Finding Yourself and Your Customers in Your Marketing
I have long told my clients, “You are your biggest asset in your business, and in marketing.” I believe that the strengths of an individual point naturally to marketing methods and messages. When you maximize those, marketing is both easier and more effective. When you work against them, things become hard, and less successful.
A client of ours recently married. Her new last name was one that she felt uncomfortable in – she did not care for it, felt it was not necessarily a good image for her business. She had pondered and reached deep into herself to come up with a business name and imagery. She felt that what she had suited that vision.
She hired a marketing coach to help her to generate some clients. The first thing he told her is that she needed to rename her business, to her last name. He felt it was unusual enough to be memorable and that she should capitalize on it. He also told her to revise her business images, and totally rebuild it. She came back to me and asked me my opinion.
I disagreed with the marketing pro. It had nothing to do with his expertise, but with HER. He may have known how to get clients for himself, but he did not know her, and he did not seem to want to. I reminded her that she disliked her last name, but she loved her business name and felt it reflected a part of herself. That her business name was what she felt inspired to call it. I did not feel that she would be able to confidently go out there and promote her business if it was gutted of the very vision she had felt so strongly that she needed to promote. Her business name and imagery was wrapped up in who she is, and in the purpose of what she does. I felt if she removed those things, that she would be decapitating her business vision, and would remove her own ability to even do it any more. I also felt that in the event that it did work, it might bring clients to her that were not the ones she wanted to be working with.
My gut feeling about the marketing pro was that he was uncomfortable with who she was. That he wanted to remake her into a clone of himself, because that was the only success path he could envision. He did not understand that there are many ways to market, and many ways to succeed, and he simply could not get far enough outside himself to see who she really was, or to perceive any part of her as a strength, nor to be able to counsel her on how to USE her inborn strengths. He said that her site was wrong for the entire market she was aiming for – but the market was very diverse, and the messages were only wrong for the segment HE preferred. It was less a matter of it being wrong for the market than it was of his lack of ability to even SEE that portion of the market. She did not want the same customers he did, and he could see no value in any other.
I feel that when we create a business vision that is part of who we are, that it will naturally attract people whom we will be able to help, whereas when we use marketing methods that are not in line with our beliefs and personality, we are likely to end up with customers or clients that are a poor fit, even if we do manage to get any. Being who we are and stretching within that, is the best tool we have.
It doesn’t mean we don’t have to learn marketing skills. We do. But we learn skills and methods that are in harmony with our personality. When we stretch, we don’t go outside who we are, we simply extend our strengths. Over time, we become a new person, but it is a magnification of the best in us, not being rebuilt in someone else’s image.
You do have to step outside your comfort zone. But you still do it by being yourself. You don’t do it by trying to be someone else. The Lord has blessed us each with strengths, and expects us to use them. In order to use them successfully in business, you have to identify them, and then magnify them in ways that help you in reaching your goals. When you look at your business vision, and your marketing plans, make sure they are things you feel good about. If they make you feel a bit slimy, they are NOT right for you!
When getting help with marketing, the first thing any marketing coach, or consultant should do, is get to know you, and to get to know your business vision. If they don’t seem to be “getting” that, then they are not going to be able to help you market successfully, because they won’t know who you are trying to reach, and they won’t understand what really differentiates your business, because 90% of the uniqueness of your business IS you, and your unique way of doing what you do. Good marketing assistance is personal, and personalized. It isn’t a “system”, and it isn’t about making you into them. It is about drawing out what is best in you, and using that as your marketing strength.