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Forward Thinkers Stay Ahead of the Curve

By Alicia Smith
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005

What is it like from a marketing perspective to be yesterday’s news? We rely on what is tried and true in marketing because it is usually safe, tried, and tested. It saves us time, as well, since we don’t have to put on our creativity cap to craft an innovative strategy.

But, there’s a certain attractive quality around someone who markets his or her business on the edge. They stretch their thoughts and ideas into new territories to create an innovative way of packaging or presenting their product or service. Shifting ourselves to be forward thinkers, one step ahead of everyone else when it comes to marketing our business might be something to consider when attracting new customers and clients.

Here are some ways to add some zip to your marketing.

1. Try a new mental environment. Involve yourself in new mental environments. Read different materials or magazines. Take a class in creativity or in an area completely unknown or outside of your general interest area. Or, better yet, find a coach who works on the cutting edge to experience their way of thinking.

2. Consider other industries and study how they market to their customers. How do pharmaceutical companies market? How do construction materials companies market to homebuilders and real estate developers? How do Realtors market to their home buying and selling prospects? What tools and techniques are they utilizing that you might capitalize on and try in your business? Consult trade magazines or make contacts in different industries and find out how they market to their clientele.

3. Take a look at fads.As a forward thinker, look at the current trends and see where they can take your business. When PDAs first appeared, all sorts of businesses were scrambling to create software that was compatible with this new technology. From those new innovations, many new types of software and other electronic devices were created. MP3 technology really pulled the invention of the IPOD forward. What new trends or fads do you see out there?

4. Stay one step ahead. There are many benefits to staying in the future with regard to marketing. You do this by reading widely, networking with people in a variety of industries, and spending quality time thinking about where you want to take your business. The future is all about possibility thinking. Let the future pull you forward to success.

5. Revise your vision. As you uncover new information that would be helpful to your business, make sure that you revise your vision of your business. It’s vital that you keep your plans for the future up-to-date. Review your business plan with frequency, no less than quarterly to ensure that it is still on target with your vision, mission, and most importantly with what your clients or customers most want.

6. Be willing to risk. Part of staying ahead when it comes to marketing is to adopt a mental attitude that you are willing to take risks, whether it result in great rewards, or equally great failure. While you should do the proper research, check facts, and craft detailed plans for all of your marketing efforts, you must be prepared for the risks associated with anything that you do. By engaging in future thinking, possibility thinking, you might be risking failure that your clients or customers just aren’t ready for it. But, at the same time, you’ll be making great strides if they are. You may become a trendsetter in the market place, a very nice place to be.

7. Stand strong. We can all agree that being a forward thinker involves a great deal of risk – both on the upside and the downside to your business bottom line. You also need to be prepared for the effect it might have on your ego. When you put yourself out there with new marketing ideas, you need to be prepared for not only the criticism that you will receive from envious competitors, but also the praise and congratulations that will come from others. Don’t take it personally. It’s just business.

8. Change your physical surroundings. It’s amazing how much our environments can influence not only our health and happiness, but also the thoughts that we think. Try changing your physical environment and see what new ideas might come to mind. Take a walk in the park or go for a drive in the country. If you can’t get away, enjoy a bubble bath by candlelight. Nature or natural settings are usually quite inspirational to most people and might be just what you need to come up with your next great idea.

9. Be ready. Forward thinkers have a natural mindset that is open to accepting great success coming their way. They don’t think about how or why they can’t do something, but how and why they can. Their attitude is one geared towards seeing the abundance in everything around them and to expecting more in the future. This momentum carries through into all of their marketing efforts.

10. Expand your vocabulary. As previously mentioned, forward thinkers read widely. Continually challenge yourself to adopt new words to describe what you do. At one time, computer IT firms were referring to themselves as factories. That seemed to appeal to their clientele at the time. What words from other disciplines or industries might add an interesting angle to your marketing? If you can’t find the right words to describe your product or service, try inventing some. Be creative.

11. Learn from the past. While forward thinkers do spend a lot of time in the future, they can also come up with great marketing ideas by looking to the past. Skim history books, read biographies of great men and women, or ask elderly folks about what life was like in the past. The new insight that you gain might be just the thing that leads to a new marketing campaign, product or service idea. While the future is where it’s at, there might be some valuable ideas in the past.

12. Be free of the burdens of the past. Acknowledging the past is great, but living in it as a marketer can mean the demise of your business. Free yourself from well-worn ways that don’t bring you the results that you need. If your industry is saturated with a particular idea or product, think of ways to re-invent it. Don’t do the same things that you did in the past if they aren’t getting you the results you desire. And, even if they are, what innovation might you make which would produce even better results?

13. Check your thoughts at the door. Forward thinkers look at each marketing challenge on its own merits. Don’t get mired in preconceived notions about the way the next marketing idea might turn out based upon your past results. Instead, look to the future with excitement. The future is yours to create – how it looks is up for grabs.

14. Continue to develop yourself. Strengthen your personal foundation. As you change yourself, you will change the thoughts you think and the things you create for your business. As you evolve, your business evolves.

15. Make change your friend. Forward thinkers embrace change. They know that to get from today to tomorrow that they will need to make changes in the ways they think about and market their business. Instead of fearing change, welcome it with open arms. You never know what incredible opportunity might await you.

© Copyright 2004 Alicia Smith Consulting & Training. All Rights Reserved.

Alicia Smith, a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping coaches to Make Money Now wrote this article.

This article is derived from just one of the 26 lessons contained in her audio program, Marketing Marathon Blunders From A – Z. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit the following sites or email her at

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About the Author
Publications by Alicia Smith include:
Build Your Business Using Assessments: Increase Your Income, Time and Credibility, $24.99
The Ten-Step Buying Process: Converting Prospects to Clients, $23.99
DISC Ninja’s Proposal Wizard, $29
Your Home Office How-To Manual, $39


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