You had one job! This phrase is an ever-popular meme in today’s culture. Usually the headline to someone making a huge, obvious mistake. However, as an entrepreneur or business owner, it is rarely ever a statement that we feel applies to our daily lives. We have a tendency to feel as if we stay busy doing everything, all the time. But if you back up to a larger view, things often become clearer and more simple.

After you, or someone, develops your product or service in the beginning, you are focused on bringing that offering to market. And in that, as a business (any business) you really do have one job. Regardless of your industry and number of years in business, our basic function as business owners boils down to one essential duty—Relationship Building.

Now, this is just as big a picture and somewhat akin to Regis McKenna’s often misquoted statement that “Marketing is everything and everything is marketing”—because marketing is essentially relationship building.  

Our job is to figure out who we are as a company (self-awareness), figure out who our buyers are (customer focus), and figure out how to strategically, proactively connect with them in their everyday lives. We then offer them the solution to their needs and desires that they will then buy from us because we have connected with them, we’ve built that trusted relationship with them, they like us, and we offer them what they need. You see, marketing is about people, not products.

You Are Married To Marketing

And caring about people means building relationships. Let me pull that into focus using a comparison I used in my book Married to Marketing, A Relationship Guide to Business. When you are first a youngster…you dream about one day getting married, finding a companion, starting a family of your own, and carving out your place in this world to establish your kingdom. That sounds an awful lot like what business owners go through when first dreaming about their business and establishing their niche in the marketplace. You have a vision; you can see it, taste it, and the desire to see that vision come true drives you forward.

Then, as we mature, we learn that you can’t just club your future partner over the head and drag them into your cave with you. You have to get them to desire you. So that means, you have to work on yourself. Present the best, most attractive version of yourself, to try to meet and connect with the most desirable mate that you can…and you have to know who they are, what they look like, and what they want for themselves to make a good match. In business, we do the same thing. We develop our company’s brand image, our presentation to the world, and we study our target audience so that we can be successful in connecting with them and building out our effectiveness in the marketplace.

When we are successful as a business, we establish a loyal following of devoted customers that will share the gospel of our business with others, they will never forsake us, and they will stay true to us for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. 

Sure you have to sell products and services in the same way that the breadwinner has to keep a job and bring home income in order to sustain their family and lifestyle but the focus is, or should be, always on the relationship. Making that connection, growing it, and strengthening it.

The Role Of The Counselor 

Now in the book, I expand on this idea even further, drawing more on the analogy, but I also talk about the roles of the marketing agency in the relationship. You see, I, like many others, am involved in the business community as an executive with Reformation Productions, a marketing agency. And our job, in relationship building, is often that of a counselor. You know, the person that couples go to when they are seeking to survive or strengthen their marriage. You see, owning a business takes commitment and in that commitment, you are married to marketing. So, in this analogy, I am the “marriage” counselor.

Now several bachelors may say they would never go to a counselor…usually when they are not interested in building, growing, or strengthening their relationship. And hey, some people choose the bachelor’s life for quite some time. But when you get serious about someone, you often turn to someone else for advice. It may be a father figure, or a priest, or an established counseling business with an attractive reputation and mindset that you appreciate.

Big Picture Analogies Help

Are you seeing the parallels here? Comparative analogies are so useful in making complex things more understandable and relatable in life. I also host a video podcast called Straight Shot marketing podcast where we use analogies to bring advice, tips, and insights to the business community on a regular basis. It’s also a staple in crafting my talks for my speaking engagements…also to the business community. 

So try to start thinking of things in big picture analogies in order to gain greater insight into accomplishing your goals. Realize that a large part of being in business is communicating your business to others and that is most fruitful to you when you build relationships with your customers.

As humans, we get the most enjoyment out of life through personal relationships with others. In business, we achieve the most success by fulfilling our customer’s needs through a mutually beneficial relationship that is built with care and attention to detail. 

Your mom always told you to go out and make new friends. She was likely your first relationship advisor. Then your best friend told you, “Don’t worry you’ll find someone” when it came to making that connection with your future spouse. They likely also told you that you were a catch, that you “had it all”—that your brand was on target for success. See how easy it is to switch back and forth between business and personal relationship building? Curious isn’t it?

So it all comes down to one thing, though we wear many hats, business owners and their companies are engaged in the business of building relationships with their customers. How well you accomplish that will be a determining factor in your success and legacy. How will you be remembered? Would the marketplace miss you? Do they long for all that you did for them and how well you understood them? Were you someone that really understood and cared about their needs and desires? These marriages stand the test of time.

To learn more marketing tips from B. Zachary Bennett or to check out his book, visit his website here.

Have any more marketing tips to share? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.