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Posted on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 5:30 a.m.

Everything is marketing, and everyone on your team is a company representative

By Carrie Hensel

Last week I was talking with a friend in Wisconsin about how she markets her successful small company. While she talked about the variety of tactics she planned to use in 2011, she had an insightful realization.

“I’ve heard people say a thousand times ‘marketing is everything.’ It’s the life blood of your business,” she said. “But really, everything is marketing. It’s not just my online ads or monthly email blast to my customers — it’s everything my company does.”

She continued, “In fact, if you’re in a committed relationship, you understand the meaning of marketing. You know how to attract a partner (or customer), and you know what it takes to stay in that relationship and keep each other content.”

My friend is right. Marketing is about customer relationships — not just initiating them but sustaining them. And like all relationships, every little thing you do and say matters.

As we approach the end of January, most companies are one month in to implementing this year’s marketing plan. They’ve determined their marketing, communications and advertising initiatives, and they’ve allotted money to be spent on each of these items. They’ve assigned someone to implement each step in the plan, and it’s likely that those implementing the plan have job titles like “marketing director” or “communications coordinator.”

But marketing is not just the responsibility of the people in your marketing department or the agency you hired to help with your next advertising campaign. Marketing is everyone’s responsibility. Every person in your organization is a representation of the company, and everyone impacts customer relationships. Marketing is…

  • The way your team members answer the phone.
  • The way your office or manufacturing area looks.
  • Each invoice you send.
  • Every email that leaves your office.
  • Your parking lot (and your un-shoveled sidewalk).
  • The way your president behaves while she’s out to dinner at a local establishment.
  • The frustration someone feels when they can’t find your contact information on your website.
  • The efficiency and kindness employed when a customer calls with a question or complaint.

All of the seemingly small things you do may increase or decrease the likelihood of someone purchasing your product or service for the first time or the 20th time. Your response to a Facebook posting could make the difference in someone’s decision to recommend you to a friend. Marketing is truly all-pervasive and a long term relationship. It’s in everyone’s job description, and it’s the sum of all parts.

Carrie Hensel is co-founder and CEO of Inner Circle Media and co-founder of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw. She writes this monthly column with other members of the WXW board of directors.