Marketing just isn’t that complicated. Oh, sure, there’s all the figuring new stuff out every new day, but really, when it comes down to it, there are only a handful of things that actually matter.

Get these factors right — keep these factors as the basis for every business and marketing decision — and things are going to work out.

On the other hand, ignore these simple truths and growing a business will always feel like a hard, confusing struggle.

These truths, as I’ve called them, aren’t tactics at all; they’re merely an acknowledgement to how the world expects you to run a business today.

No One Talks About Boring Businesses

Growing a business today takes getting people talking. This is how referrals happen, PR happens, SEO happens and links happen. Let me ask you this – when’s the last time your wrote a review about a perfectly satisfying experience?

MORE ALLBUSINESS: 

You have to do something that surprises us, excites us or so clearly exceeds our expectation in ways that make us turn to Facebook to share our story.

I know people get this, but why are so few stepping up and turning heads? You don’t have to innovate an entire industry, just do something that’s not so damn normal.

People Don’t Need More Information

Content marketing is all the rage and unfortunately that’s been interpreted by most as “write more content.” People are drowning in information. The winner is the one that makes sense of it for us.

Insight is more important than information. Tell us why all this information matters. Tell us what information is the right information. Tell us the three most important pieces of information for our specific bit of pain.

Make meaning of it all and people will listen.

Everyone Knows When You Suck

I realize some are offended by that statement, but it’s really the right word. It’s the word people use to describe something that, well, sucks. Don’t believe me? Google your favorite company + the word sucks and see what people have to say. I’ll get you started — Zappos sucks, Apple sucks, Southwest sucks, Hallmark sucks — okay, you get the point. It doesn’t mean these dissenters are right or even sane, but maybe a few have a legit story to tell.

Every customer is part of your brand today and many have something to say. We’ve all got to work at sucking less, that’s all there is to it.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

I don’t have a phone in my office and I’m not that odd. Today we choose what messages we want to allow into our pool of information and more often than not we’ve eliminated most choices before anyone even knows we have a need.

You’ve got to put yourself on the path of our journey and hang out at the right intersections or you’ll never see us coming.

Trust Is Always on Trial

Trust is the single most important ingredient in building a successful business. It’s the hardest thing to gain and the easiest thing to lose and it’s pretty much all that matters in the long run.

Oh, and once you earn trust, know that you it’s something you must earn over and over and over again.

When you earn my trust I develop exceedingly high expectations that you won’t let me down and I constantly measure my experience against those expectations.

Every conversation you and your staff have about business and marketing must begin and end with these five things in mind.

John Jantsch has been called the World’s Most Practical Small Business Expert for consistently delivering real-world, proven small business marketing ideas and strategies. John is a marketing consultant, speaker and best selling author of Duct Tape MarketingThe Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine.