In a previous post, I outlined a story where a friend of mind, who was viewed as the leader of a group, blew off one of his monthly meetings. By the way, this infraction as well as the stated summer hiatus of the meeting, has broken the momentum, abruptly halting the flywheel of what was becoming a successful group. Likely, this particular group will fail based on historical evidence and my assumption.

I also mentioned that he was only “assumed” to be the leader of the group. While to assume certainly can make an “a$$” our of “u” and “me,” there is an important lesson to be learned here with regard to marketing… perception is reality.

What exactly does that mean? It means simply that the way that people view you (or, more appropriately in business, your company) is the way your company is to your audience. Good or bad, reputation and the way your company looks, feels, smells, tastes, and sounds as perceived by customers is how your business is.

This friend of mine denied like Simon Peter in the bible that he was the leader. However, he was the leader according to the people that were in attendance. He invited people, was very outspoken a the meetings, and took control at some point of every meeting. His actions, words, body language, and demeanor all pointed to his role as a leader or moderator of the group.

When you are running your business, how are people perceiving you and your company? In Six Sigma circles, we refer to listening to your clients’ expectations as The Voice of the Customer. The Voice of the Customer is then translated into Critical Customer Requirements (CCR)–those things the company can do to satisfy the demands of the customer. The CCRs are then broken down into Critical to Quality (CTQ) requirements. These are the things that a company can do to achieve the quality the customer needs to be satisfied.

Marketing goes beyond just communicating TO your clients. You need to listen to them… the communication FROM them is likely more important and can actually save you on your marketing budget. You need to know HOW you are perceived by the client, and HOW the client wants you to be perceived. When you truly show that you care and are listening to the customer through your communications and your overall marketing strategy, you will find that the customer will find your company to be the one they know, like, and trust to get the job done in reality!

Coming soon… how can you create the perception of being THE ONE!