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Keep track of your Marketing

Marketing is like climbing up on an escalator going down. You have to constantly keep going and you need to walk faster than the motor of the escalator so that slowly, but surely, you are actually taking another step towards the top. If you stand still, you'll inexorably go back downwards again - and it's a process that never ends during your company's life cycle. My suggestion is that you quickly accept this idea. Today we'll take out the devil's horns.

Every time I turn on my cell phone, a text message pops up. It says:”Be prepared for change.”It's the most important reminder I get every day. The all-powerful market is restive and moody. All of a sudden, you have a competitor with a hyped product that gets all the attention or you wake up one day and your product has become obsolete - and you just don't get it. Do you know what your competitors are planning and doing right now? If they consider you a threat you can be sure that they're looking for ways to remove you - right now.

Eight things you should do to speed up the escalator:

• Listen actively to what customers are saying rather than just hoping for the best and trusting that your best customers will continue on being so, so increases your speed.

• Being alert to what could happen in your industry and what happens to them you are dependent on, your stakeholders, will keep you on your toes. Be aware of your surroundings too. Read trade magazines and visit your competitors' websites continuously.

• Stay close to your competition - collaborate in some way if you can, but if you can't - make sure you know everything about what the competition is doing. Cut out their ads, read their material, visit them at fairs, order press coverage on them. In short - keep track of them.

• Make sure you account for changes rather than being forced to react to them. To always try to keep striving to stay ahead of competitors and customers is to start running instead of trotting on the escalator.

• Being prepared for change also means that you cut down on your dependency on suppliers as much as possible. They shouldn't be able to impose on you as you impose on them. Keep your eyes open for new suppliers. Always look for a better deal.

• Immediately establish a plan that makes you prepared for changes concerning your most sensitive point - you know your weakness. This plan will make you prepared for what you're doing and it creates action. If a product appears that your retailers like more, if your supplier raises their prices or change things, what will you do then?

• Think - and think hard about what you can offer customers that your competitors can't offer. What can you offer now and in the future? What can you produce that shocks your customers and your competitors?

• Remember that it's you who should sit at the control levers and just by reading these ideas won't help - you have to do things well.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.