Six months in, I wanted to share some thoughts on positioning expertise. Most businesses and business people are good at something. Indeed, expertise like yours is sought after. But few companies and individuals ‘tell it’ or ‘sell it’ effectively.
I’ve been deliberately building my profile since 2009, when I really started to think about positioning. This advice may help you to differentiate, attract new connections and create new business opportunities.
Positioning on expertise, for me, comes in five parts.
1. Stand for something
Since 2009 it’s always been b2b marketing for me – blue collar or white lab coat, big ticket engineering and manufacturing – companies selling products or services into multiple buyers and influencers that takes time. Helping with specification selling.
Agencies that were good at this turned their back on it chasing ‘more valuable clients’. Technology began to seduce marketers and consultants that stayed in b2b, but what about the huge number of companies that make and deliver brilliant products everyday?
Added to this was a realisation that the world was changing and these companies and their markets were changing forever – because of improved internet and the mobile phone.
So, projecting expertise using digital marketing in b2b markets seemed a relevant, under-developed and worthwhile market to hit on.
Learning 1: Do you know who you serve? Do you know what you offer? (Not the functional thing – but the benefit, the value – clue: it has to be personal – time, money, waste, performance)
2. Put yourself at the centre of the discussion
I wanted to get hired. Sure, I knew people but I wanted a platform. So I blogged, I got on Twitter. And I joined the two up. I looked to create eyeballs and content (chicken and egg). Even back in 2009, I realised that attention was going to be an important business currency moving forward.
I broadcasted new content and curated the best of other people’s content. I retweeted, commented, liked and shared high traffic business accounts to get retweets and follows and still do this on specialist topics today.
Learning 2: What do you know about that can help others (as in most situations and with most people you haven’t earned the right to sell yet?)
3. Get qualified
Getting in 2010, I realised if I was going to get the role I desired I needed some additional qualifications to act as credentials. I took two CIM Postgraduate Marketing courses in digital marketing to supplement my positioning. (This led me to a chance meeting with Dave Chaffey but more on that in influencers).
Having two new digital qualifications on my CV in 2011, with CIM in 1999 and my degree in 1995 showed continual and focused personal development to support my consulting credentials. (I also update my CIM Chartered Marketer status annually too.)
Learning 3: Are have you added since originally qualifying to give your credentials something customers might value?
4. Tap into influencers
In 2011, with additional qualifications and experience under my belt in b2b digital marketing, I wanted to amplify my voice and reach. I’d been blogging for 2 years at this point and had 100’s of subscribers. I had started to use some elements of Linkedin to seed content through updates and groups but it was getting harder.
I attended an IDM conference talk by Dave Chaffey – the author of most digital marketing text books and a CIM examiner (he had marked my exam papers). We had a five minute talk and I quickly became the primary b2b marketing contributor for SmartInsights.
We’ve co-authored a 250 page guide that was re-issued in it’s third version in April 2016. I’ve also secured scores of talks, publications, introductions, paid talks, and training and consulting projects. He has been instrumental in me going solo.
Learning 4: Is there an influencer in your market you might be able to meet, approach, partner with?
5. Give back
Since 2013, regardless of where I worked, and especially in 2015-16, I’ve given free talks on a variety of b2b and digital marketing elements. Why? Perhaps to drive interest in services I or a then employer might provide. But primarily to help people. Yes, I’m building an audience to win some clients but I’m also investing in building a trust base too.
I give back to marketing managers in order to offer ideas and get to a position to earn permission to talk one-to-one. And I talk to students (marketing managers of the future) and their tutors (to increase my ability to influence.
I’m part of a nationwide networking group called 4N and regularly give 20 minute 4sight marketing talks. Visit the speaking page to check dates.
Learning 5: Have you thought through who you need to get in front of? Can you give us a 4sight here, or somewhere in Cheshire, that will help us in our daily business life?
Q: What could you be doing to position your expertise better?
Share in the comments below. And if you liked this article, please share it on social media.
And, consider booking onto Mastering Linkedin – a half day masterclass in Manchester. Dates are 3rd or 4th May, early bird price (ending 10pm 22 April) is only £45 and all delegates receive two freebies – the slides as PDF and my 250 page Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing ebook as a thank you for attending.