You know that professional or company that really seems to have it all together. They seem to float through turbulent waters with a level of effortless grace that’s really frustrating to see when you’re working your butt off and look… less… graceful.
How do they do it?
Maybe they’re born with it. Maybe they don’t have to try, because it’s encoded into their DNA, and they just know exactly what to do. Maybe they’re just lucky (cough cough Kim Kardashian cough cough). Maybe there’s a lot more to it.
Before we go any further, let’s recognize that there are two “it” actions in play. The first “it” is the skill that they are known for. The second “it” is their ability to promote that skill and stay relevant. When we ask, “how do they do it”, we’re really asking about both. They’re doing it all right. The third “it” is terrifying, let’s skip over it.
That’s an important distinction, because a lot of us humans have a skill that we’re really good at, and there’s a really good chance that we were born with some related natural talent. If we’ve chosen to make this skill our profession, we’re using that talent to build upon. We should be so good at our schtick that there’s no denying it is our life’s calling. That obviously takes a commitment to constant improvement, but let’s assume that the person or company you’re examining was, indeed, partially born with the first “it”. You have to be damn good at your job to succeed. No secret there.
The second “it” is a much different story. Virtuosos and geniuses rarely make great communicators (lookin’ at you, Elon Musk), so promoting their skill and maintaining relevance requires some level of strategic marketing. If you’re fully committed to your craft, chances are that you speak a different language than the rest of the world, and you need a translator. This is ultra-important when communicating with potential customers. They understand their pain. If they understood the solution as in-depth as you do, they probably wouldn’t need your help. Translation is a big part of the marketing process.
Effective conversations that connect with prospects relate to their pain, helping them identify the real problem. Only after they’ve identified their problem can you talk about solving it with your talent, and that conversation has to be focused on their experience, not your level of geekery. Messaging is just one small part of the process. You also have to build the right structure to make finding and acting on the information as easy as possible for prospects.
You can be amazingly talented, yet completely disconnected from the people who will appreciate it.
You can have amazing marketing, yet lack the talent to do your job well, but that will lead to fast-traveling bad reviews.
Those who are truly winning are born with it AND have great marketing.
Are you paying attention to both?
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