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.