Life and Marketing: Nobody Likes a Know-it-All

Do you remember when you knew it all? When you had an answer for everything and everyone? If so, you probably recall that you were somewhere between the ages of 13 and 25. By the time you hit your 30's you realize that you know almost nothing - that this universe is much bigger than the human brain. As an adult, each day you are faced with more to learn, to know. As marketing professionals, it is important to make sure that you have knowledge and skill but wisdom to use them effectively. You may be "all tech" but that doesn't mean your customers are. Understanding your audience is as important as understanding your product or service.

Excellence Not Perfection

Marketing is a process. Perfection is associated with completion. As a writer, I laugh at the notion. Perfection refers to a condition that does not need work or continuous improvement. In order to stay current and engage your customers, you need to both. If your marketing plan is finished, your business growth could be finished as well. Last year, I completed work on a successful 5-year program tha helped Michigan businesses succeed. One of my duties was to execute contracts. Many of the contracts were for marketing projects including consultants and web improvements. As bad as Michigan economy had become, many operations still did not have trained marketing and sales staff. So much of our business was previously tied to the auto industry - that, for years, many suppliers did not really need a rigorous marketing plan. Those days are gone and are not coming back. With Social Media, the face and needs of consumers are constantly changing. Excellence should be the only level at which you allow your organization to operate in, but perfection is not only unrealistic but could also be a waste of time. 

Adviser Not Expert

The difference between an adviser versus an expert is not a reflection of knowledge or skills, it is a reflection of expectations and interest. Unless it is your plastic surgeon, the person providing the product or service is not expected to know everything. Fortunately, marketing is a lot more forgiving than the world of plastic surgery. If you already know everything, you lose the opportunity to learn from your customers, readers, or students. Also, in the quest to become the expert, sometimes you can absorb so much knowledge that you start talking and writing like a textbook within your field. This can make customers feel like you are talking above them or belittling their lack of terminology which can hinder communication lines.
"My interest is is in having a relationship with an organization or an individual, one in which we talk about opinions and experience and where I help with potential outcomes, " says Chris Brogan, in his book Social Media 101.

Support Not Dr. Know-it-All

As twenty-twelve begins, so does the implementation of new goals created as resolutions. When starting a new goal, it is important to have a system of support in place. Support comes from different places, for a reason. For instance, nobody wants to be married in witness of all singles. At least some of the crowd needs to have a thriving love, a surviving marriage, some wisdom to impart. Similarly, make sure that when you look for mentors and connections, that you have adequate support within your field from content experts. But, trust yourself as well. Marketing is not an exact science. Being open to suggestions from other organizations and businesses, competitors, readers, students, and customers can hold gems that you won't get from Dr. Know-it-All.