sometimes.

This is one example of how we are always marketing in business.  In hundreds, perhaps even thousands of small (and big) ways, our business is constantly sending a message — to our customers, future customers, referral sources, and even partners.  My point — and one that my clients and students will tell you is one that I harp on — is that if you don’t intentionally design this message and execute a strategy for communicating it, then your chances of sending an undesirable one go way, way up.

What message is your business sending?