Real Success in Business Comes From Putting the Client First


If you’re like most business owners, you’re constantly doing research on leadership, improving business skills, and the latest in marketing. This can quickly feel like a full time job, and all of the information you receive can be overwhelming.

It’s essential to turn to sources who really know what they’re talking about to find real success in business.  These are people like Michael Brenner who’ve had – and continue to have – business success.

Michael is an author, a Forbes’ Top CMO Influencer, the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, and has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP, Nielsen, and thriving startups.

In other words, when Michael Brenner talks about marketing and business success – listen up because the guy knows what he’s talking about.

I recently had the privilege of doing a podcast with Michael and one of the most important things he pointed out was that business success always comes from putting the clients first.

Old-School Marketing Puts the Company First

Digital marketing has changed the way business works these days.

In the past, most companies would put their marketing dollars toward advertising. They loved seeing their name or logo splashed across billboards and on television during NFL games.

While there are still some companies who focus all of their money on this type of advertising, this type of marketing is quickly going out of fashion.

In fact, Michael says it can do a lot of damage to a company’s bottom. Why?

The goal of television, magazine, and billboard advertising is to put the company and their product right in front of the consumer’s face. It seems smart, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, consumers are getting sick of this type of marketing.

Michael related that in the span of the average football game, one company might have 40 advertisements or more. They think this is smart because they’re burning the image of their logo or product into the minds of viewers.

Studies have found that once a person has been exposed to 40 or more ads within a relatively short amount of time (like an NFL game) – they quickly lose interest. They either don’t buy the product or their preference for the brand goes down– both of which result in the decline of sales.

What Does It Mean to Put the Client or Customer First?

On the other hand, a company that focuses on the consumer has more success these days. What does it mean to focus on the consumer?

It means companies have to avoid the deeply rooted inclination to promote their company, their brand, and their products or services.

This seems completely counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Really, though, this is the best way to increase revenue and see a good ROI for marketing strategies.

Business owners have to trust that consumers know what they want. For years, marketers have “known what’s best for the consumer” and marketed accordingly. Consumers have had enough of that. They know what they want. They know what they need.

They give off signals all the time. It’s important to watch for those signals and create products, services, and marketing campaigns that speak to those signals.

You can do this by paying attention on social media. What are people’s questions or concerns? How can you answer those questions or address their concerns?

This personalized approach to marketing will endear you to consumers. Not only are they more likely to invest their money in your products or services, they’re more likely to do so regularly. And they’ll probably praise you on review sites like Yelp and on social media, and refer their friends and family members to you.

When you appeal to your customer instead of bombarding them with product promotions, you’re more likely to make the sale and have a great reputation among consumers.

Marketing and Strategy Changes Start with Good Leadership

Changing your marketing strategy will take some time and it may not be easy to implement at first. Customer-based marketing means you change your strategy from telling people what they want to listening to what they want.

This requires some changes within your business as well. It’s important that everyone who works for you communicates regularly and effectively. This involves a lot of listening.

Everyone in your office can learn something from everyone else. And if you – as the leader of your company – set the example of being willing to listen to others, your employees will soon follow.

The next time you have a marketing meeting, make sure to ask questions about your customers – what they want, what they’re looking for. And then, sit back and listen. Your employees may have some great ideas regarding how to appeal to your customers’ needs and desires.

Good Leaders Create Alignment and Happy Work Environments

Leadership is essential to a company’s success. And it’s important to note that we’re no longer living in a time when it’s sufficient enough for a boss to tell his or her employees what to do. Those days are long gone.

Today’s marketplace is more about collaboration, communication, and alignment than anything else. CEOs need to listen just as much as they speak. They need to seek feedback from their employees.

Doing this allows the CEO the opportunity to learn something they might not have known. No one is Superman or Superwoman. No one can do it all. That’s one reason business owners have employees – to help. Employees can offer a wealth of information about topics the CEOs may know nothing about.

Not only will open communication help employers know which way to shift their marketing endeavors – it will help keep everyone on the same page. Employees will feel valued, they’ll feel like they’re a part of something special, and they’ll want to work hard for the company.

This is alignment, and it is not only good for your bottom line – it makes for a happy, healthy work environment.

Do you think your leadership skills could use some work? You’re not alone. Check out more information about leadership and alignment from Michael’s blog or follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.



Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael.