Marketers, To Be Innovative, Know Yourself First

Mere competence is not enough. There are plenty of “average” marketers out there in the world.

So what do you bring to work that makes you more effective than them?

If you can’t answer this question, you’ve got a problem.

And today, marketers, your clients need you to come up with innovative new approaches and ideas more than ever before. There’s too much competition out there to deliver the same old product, diminishing returns will take over. But before you can do this, make sure you know your own brand value.

First, Determine The Value Proposition of YOU, INC.

Marketing starts with marketing yourself. And that means knowing what you excel at and what you stand for. Fortunately, we are now in an age where standing out is better than fitting in, and you are in charge of your “brand”. Whether you work in-house, freelance or in an agency, we are allfree agents. As Seth Godin says in his book, The Icarus Deception:

Our cultural instinct is to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission, authority, and safety that come from a publisher or a talk-show host or even a blogger who says, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you — that Prince Charming has chosen another house in his search for Cinderella — then you can actually get to work. The myth that the CEO is going to discover you and nurture you and ask you to join her for lunch is just that, a Hollywood myth. …The opportunity is not to have your résumé picked from the pile but to lead.

Notice I did not say you had to be the “best”. There’s always someone better at any specific thing, but there’s only one YOU. And that’s what you need to be. Be your special combination of skills, knowledge, and experience. Knowing your strengths and what you deliver is the best way to strategically develop your career.

Next, consciously determine what that means to your customers.

Then, Be Visible

Of course, being unique isn’t enough by itself. You have to speak up, stand out and make yourself seen and heard. Share your insights, even if they may be controversial. Deliver such great service to your customers that you’re seen as invaluable. Be the person in the office that everyone goes to for help. There are many ways to be visible if you’re brave enough to try. If you’re outstanding and nobody knows, what’s the difference? You work in marketing after all.

Other ways marketers can be consistently visible inside or outside of an organization:

  • Blog, either on your own site or with the publishing features on social platforms (don’t have the time? You can always hire a ghostwriter)
  • Create videos on topics you care about
  • Respond thoughtfully to email inquiries
  • Share your thoughts on the industry you work in on LinkedIn or other social sites
  • Help promote company activities and events
  • Be a contrarian, when warranted
  • Tout your own results when they happen (but be sure to credit the team, nothing gets done alone)

Last, ignore the Naysayers, But Pay Attention to Results

If you’re visible enough, you’ll start to get detractors. Critics don’t matter, though. Whether you get reviews, online comments, emails or any other input that drags you down, stop reading them. Your critics may not even represent who you are actually trying to reach at all. They’re just a source of negative energy you need to disregard to keep doing what you’re doing.

That doesn’t mean you never make adjustments, though. Instead of listening to naysayers, look at the results you create instead and evaluate from there.

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