Leadership Perspective: Cindy Marion

29,000 Days and Consistent Pursuit of the Win/Win

By Cindy Marion
Founder, MMI Agency
A Digital-First Marketing Firm Headquartered in Houston, Texas

I’ve spent my career consulting with companies large and small on how to accomplish their business goals through the use of effective marketing, advertising and public relations strategy. Most people believe marketing is taking a product or service and selling it. That definition of marketing is off target. The most effective marketers understand that true marketing is finding out what the market wants first and then providing it.

Simplistically stated, the process to building a business that maximizes the use of effective marketing involves these key steps:

  1. Assess and understand the needs of the customer.
    Start with data that spells out the current reality. What needs does the customer have that are not currently being met by your product/service? Of the services and products offered by your competitors? What is a true win for the customer?
  2. Build and offer easy access to a product or service that helps the customer win.
    Marketing success comes through building products, services and processes that when taken to market, result in a win/win for all involved. Product differentiators, pricing structure, delivery and distribution strategy should be built based on creating the win/win. Incentives, rewards and communication are all most effective when walking in the customers’ shoes and incorporating their needs fully into the picture.
  3. Collect data in the sales process to measure customer response and satisfaction.
    Analyzing data collected in the marketing process to extract actionable insights and using extracted knowledge consistently to improve successful outcomes is a win for the business. A win/win is always the goal for businesses that are successful long-term. Return to step one and repeat the three steps consistently. Win/win scenarios are ever-evolving as needs change.

Excellence in leadership involves the same steps.
My experience in managing employees has taught me that a practical way to emulate the servant leadership modeled for us in Jesus’s life on Earth is to always look first at the needs of the other guy. Much like in a successful marketing process, assessing the needs of your team and considering those needs in every decision made about how the business will run day-to-day is critical. The needs of your team are as important as the needs of your customers. Excellent leaders build processes, incentives, communication and rewards to help forward the ‘win’ for their team, the business and the customers/clients of the business.

Why focus on the win/win?
If you live to age 79 – which is the average life span of an American today – you will live on this Earth for nearly 29,000 days. That doesn’t seem like that many to me. It’s been my goal to spend as many of those days as I can focused on living a joy-filled life aimed at fulfilling the purpose for which I was created. I’ve learned through experience that a focus on service in all areas of my life has yielded the best results. Serving others is all about putting the ‘win’ of those we lead, sell to, live with and encounter day-to-day first. And the same strategy is good for business.

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