The 26 foundations of a successful marketing system

Have you ever wondered how the “rare few” entrepreneurs manage to turn their business into a money machine that consistently produces profitable marketing results, while thousands of businesses offering similar products and services struggle and flounder?

The secret to their success is a jigsaw of marketing elements that work together to take much of the “hit and miss” out of marketing.

It all starts by putting in place the foundations of a successful marketing system. Any one of these foundations can multiply your sales by a factor of 3-10. But when you start combining them, their impact is awesome.

Most of these foundations are simple, obvious and common sense. And they cost little or nothing to put in place But knowing them doesn’t count. You only get the right results once you put these foundations to work in your business.

You need to appreciate that marketing strategies rarely work in isolation. They only start to produce good results once you’ve built the right foundations.

The more compellingly you weave these foundations into everything you do, everything you say, and everything your team says and does, the greater your competitive advantage … And the more your product or service is worth in the marketplace.

It’s not hard to build these foundations, yet fewer than one business in a thousand ever puts these them in place or gets these basics right. If you don’t put these foundations in place your customers and prospects won’t fully understand, appreciate or get excited about the value of your products or services or why they should buy from you.

The sooner you put these foundations in place the sooner you’ll outsell, outsmart and outperform your toughest competition.

1. Win more customers by asking the right questions

The most careless approach to building your business is to decide what your marketplace really wants or needs without first talking to them about it. You owe it both to them and to yourself, because what you think is important to your prospects and customers may in fact be totally unimportant. What you could ignore may actually be all-important. Doing this research will allow you to focus on the key issues behind your customer’s buying decisions and true needs. The moment you understand what they really want, need and expect and what they’re drawn to and repelled by, you’ll become so much better connected to them. You’re able to be more persuasive because you’ll be in alignment with what your customers are really looking for. And if you do this right, don’t be at all surprised if a lot of your competitor’s customers start flocking to you in the process.

2. 4 things you must do to set your business apart

Your USP or “unique selling proposition,” is a single sentence or a paragraph that focuses on the specific areas in which your product or service excels or is unique and should convey the essence of your business in a compelling manner that sets you apart from your competition. To be effective it must attract attention to your business, set you apart from your competition, fill a perceived gap in the marketplace and motivate people to take action. When your key points of difference are easy to understand and remember, your prospects get an instant mental picture of what makes your product or service superior or unique, and thus worthy of their attention. This will set you way apart from your competitors and make it much easier for your prospects to act in your favour.

3. Convert more leads with a customer promise

Your commitment statement is typically a series of 8-12 prioritised bullet points that set out your customer promise. They should explain what your business does and stands for; what someone can expect when they buy from you; how your business is seen in the marketplace and where it is going. It should also explain what you do to provide memorable service, how you go the extra mile and what you have to do to achieve your long term vision. Your commitment statement sets your business apart from your competition. It can be used in many different ways to build confidence and certainty and accelerate the customer’s buying decision.

4. Behind The Scenes Journey

The more your buyers understand the tangible, compelling and meaningful reasons why they should take action and buy from you, the more they’ll trust you, the more comfortable they’ll feel about what you’re offering… and the more rapidly they’ll decide to buy. Your “behind the scenes” journey is the key component of your USP that educates your buyers by providing them with with a complete understanding of the reasons why you do what you do, why you sell what you sell, why your product or service is better and more suitable to their situation than others, why they should act, and why they’ll be disadvantaged if they don’t. It explains the process you go through to create your product or service, how you select or reject your components or suppliers, how you gained your knowledge, experience and expertise and the process you use to train your staff. It’s a very powerful process.

5. Risk reversal

The biggest single reason why people don’t buy products or services from a supplier is that they don’t want to make a mistake or look stupid or mess up. That’s why up to 80% of people say they’d be influenced in favour of a business that guarantees to its buyers that their product or service won’t fail, by giving a really strong guarantee. By guaranteeing your product or service you reduce the barrier of entry and make it more advantageous for your customers to buy from you than not to buy. This means that people can’t help but take advantage of your product or service in much greater numbers.

6. Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is a single sentence or a paragraph that focuses on the specific areas in which your product or service excels or is unique and conveys the essence of your business in a compelling manner that sets you apart from your competitors. To be effective it must attract attention to your business, set you apart from your competition, fill a perceived gap in the marketplace and motivate people to take action. When your key points of difference are easy to understand and remember, your prospects get an instant mental picture of what makes your product or service superior or unique, and thus worthy of their attention. This will set you way apart from your competitors and make it much easier for your prospects to act in your favour.

7. Setting the buying criteria for your marketplace

When you educate your customers to understand the buying criteria for your product or service, you’ll totally disempower your competition. You’ll also be able to take more and more market share because no one else will be able to compete with you. If you’re the first business in your industry to deploy this concept it can have the impact of an atomic bomb.

9. A clearly defined mission

A business develops a personality over time that shapes its philosophy and motivates its actions. Without a purpose or a mission, both a person and a business will flounder. Every business, no matter how big or small, needs a mission statement as a source of direction that lets its employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders know what it stands for and where it’s headed. A mission also unifies people in a business and provides employees with a sense of identity and a foundation on which the company can build its future.

10. Targeting the right prospects

One of the biggest secrets of success is to communicate directly to your target market, and to no one else. You do this by identifying exactly who your target audience are, then discovering why those people should buy your product or service, given their values and priorities. This includes identifying the predominant types of prospect you need to target in your various markets. Should they be the innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, or laggards? Identify the crucial decision making steps needed for them to adopt your product or service. When you do this the results of your efforts will improve immediately, you’ll multiply your effectiveness and usually you’ll be able to significantly reduce demands on your time, your expenditure and your efforts.

Additional foundation-building strategies (in no particular order) include:

  1. Validity Testing
  2. Branding
  3. Business Model
  4. Business Planning
  5. Choosing a business name
  6. Competitor Analysis
  7. Express Your Higher Business Purpose
  8. Gaining absolute clarity about your current situation
  9. Market Research
  10. Marketing Plan
  11. Defining Your Sales Process
  12. Strategic Planning
  13. Targeting the right prospects
  14. Understanding lifetime value/marginal net worth
  15. Values Charter
  16. Vision Statement


Robert Clay helps entrepreneurs and business leaders to outsell, outmarket and outperform their toughest competition; turn any good business into a GREAT business; and turn any great business into one of the leaders in its niche. MEET ROBERT in this video and learn more about his journey from automotive innovator to business transformer across multiple industries.