In the audio interview Seth Godin pointed out that marketing is no longer just about the buzz and promotional spin that mass marketers have used in the past to sell a product. Marketing is much more than that. He talked about marketing as everything to do with the product: what it can do, what it’s like to interact with, who knows about it, who wants it, who is talking about it. In short, the total experience with that product.
The importance of personal marketing
I got to thinking about how these principles apply to individuals, rather than companies or brands. How these ideas apply to you and me. How can we each take greater ownership of marketing ourselves to improve our business success and to accomplish our desired career goals.
Wearing my Marketing Motivator hat (that is 50% marketing + 50% motivator), let me give you some things to think about. I’ll frame it out in the classic five P’s of marketing:
- People. The people quotient in your personal marketing mix matters. Who do you serve? Who gets value from working with you, for you and alongside you? Who knows about you? Who cares about you? You respects you, recommends and refers you? Who likes your ideas and thought-leadership so much that they help to spread the word? Who’s talking about you right now? What are they saying?
- Product. You are a product. What makes you different? What makes you stand out? Your marketing job is to make yourself the best product you can be. Always be improving yourself. Always be learning. Never let your product go out of date or become irrelevant. Continuously strive to acquire new skills, new knowledge, new self-awareness, new experience. Your product does not have to be new or young, but your product does need to have some Wow-factor. Make sure your product is packaged well (i.e., upgrade your professional appearance). Make your product (that’s you) remark-able.
- Promotion. If you have any reservations about self-promotion, it’s time to get over it. No one is going to toot your horn for you. You need to let other people know about your skills and accomplishments somehow. You don’t need to brag, but you do need to inform. You can do this in a polite, professional and relatively modest way. But please get this good stuff about your product (you) out there in the public eye. It’s easy to showcase your product on Linkedin and on your resume. Third party endorsements are great too. Ask for recommendations and letters of reference from people who are pleased with your work.
- Place. Can people find you? Do you attend business and community events where your people can see you and interact with you? Do you have an on-line presence that people can get to easily? (web site, blog, facebook account, Linkedin account -with photo). Is there sufficient distribution of your product (that’s you) to allow it to grow and be discovered by other people who will become its fans and supporters?
- Price. Hold on to your price integrity. Stop giving away your value for free or discounting yourself before the negotiation even begins. Have the courage to state your price (desired salary, professional fees, project cost). Look them in the eye and use your vocal power when you make your ask. Know your walk-away price and be okay with declining the offer/opportunity. If your product (you) creates value for others, then it deserves value in exchange.
Your Networking Goal for the Week
Take some time this week to think about how you can better market yourself. Review the five P’s above and select one area to brush up on. If you need more feedback before getting started, ask a trusted client, colleague or networking friend who knows you well to give you an honest assessment of where they see your personal marketing strengths and weaknesses.
No matter who you are or what your current circumstance is – unemployed job seeker, gainfully employed professional, business leader, community leader, business owner, entrepreneur, aspiring politician, college student, or stay at home dad – you can grow your success by learning to better market yourself.
p.s. Don’t allow yourself to be a ‘best kept secret.’ That’s just an excuse for a lousy marketing job.
About the writer: Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book Networking Ahead for Business (Kiwi Publishing 2010). In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations, more effective networking and personal marketing. To learn more about Kathy, visit her web site MarketingMotivator.net. To receive free weekly networking tips, sign up at NetworkingAhead.com