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I've been at this entrepreneur (risk-taker) thing for awhile-even before I knew it consciously. The learning never stops. I had a couple of great conversations today around marketing and the target of those intentions. Driving away from those conversations, I thought about who I'm marketing to. Maybe the question is appropriate for you as well.
Who are you marketing to?
My intentions with marketing may be different than you. Are you marketing yourself to a prospective employer type? Are you marketing yourself to a prospective client? Regardless, it pays to know. I know you may now be thinking I deserve the big "duh." Stick with me.
In the early days of Epic Living I put significant time into knowing who my target audience was. It was a noble effort, but it lacked the sobering understanding needed in the final analysis. Quite frankly, this lack of sobering understanding tripped me up. In other words, failure upon failure. Here's what I discovered some time ago:
I'm not marketing to me.
This reality is crucial. No matter how excited I was about a product or service or how much I thought what I was offering would change the world, I was a poor example of who would buy and follow. The deception lies in a belief that my excitement and applause represented the "whole" needed to sustain my ideas. The dirty little secret is often I didn't want to hear that my "great" idea was only interesting to a few. Ouch!
My friend, Craig Lerner of Involve, always follows my announcement of a new idea with a question. The question, so what? Yep, so what. So what if it does this, does that, saves starving children, and on and on. He's not trying to shoot my dream down, he's putting me through the sobering understanding thing. He has helped me immensely, even when I didn't want to hear it. You need a Craig Lerner.
So where does that leave us? Here are some key take-aways to consider, and remember, this is based on my experience.
Does anyone really care enough about what you offer to keep coming back? Yea, I know you may be a master closer, but after you let go of the vice grip, are they really a fan?
Is what you offer sustainable, solve a problem and have real demand? Sustainable in that it can be reproduced and used repeatedly. Solving a problem speaks for itself. Demand is that essential "it" quality that makes people pay a premium. Not because you sold them, but because there's true value present.
Is it simple? Most people (customers, employers, partners, etc.) have compressed attention spans and don't want to spend minutes trying to figure things out.
Have you real data to support what you do? Real data is not data you spin in-order to get a result you desperately want.
Are willing to set your hopes and dreams aside so that the integrity can emerge? I respect leaders who know that certain ideas stink or need another time and space to work. This is difficult, very difficult.
In the market we find ourselves in, I think it wise to stand out from the herd. One excellent way is through the medium of video. In this post I'm specifically thinking of the video resume.
Video resumes are not new. That said, I think video can be intimidating for many. This article from Eugen Lim is a great start as you consider this approach. I like Eugene's insights because she has experience on her side. Not in years, but in, she's learning and about to embark on what many are in the midst of.
Enjoy the video and I hope it helps you get to that desired place-may it be Epic.
I shouln't be surprised that we've come to the point where a segment of the marketing universe is coaching "authentic." Yes, authenticity is now being taught. I guess it's a new business opportunity to reform the fake. Judging by this piece from the New York Times, many are jumping on the bandwagon. But in your gut, you're probably not surprised.
If you're someone who is learning how to express yourself in a way that fits who you are or you are someone who's going through the process of reinvention due to job loss, then I get what you're doing and this post is not meant to rub you the wrong way.
The idea of advisment around authenticity comes from a motivation to build trust. A trust to buy. What many businesses forget is people don't trust because those same businesses would rather make a sale than make a long-term relationship. In a long-term relationship there is a blend of give and take, good and bad, yes and no, you get my point. From what I see most don't have the desire or stamina to deal with that. Ironically, I don't know many people who want a one-sided (always in the favor of the business/provider) engagement as a customer or a human being.
What are we doing? I mean really, is authenticity something that we need to coach? If it is, then here's my authentic recipe/contribution to those who Really want to be more authentic:
Find out why you're here (Planet Earth).
Define what you value most and give unwavering allegiance to those things.
Manage happiness and performance on a daily basis. It's worth your time.
Consistently seek to get better through planning and goal setting.
Tell other people what you've found and are doing.
To understand the human psyche is a gift. To understand it because you've lived it is matchless.
Why do people continue a pattern that they know in the end will lead to undoing? Fear and a warped view of the world in which they live, I would say, are at the top of the list. To face these two demons is very daunting for most.
If you're in the world of growing something, if you have a calling, if you are moved to make change, then you need to realize that often the choices people make are based on human beings being human.
Ok, I've taken the dive with Google +. There are many out there who are wondering if we need another social network. I asked myself the same question this afternoon and came to the following conclusions:
We do need more social networks. That doesn't necessarily many another Facebook or Twitter. Maybe it's in your community where you live or a cause you're passionate about. It's right as breathing.
If you're taking the bumble bee approach to social networking (online or otherwise), then you need to reexamine your motivations. Take a hard look at who you are or who you were before you drank the kool-aid, and then order your social networks around that. You've got to do this.
Google + is rightly placed. Google has such a huge influence around the ordering of content and flow, that for them not to be involved would be silly. I'm not gushing over with Google fan-love when I write this. Google is like Churchill or Edition; what they created and impacted was bigger than who they were as influencers.
All of this flurry on social netowrks and the experiements, ventures and such created have produced good strategy and tactics for me. Lord knows, you need good strategy and tactics for your brand (personal or business) these days. I'd be overwhelmed if I didn't. For example, I know why I interact on Brazen Careerist versus why I interact on LinkedIn. By the way, strategy and tactics will also lead you to learning the art of saying no and turning off things that have a button.
If we were living in the industrial age, then Google +, Facebook and Twitter would be nothing more than eye candy and entertainment. Since we are no longer in the industrial age, you should start acting differently. Differently in that you think like an entrepreneur, even if you're far from it in form. If you don't start acting differently, you may wake up and find yourself in a ghost town of one.
Found this site by way of Jeremiah Owyang's blog. LiveWorld has created a "social" application called LiveBar, that has tremendous potential. Sort of the turning what is static into what is dynamic idea.
Friday’s Epic Living Hourwill feature a conversation with Bill Balderaz, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Webbed Marketing. Bill will share his insights on social networks and the power behind viral marketing.