It’s human nature. Everyone goes through it. Some notice it and overcome it. Others don’t. Those who do, find out what true leadership is. That it comes from knowing when to follow. Those who don’t, undermine progress by getting in their own way.
Nobody can be right 100% of the time. You cannot possibly know everything. That means there are times when you’ll need to yield to the expertise of others.
You may feel that you have a lot to offer. Something meaningful. Something worthwhile from which many can benefit. But perhaps you’re finding that just building it isn’t enough. They have not come.
Are you seeing your business the way others do? Do you possess the objectivity to uncover your own shortcomings and find ways to fix them? Do you have the guts to admit that maybe you made a false assumption or, heaven forbid, a mistake? NEWS FLASH, we all make mistakes.
At some point in our lives, we become shielded by our surroundings. We find comfort in familiar settings. They are predictable and manageable. It’s safe there.
But that comfort can quickly turn into constraint. Familiarity breeds contentment. Contentment breeds complacency. And complacency can kill your business. It happens to the smartest people out there. None of us are immune to it.
It’s human nature.
We often get too close to our business to see it the way others do. We build a virtual bubble around ourselves and lose the perspective needed to make sound strategic decisions. Some of us surround ourselves with sycophants who reinforce the bubble through their blind allegiance or fear of “making waves.” Waves come from tides. Tides help move things along.
If this sounds like your business, you’re in a big club. It’s not exclusive by any stretch. Those who recognize it are much better off in the long run. Those who don’t are destined to wallow in their own self-adulation while pointing fingers at everyone else when things begin to break.
So, what does this have to do with marketing?
Our job as marketers is to poke holes in the bubble to reveal what the true market perceives about your business and uncover ways to change those perceptions. It usually takes an outsider to do this. Company insiders typically lack the objectivity, boldness or opportunity to take the difficult steps of breaking down assumptions and changing “the way we’ve always done it.”
That takes courage. But it can also be employment suicide in the wrong company. But, contradiction does not have to result in conflict. Sometimes, it’s just better to leave these discussions to an outside consultant.
If you’re willing to be challenged in your assumptions, you’ve taken one huge step toward distinguishing yourself and bringing greater awareness to your business. If you’ve conceded that you don’t know everything, you’re demonstrating true leadership through your willingness to follow others. If you understand that making progress requires some risk-taking, you’re already one step ahead of many of your competitors.
Congratulations. These are no small accomplishments.
Successful in-house marketers get all of this. They learned along the way that they cannot do it all themselves. They don’t have all the answers or the resources to find them. Sometimes, they have to bring in outside help. They need to consult with those who are not biased by internal conditions and mindsets. The fresh perspective of an independent consultant can be the difference maker.
We’re here to challenge your assumptions, but not question your judgment. We’re here to poke holes in the bubble and pull you out of your comfort zone. We’re here to help get you out of your own way.
This is where meaningful and effective decisions are made. This is where you can make the greatest impact and take major steps toward reaching your long-term goals.
This is your day.
Let’s get started. We have a sharp stick ready.
As the calendar year winds down, it always a good idea to take a step back to revisit and refresh your marketing. Your business will be better off by doing so. But, don’t go overboard and be too disruptive.
We’ve collected a number of the more salient points from our blog and are presenting them as a marketing reality check list. A good number of these apply to new or small businesses. But you’ll also find that some of the largest corporations in the world make many of the same missteps.
Running a successful business relies heavily on managing resources and using them wisely. But certain marketing essentials require investments and should be treated as such. In fact, many of them are pre-requisites to profitability.
Networking is not just about making connections and creating awareness of your business. It’s also about forming an alliance of credible professionals to help you fill organizational gaps and be able to confidently refer others.
When you meet new prospects, network or attend industry events, the moment you hand out your business card, your credibility will be on the line. If you’ve taken a long time to build a first-rate reputation, don’t let a second-rate website undo it.
Get to know your customers on a more personal level and understand what’s behind their buying decisions. Make them feel special and important. Engage them while listening between the lines about their needs and concerns. You’re not just providing a product or service; you’re providing a unique and positive experience that will distinguish you from your competitors and lead to more referrals.