Lungs are complex organs that power our breathing. We rarely give them much attention as they often function completely independently of conscious thought. In fact, the only time we seem to think about them is when they are compromised, or not functioning optimally.

Though we associate breathing with lungs, the chemical exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen happens in every muscle, organ, and cell. Our respiratory system is intricately connected to every other system in our body.

If we look at our businesses as living entities, they would ‘breathe’ through their marketing. Like lungs, marketing is one of the few ways a business interacts with the external environment – bringing a fresh source of vital energy. As breathing happens in every cell of our body, so too should marketing happen in every department and person throughout your company.

Here are my 3 Principles to Establishing A Culture of Marketing:

1.  Everyone is marketing:
Marketing happens with every interaction between someone inside and outside the company every phone call, tweet, email, and so forth. Thanks to the ease and popularity of social media, we can only now begin to actually see and track the impact of our connections. This phenomenon is not new, only our ability to see it is.

Make sure your people are your first customers and keep them at lease as informed of the goings-on as traditional media sources. Their power to support or squelch a rumor or new endeavor is worth millions spent in Public Relations.

2.  Everyone improves marketing:
The Japanese term Kaizen – basically translating to continuous improvement – has been growing in popularity in business by saying every step along the process is an opportunity to enhance the product. From CEO, top executives, design and manufacturing, suppliers, even maintenance, and accounting all have the opportunity to enhance the customer’s experience.

Give them specific training, responsibility, flexibility, and support to improve the customer experience and you will be surprised at their ability to not only identify ways, but to also capitalize on them quickly and responsibly. Zappos is a leader in this endeavor with their policy of building open and honest relationships with communication.

3.  Make it fun AND real:
The challenge of most marketing is that it is often too contrived, and created in isolation. Since marketing really happens everywhere; it is important that it connects to everyone in the company. Taking the time to communicate (sometimes translate into various job functions) your brand values, mission statements, and long-term visions to your people is always a good investment.

The power of marketing comes from connecting customers with elements of our brands. Years ago, while working for an advertising agency, we designed a campaign that won several awards within the industry and sharply increased the phone/email inquiries of our client. Because the campaign didn’t fit within the culture of the client, and was not communicated to those handling the phone/email; the campaign failed to make a sustainable impact on their business


Successful businesses, like healthy bodies, are the result of many complex systems being carried out simultaneously, interdependently, yet tightly integrated together.

To your growing success!