View Marketing as a Process, Not a Project


Smart businesspeople understand that they must build and maintain long-term relationships with profitable customers. This starts when they invite their prospects to purchase their superior products and services and ends when they become loyal customers.

In order to achieve this goal you’ll need more than passion and technical knowledge. You’ll also need to learn ways to manage two primary business activities – projects and processes – and understand the differences between the two. 

Projects are distinctive, temporary and have a beginning, middle and end. For example, building your website is a project. It starts with an idea – you get designs, someone builds it, you place in on a server and launch it on the Internet. Once the site is up, the “project” is over.

Conversely, processes are your businesses’ ongoing activities. So while you’ve completed a project by getting your site up and running, you now need to develop a process for updating and maintaining it for as long as your online business exists.

This also applies to marketing in a more general way. Building a marketing strategy may be a project, implementing that strategy is the process. While each contains actionable tasks, projects are finite and processes can be duplicated and used over and over again.

The Link Between Lasting Relationships And Effective, Profitable Marketing

How is this relevant to developing your online business? Simple. If you acknowledge the difference and manage the two successfully, it will make many of the challenges you face seem less daunting.

As I’ve said before, marketing is about building lasting relationships with loyal customers. It involves a commitment to serve – before, during and after a sale. It’s a process, not a project – one that requires a long-term perspective. It’s not one transaction. It’s not one order. It’s not one anything… Rather, it’s accepting the benefits of ongoing connections and doing whatever it takes to grow and nourish them.

Like a good marriage, it begins with a sincere desire to please two people – you and your spouse – and continues with a constant commitment to make that happen. So while the wedding itself is a project, the marriage is a continual process – one that must be “fed and watered” every day. If not, it usually fails.

In a more specific way, your marketing communications is a process.

Consider this… Most experts agree that it takes a between 9 and 27 marketing messages before a consumer moves from a prospect to a customer. Although estimates vary widely one thing is sure – it’s more than one.

Can you make a sale with one ad? Sure. But it generally doesn’t cover the development costs. So what do most entrepreneurs do in this instance? They bail out before they should. After, you’ll hear them say things like, “I wrote an article and posted it online and got nothing – it didn’t work.” Or, “I tried a pay-per-click campaign and almost lost my shirt… don’t try it.” What’s going on here? They’re erroneously blaming the project concept for their failure to follow a winning process!

How can I be so sure? Easy… there are thousands of marketers who submit articles and use pay-per-click campaigns that effectively drive prospects to their website – ones who convert to paying customers. The results are irrefutable. However, the processes used to complete the project may not be. For example, the article may have been poorly written and/or the pay-per-click campaign might not have been the best sales tool for the product – there are hundreds of potential reasons.

However, the most glaring mistake was that these folks mistake processes for projects… they stop abruptly and don’t get the results they expect.

If you’re going to develop a thriving business make a commitment to hang in there for the long term.

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Mary Eule Scarborough, an unassailable marketing expert and thought leader, helps businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. She is also:

  • A former Fortune 500 marketing executive, …
  • The founder of two successful small businesses, …
  • An award-winning speaker, …
  • A Certified Guerrilla Marketing coach, and …
  • Co-author of three books (to-date): “The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing“, (Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007), “Mastering Online Marketing” (Entrepreneur Press, January, 2008), and “Guerrilla Marketing On The Internet” (Entrepreneur Press, July, 2008).
  • Qualified with a BA in Journalism / English from the University of Maryland, and …
  • Qualified with a Masters degree in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University.

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