Marketing is a knock-through sport.
The Solutions Ideator
Once you have created your brand i.e. the image you want others to have about you; you need to work on promoting your brand and staying top of mind among people interested in your area of work. In other words, you need to actively market yourself.
In order to effectively market yourself, you need to do the following-
- Distill the value you are creating:
State clearly in a paragraph what your work is and how it is adding value. You may further buttress your work with a very relevant picture.
- Identify your target market:
Your target market are those who can help you get to where you want to go. To be effective with your marketing, you need to identify 15-25 people with whom you should be working with to rapidly raise your visibility. Some of these people may already be in your network; you may however need to build new relationships with new people you identify as critical to marketing you.
These people fall into four groups as follows-
These set of people exchange value with you. They need you as much as you need them for success. They are typically customers and partners.
These people can help to promote you and refer others to the work you get done. Make it easy for them to do this, ask them to send in a referral statement that you then use in your marketing materials. Call them regularly to refer someone in their network to you. They will readily do this for you because as you succeed, they also will succeed as you will need them to supply more of what you need for your work.
Who can you identify as collaborators in your work?
Catalysts connect you to others in their network
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These set of people usually have very large networks. They are very active and popular in their communities and usually know who is doing what in many different endeavours.
They are catalysts because they can link you with those who can help scale your work.
You need to ask them to promote your work from time to time and to refer people who can support you as well.
Who in your network can you list as a catalyst?
These are high achievers who are willing to mentor and coach you. They are people to whom you should turn to for advice regularly. You should also leverage their network in the high places of society so as to ensure that you have access to the resources-both human and otherwise within this stratum of society to support your work.
Stay close to them, keep them informed about what you are doing, ask them to mention you to people who can support you and watch yourself get nominated into national and international projects.
If anybody wants to know more about you, they will typically ask someone at your level to tell them about you.
You need identify those at your level who are very successful at what they do and who are well regarded by superiors for what they deliver. Ask these colleagues to write a statement about you and your work. Feel free to ask them to modify it as appropriate-after all they are your colleagues.
This serves two purposes-
- It helps these colleagues have a clear idea of what you want them to say about you should someone ask them.
- It also serves as a recommendation from a high flyer currently at your level, who may most likely be asked to say something about you in the near future.
Remember that you will need to find ways to do something for the people in your list who you ask to promote you. You will need to strengthen your relationships with these people by actively getting involved in supporting them both in their personal and business lives as appropriate. This will help keep you top of their mind and enhance the frequency at which they promote you. Use the matrix below to create your list and your relationship strengthening plan-
|Name of the contact(could be a person or an organization)||Category(could be collaborators, catalysts, counselors or colleagues)||What Drives & Motivates them?(this should inform what you decide to do to strengthen your relationship with them)|
- Enhance your visibility:
Low visibility is no visibility.
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You therefore need to actively expand, map and leverage your network as aforementioned.
In order to enhance your visibility, you need to create an image of you as an authority in the area of your work. This will require you to do the following-
- Regularly study technical and newsworthy items in your field of work.
- Actively seek to speak and participate in seminars and conferences in your area of work. Look up upcoming conferences and send your profile, evidence of your work and your created writings to the organisers. Ask them to have you on as a speaker.
- Create knowledge by writing actively on interesting topics related to what you do. Seek to be a thought leader in your field. Remember that if you do not have the time, you may get copywriters to write for you. Visit http://www.elance.com in order to get people to write for you.
- Create a thought provoking book in your field of endeavor. This book should be developed on the back of extensive research and should include expert opinions as well. Ensure that you state a clear view on the subject matter contained in the book and use empirical data to back this up. To get expert opinion, write to identified experts in your field telling them about the book you are writing. Ask them for their opinion on a specific question which you intend to have included in the book. Ensure you send them copies of the book with their opinions well highlighted. Ask them to promote the book for you. You can distribute the book in bits through short posts on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. You may also send in excerpts to newspapers and magazines with links embedded within the text to the e-version of the book.
- Generate regular newsletters and distribute to your clients and collaborators. The content of these newsletters should help solve problems you know these people have.
- Volunteer at events related to the work you do.
- Contact radio and television presenters to have you on their shows to talk about matters related to the work you do.
- Send the articles you create to print media and journals to have them published. Always remember to put in a link to your online page.
- Leverage marketing tools:
Create tools that can market you when no one else is present to do it for you.
A very useful marketing tool is a case study.
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A case study is a write up that highlights you solved a problem for a client. You may not name the client but you may describe them in detail. In the case study, you start by stating the problem your client faced and how this affected them. Detail how you solved the problem and the result achieved after your solution was implemented. Provide relevant data in exhibits so that readers may analyse the case and engage with you on how else you may have solved the problem.
Send this case study to business schools, blogs and newsletters.
Marketing is a contact sport. You need to stay in touch with your network at least once a month. Also ensure that your marketing activities are conducted on a predictably regular basis. You cannot afford to be inconsistent in marketing you if you want to stay top of mind among your target market.
Remember that no one will market you as effectively as you can market yourself. Take responsibility to personally market your brand and tell me about the wave of opportunities that rush onto you as a result.