Products — the most successful products — meet urgent needs and solve important problems.

But what solves today’s problem won’t necessarily solve tomorrow’s. We must constantly refine and reinvent to make our products “new.”

Many of today’s Internet entrepreneurs not only believe they can keep selling the same products, they also believe they can keep using the same promotional techniques.

That’s a serious mistake. And it is especially serious now because the market, as I see it, is already going through a sea change.

Having a good understanding of what’s working right now gives you the illusion of being in control. You can answer your colleagues’ questions. You can correct the technical guys… sometimes. And you are happy that the first promotion you wrote two years ago is still bringing in sales. You are the master!

Or so you think.

If you want to be in business 10 years from now, you can’t be complacent. You need to develop a deep understanding of the selling process. You have to know what works and why. What is essential and what is not.

In other words, you have to become an expert in direct marketing.

Rate yourself by answering these questions:

1. What is the most important psychological benefit your product offers?
2. What is the most common mistake other marketers make when they sell something similar?
3. How have your customers’ needs and desires changed in the recent past?
4. What changes have you made to accommodate those changes?

If you answered those questions quickly and confidently, you are doing the right kind of thinking. If you are hesitant about some of them, you’ve got to spend more time with your marketing hat on.

Becoming an expert in direct marketing will teach you how to know your market better than your competitors. It’s that deeper knowledge that will save you. Trust me. I’ve been there.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.