Let's say that you are the head of marketing for a company and you are on the lookout for new ways to grow your company's top-line. The question that I hear often from managers, directors and vp's is "How can I find new ways to really increase our business?" Over the years I have observed 5 habits of successful marketing executives that have created huge returns on their investment and dramatically increased their brand's image in their respective markets.

1. They know their brand so well they embody it

Of course a marketer's first job is to ensure that the promises his company is making are being kept. But beyond that, the marketer should set the talking points for the brand. The points should include a continuous discussion of what makes the company tick and what the direct benefits to its customers are. This should not be in industry jargon but in simple down to earth every day explanations.

2. They are givers of information – not takers

Sales is about initiating a conversation and the best ones start on the basis of what your prospects are most interested in. This is true whether you are in a formal business setting or on a golf course talking with a potential customer. A smart marketer knows to begin with, "So, what's new and true in your life?" not, "Let me tell you what's been going on in my life." Wait for it… and be patient. Who knows, this prospect might have something he or she needs to tell you and that can form a meaningful bond.

3. They are authentic, not stand-up comics

I realize this may run contrary to many sales coaching books but prospects are looking for assistance with their needs, not being humored. Have you ever witnessed a sales person trying to be funny and falling flat on his face? It's a painful thing to watch! In moderation, it's okay to be humorous from time to time as few like to be around an encyclopedia. People will relate to you in the way you relate to them. But smart marketers know the end goal is to win their trust, not make them laugh.

4. They are good communicators: speaking and writing

To lead, a marketer has to be in command of more than product knowledge. They must also know how to put in a few succinct words that makes their product meaningful and beneficial. And they need to be able to communicate this in writing without a lot of typos and misquotations.

5. They are in it for the long haul

The best marketers know that you don't redirect a ship in one quick turn. It takes a series of adjustments and maneuvers to turn a ship around. Building a rapport with key customers requires the identical set of moves. You can't go to a leading industry conference one time and expect to turn all attention toward your company nor can you expect that all conference attendees will immediately want to start doing business with you. I won't go so far to say it never happens. But if it does it's rare.

If you stay in the game on a consistent basis then your marketing should begin to build results. But if you expect tangible results without consistency I would say you need to prepare yourself for minimal impact. As my teenage son is fond of saying to me, "That's not how I roll."