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  • Randy Tuminello

Five Keys to Marketing Success

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons has Snoopy sitting droopy-eyed at the door of his dog house. He laments, “Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. There’s so little hope for advancement!”

If you’ve ever been the least bit involved in marketing, you’ve probably had times when you felt like Snoopy. Of course, you’ve also had those times when you felt like you were flying Mach 2 at 50,000 feet with your pants on fire! Marketing can lift you up like royalty to the pinnacle of euphoria one day, and heartlessly fling you into the pit of despair the next. Obviously, it takes a special mindset to succeed at marketing. Just what is it that sets successful marketers apart?

Successful marketers understand that success is a process—not an outcome.

Before you can succeed at anything—much less marketing, you have to start with the right perception about what success is. Success is the means to the end—not the end itself. Success is not just reaching the goal; it’s more about all the proper values, hard work, focus, consistency and dogged determination that goes into it. Successful marketers know this.

What separates the best marketers from the mediocre is not necessarily more talent, knowledge, or drive. It’s a commitment to tenaciously and consistently follow through on the process of effective marketing.

The process of successful marketing involves five key ingredients.

1. Successful marketers are deliberate and selective in their pursuits. First, they understand their pursuit priorities—clients first, jobs second. Successful marketers choose clients based on how well they fit with their own firm’s capabilities, business philosophy and goals. Furthermore, they choose clients that can justify the time investment required to build good relationships. They know that, all things being equal, the firm with the best relationships usually wins.

2. Successful marketers prepare well and do their homework consistently. When they do pursue projects, they are realistic about their chances. They only commit to pursuits when they’ve already established a prior relationship, when they have a credible team and track record, and when they’ve gained intelligence necessary to accurately know the players, issues and hot buttons. Successful marketers don’t rely on assumptions and leave little to chance or good fortune. Most of their wins are carefully calculated, predetermined, and come as no surprise. Actually, they are more surprised by their losses than they are by their wins.

3. Successful marketers build and maintain an effective network. They choose the people in their network just as carefully as they do their clients. They look for people with whom they can reciprocate value in terms of both information and introductions. Successful marketers make few, if any, cold calls because their network either helps to arrange personal introductions, or at the very least, helps to establish credibility by association. Successful marketers understand the importance of reciprocation, and do a good job balancing the process of give and take. This keeps their network motivated and strong.

4. Successful marketers keep things simple and use basic common sense. They zero in on the best opportunities with a focused energy that’s not easily sidetracked. They use technology as an efficient tool, not as a time-wasting distraction. They organize their marketing time carefully and manage it ruthlessly. They distill annual goals into months and then into weekly bite-sized chunks to make the marketing task more feasible. They keep one eye on the big picture as they consistently work their weekly plans. As a result, they are undaunted by what may appear as an overwhelming task.

5. Successful marketers solicit ongoing client feedback. Rather than make assumptions about what their clients want, successful marketers ask their clients directly. They know that a regular regimen of client feedback is one of the most productive aspects of their marketing strategy. Not only do they receive more accurate and valuable market intelligence, they solidify relationships through the process as well.

Unlike Snoopy, you don’t have to remain in the doghouse of marketing defeat. Successful marketers do not belong to an exclusive club. It remains open to anyone who has the discipline to apply common sense, strong values and a sincere belief in the process of successful marketing. You can stagnate in a dog’s world, or soar with eagles! It’s your choice.


Randy Tuminello is the CEO and Principal Consultant for Tuminello Consulting, a consulting firm dedicated to the AEC industry and public agencies. For questions or comments contact him at

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