Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Your Values are Marketing Essentials

The theme of 2010, value, is still alive and well. Conflict around this concept frequently comes up when I'm teaching the "Don't Pick a Niche" Marketing Workshop. The first nmarketing concept each group works on is value. Specifically, what are the values of each person in the workshop and how they are essential to effective Small Business Marketing.

Traditional marketing wisdom focuses extensively on benefits and outcomes. One of the participants last week made the brilliant connection between this focus and and the never-ending pressure in the job market to completely turn yourself into a dissassociated bunch of skills. The next step is to then relentlessly "market" yourself by trying to figure out exactly whick "product" configuration will be purchased by a possible employer.

Most employers also operate from this perspective. I agree that a candidate needs to have the ability to do the tasks of the job, or better yet the ability to learn the additional tasks they don't already have. And there's more.

A first impression happens in 2-3 seconds. This mostly unconscious decision becomes the driver for the entire conversation; driving towards the pre-assumed outcome. Even highly trained individuals struggle to behave differently, in fact most of them fail, regardless knowing how the game goes. Long before an interview conversation gets to skills, the deal is mostly sealed.

The same reality is good and bad news for your marketing. You have a maximum 2-3 seconds to get a potential customer's attention--through some media channels the timing is much smaller. Just as individual values influence clothing choices, vocabulary and attitude about a job, the presence of embedded values will work for or against you.

Why you do what you do; what you love about your work combine to make an important foundation for your marketing efforts. Consider: most consistently taught marketing techniques are out of the loop on the newest, freshest, more empowered ways to communicate with your potential clients.

Heidi Sue

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