Those of you who followed the 1980s police drama, Hill Street Blues, will remember Sergeant Esterhaus—the man who always admonished his officers to “be careful out there” as they set off to patrol the inner city.

For marketing executives seeking to build their brand in today's frenzied, message-cluttered jungle, the warning should be the same. Watch your back, start to hustle and trumpet the added value you bring to the table—or your stellar professional reputation and your brand will quickly lose their luster.

It wasn't long ago that resting on your laurels seemed to be enough—especially if you were meeting your goals, seamlessly executing ambitious programs, and keeping staff members happy enough to ward off corporate raiders. This year, conditions are vastly different. To prove your worth as a marketer and brand builder, you need to tap into your entrepreneurial side.

Seven commandments for marketing and brand building are being chiseled onto new stone tablets—with every commandment based on a fundamental for entrepreneurial success. Following them religiously is now essential for compelling customers to embrace your brand.

Heed:

Commandment #1: Embrace 3-D marketing. Entrepreneurs are obsessed with building lasting, face-to-face relationships, a principle that only 3-D marketers can leverage to full advantage. 3-D marketing—encompassing events, exhibits, displays, merchandising, premiums, target market research, prospect follow-up and much more—enables marketers to truly “touch” their customers in ways that traditional mass marketing does not. It's the most powerful tool in the marketing arsenal for creating customer relationships and building brand image on a face-to-face basis. If you're not fully exploiting 3-D marketing in today's cutthroat marketing environment, you are missing the boat.

#2: Thou shalt make ROI your mantra. Entrepreneurs are notoriously impatient to maximize the return on every investment they make. Amazingly, in the world of three-dimensional marketing, executives often forgo measuring ROI until called to the carpet—and by then, they have no assurance that they are looking at meaningful indicators of brand participation or brand loyalty.

We recently surveyed marketing leaders across industries and found that, while 80 percent were accountable for million-dollar 3-D programs, the majority had no system for measuring the return on their most significant marketing investments.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Sudjian David Sudjian is CEO of Showtime Enterprises http://www.showtimeinc.com