It almost doesn’t matter. Seriously – it almost doesn’t matter. Market yourself any way you want to. Use social media, use the D-R-I-P method. Use the farming approach of a good real estate agent. Refine your elevator speech. Get serious about using Constant Contact.
Yes, of course there are ways to do it that are better than other ways. But it almost doesn’t matter which approach you take.
If you really want to market yourself – then, market yourself.
Do some marketing of yourself every week (nearly every day!). Carve out some actual time for marketing yourself. Write; meet; network; send out stuff. Put your body inside a bunch of elevators so that you can give that wonderful new elevator speech. Write blog posts, and put them up on a blog. And send out notes to everyone in your known universe to let them all know that you are writing good stuff on a blog. Full your pockets (or purse) with good, attractive, memorable business cards – with the address of your blog on those cards – and hand them out at those networking events.
Go to those networking events.
If you don’t market yourself, who will?
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…
Rudyard Kipling, If
Lifetime corporate employment is dead; we’re all free agents now, managing our own careers across multiple careers across multiple jobs and companies. And because today’s primary currency is information, a wide-reaching network is one of the surest ways to become and remain thought leaders of our respective fields.
Sticking to the people we already know is a tempting behavior. But unlike some forms of dating, a networker isn’t looking to achieve only a single successful union. Creating an enriching circle of trusted relationships requires one to be out there, in the mix, all the time.
Set a goal for yourself of initiating a meeting with one new person a week. It doesn’t matter where or with whom.
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (The Ultimate Networker Reveals How to Build a Lifelong Community of Colleagues, Contacts, Friends, and Mentors)
Okay. Time to state the obvious. 2010 is gone. 2011 is nearly 8 days gone.
Every day, every week, every month, they all fly by. And you think about things you intend to do – will do – absolutely will do! – in 2011, and the first week is already gone. Did you do what you intended to do? This week?
This is not a blog post about time management. (although, of course, it is). It is about one thing you need to do (one thing I need to do), with time in 2011.
We’ve got to get intentional, disciplined, regimented, about networking and marketing.
It does not matter what your job is. You need to be marketing all the time. And to market effectively, it helps to know the people you try to market to. Call it what you will; customer cultivation, relational customer strategy. This much is sure – if you did not do any of that “stuff” to make that happen in the first week of 2011, then that week is already gone. And the second week starts… in the blink of an eye.
So, here’s your challenge for 2011. Schedule time, every week, for networking and marketing. (AND! Keep your schedule!). Decide now which day of the week you will set aside for a lunch meeting with a client/potential client/potential customer. Set aside some time every week (every day) to use whatever social media or other media you can find (Twitter; Facebook; your blog; old fashioned letter or notecard writing). See somebody. Write to many. Keep at it. Quickly. Every 60 seconds is racing by.
A very good, now retired Real Estate Agent in our neighborhood called all of this “farming.” She always planted seeds, and she always kept in touch with all of her “A List” clients” She never knew when one of them would be ready to buy, sell, move – or when they would have a friend in need of a good agent. But this she did know – when that moment came, they would think about her, and know how to get in touch with her. And she was ready to help.
What about your client base/customer base? Is it expanding? Are they thinking of you? Do they know how to reach you easily?
Quick, there is not a minute to lose. Market; network; this week, every week, of 2011.
The minutes, the days, the weeks, the months, they are all so unforgiving…
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…
10 Secrets to More Magnetic Copy
Whether it’s a cover letter for your resume, a sales pitch to a client, a blog post, a Twitter tweet, or an internal business proposal, all of us need to write in a way that draws the reader closer to us. We need writing that’s compelling, interesting, and unique. We need writing that’s magnetic. Some think that magnetic writing is all about talent. But a few simple techniques can make any piece of writing more compelling.
[Cohen suggests ten ways to help you write copy that draws the reader closer. Here is the first. You can read the complete blog by visiting http://blog.asmartbear.com/.]
1. Don’t hedge
“Hedging” is when you go out of your way to cover every contingency in an argument. Example: “Nowadays many middle-school girls have at least some affinity for vampires.” The hedges are “almost all” and “at least some affinity.” These may be strictly true, but it’s soft, pudgy wording that lacks punch. Instead: “Nowadays middle-school girls love vampires.”
About the Author: Jason Cohen is the founder of Smart Bear Software, maker of Code Collaborator. He was also a founding member of ITWatchdogs, another bootstrapped startup which became profitable and was sold, and is a mentor at Capital Factory. He is the author of Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review, which examines modern, lightweight methods for doing peer code review effectively without everyone hating life. He also blogs regularly at A Smart Bear.
You can obtain a free copy of Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review, sign up for a free subscription to Cohen’s newsletter, and read the complete 10 Secrets article by visiting http://blog.asmartbear.com/.
We all have so many books to learn from, but I hope you had a chance to read Seth Godin’s book, All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World (Portfolio, 2005). Only four years old, this book is on its way to becoming an “instant classic.”
The book does an outstanding job of explaining how successful marketing is actually a product of consumer lies and stories that they perpetuate among themselves. The key successful step for a marketer is to find a worldview that affects the product or service that you want to sell, and then frame every story in ways that are consistent with that worldview. That is what gets the story told and heard. Consumers notice what is new and different, and frequently make snap judgments that they resist changing.
It is a highly entertaining book, filled with practical information, and framed in a new way!
We have a synopsis available at http://www.15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.
Have you read this one yet? Tell me what you think!
Can You Design an Internal Netflix Prize?
As my friend Tom Malone, over at the MIT Center for Collaboration, has noted, there is no magic to crowdsourcing — but you need to design what you want from it. I believe that there are many problems in companies that look a lot like the problem Netflix faced — such as insurance underwriting, oil exploration, or evaluating an employee’s probable success. As long as the problem has lots of structured data and clear outcome variables (and the company can successfully design a way to keep customer and proprietary data safe) it makes sense to design a competition that uses the market in ideas. Then you just have to decide how much it is worth to you to have a 10% advantage over the competition on a key issue.
If it is just too hard for your organization to create such a prize, there are ways to unlock internal talent on important opportunities. Internal competition is the lifeblood of improvement. When I was an MBA student, I remember reading about succession planning at GE. At the time, Reg Jones was the outgoing CEO; to find a successor, he split the company into three “sectors” — which had a hodge-podge of businesses in each of them — and Reg put a different management team in charge of each one. As a student I could not see any coherence in the products and services in each group until it finally dawned on me that Jones was creating three mini-GEs, each with a broad range of businesses, and he was having a horse race among the three management teams. The winner? Jack Welch and his team. And of course, Jack used a similar strategy upon his own exit.
Is there a vital part of your business that you can create an internal competition around? Do you have ten call centers, say, which could be portioned out to different management teams to find new ways of driving satisfaction and productivity? Could you modify your website for segments of incoming customers and let different management teams experiment with the customer experience? Do you have different territories in which different senior executives can experiment with new sales and service models? Set the goals and ground rules — remember that clarity was a key component of the Netflix Prize’s success — and see who wins.
Often, the biggest challenge in mobilizing the talent inside your organization is learning to live with different solutions to the same customer problem. You need to ask yourself whether your current approach is designed to deliver what customers really want from you, or designed to keep employees comfortable. There’s a lot of improvement to be had — if you can get over the fear of ruffling feathers.
* * *
Sviokla is vice chairman of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc. (NASDAQ: DTPI). Prior to joining Diamond, Sviokla researched and taught at the Harvard Business School for twelve years in Marketing, MIS, and Decision Sciences. His extensive writings have appeared in books and journals including Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Fast Company, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a frequent speaker at executive forums worldwide and earned his BA from Harvard College, and his MBA and DBA with a major in management information systems from Harvard University. He can be found at www.sviokla.com.
In this series, Bob Morris poses a key question and then responds to it with material from one or more of the business books he has reviewed for Amazon and Borders.
Each day, on average, our senses receive about 2,500 different “messages” from various experiential sources. They compete for our attention and few succeed. Moreover, we seem to have a much shorter interest span than our parents did and our children have a much shorter one than ours. So what? There are several significant consequences. Here are two.
1. Information Overload: We receive more information than we can process, much less assimilate and evaluate (e.g. determine relative importance). This creates confusion and frustration as well as anxiety and perhaps even depression. Some if us use our brains to develop filters that function like spam blockers that prevent us from receiving urgently important messages.
2. Marketing Barriers: Those who have something to promote must create or increase demand for it. With more and more people promoting more and more stuff, there is a great deal of “cognition clutter” that fragments and weakens communication. Recently published books such as Paco Underhill’s Why We Buy and Martin Lindstrom’s Buyology suggest that marketing has become very active on the subconscious level and has significant influence, not only purchase decisions but also about whom to vote for, which cause(s) to support, etc. Much (most?) of this is happening without our being aware of it.
Comments, questions, requests, or suggestions? Please share them. They will be most welcome and I thank you for them. Best regards, Bob