The business of You – Marketing
Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com took the company to become the fastest company in history to reach $1, $2, $3 and $4 billion dollars in revenue due to their innovative and state of the art customer relationship management system. Dozens of Fortune 500 companies have given praise to Salesforce.com as being a major contributor to an increase in profits and happier customers across multiple industries. This company is the #1 in what it does as a customer relationship management ecosystem in the world. They are also one of two companies to emerge from the internet 1.0 era to be able to call themselves a winner in regards to building shareholders wealth (the other company being Amazon).
What does Salesforce have to do with the business of You? There is no better company than Salesforce.com that represents the value that an effective marketing platform can bring to a business. The intricate metaphor continues, but as Salesforce.com alludes to, marketing is about relationships more now than ever before in the history of business. Relationships with those around you take into account sales, advertising and brand.
For introverts like myself, we get more entertainment out of being alone than being with others. Our minds are able to create a world that we feel comfortable with in an almost addictive stasis. However, the business of You, like all other businesses, requires that you get out there in the world and build some relationships. There is no better way to drive value for yourself and others around you.
Let’s get right into it. Sales is the most important metric across every industry. It’s the only way a company can stay in business. However, we know this deep down inside already, right? In fact we spend a majority of our young adulthood trying to sell ourselves to our friends for acceptance.
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who formed the theory of the hierarchy of needs for every human being. The third stage is love and belonging. Every human being whether they know it or not has a deeply rooted need to be socially accepted, so as teenagers we become natural sales people.
Remember going back-to-school shopping? We wanted to look the part so that we can feel and be recognized as cool and accepted. Remember the crazy things you would do for your first crush?
We would do anything to get that sale. It seemed that my parents’ advice would only barely linger in the depths of my memory as I yearned to get my first sale – my first girlfriend. As young adults we have all had times when logic was completely tossed out of the window just to fulfill a deeply rooted desire to be accepted in some kind of way. There was never a more natural time that we were salespeople than in our adolescent years.
Of course when we become professionals and we’ve surpassed the social acceptance stage, we have to continue to be able to sell ourselves. Having the charm, charisma and gift of gab to get another individual to buy what you are selling them can arguably be the most valuable skill anyone could ever have. This social skill can only be honed by staying cognizant of how others respond to your delivery.
When I went into sales out of college, I was taught a science. The human mind uses heuristics, or mental shortcuts to adapt and optimize its own performance. Those who understand the shortcuts can hack into another person’s mind and convince them to act or react in a way that they want them to. A colleague of mine is a master salesman. One of his best skills is his ability to understand what drove another individual almost instantaneously. When an individual feels like you understand them, they open up and are willing to share even more.
Once you understand what they want, as long you have what they need, you should be able to close. I like to think of sales as everyday human interaction. Just as businesses fight tooth and nail to sell as much as possible in a 24 hour day, the business of You should treat every human interaction as a chance to get a sale. You don’t have to sell a product or a service, but maybe an idea or a frame of thought. It’s the key to getting what you want.
Remember when you were in your junior year of college and thinking how maybe it was time to start securing your career path? We built our LinkedIn accounts and fixed our social media images and/or privacy settings to professionally brand ourselves to the various companies we’ve submitted our resumes to. This idea of mass marketing ourselves is what a business would call advertising. Advertising yourself is like saying “Hey world, look at me. This business of Me is pretty freaking cool and you should check me out”. However, the same way companies pay Facebook, Google and third party marketing companies for their target marketing, the business of You should also look to hone in on a percentage of your targeted audience. The goal of advertising is to send a consistent message to your target audience. Subconsciously that targeted individual will begin to associate you with your business.
For the business of You, this is an effective way to let your social umbrella know what defines you and allows others see you the way you want to be seen. Life can be tough and being an adult can have its rude awakenings, but we control what others know about us. We tend to advertise our accomplishments and hide our failures. This is a simple attempt to effectively advertise the business of You. Sometimes, advertising your failures can work out in your favor. People like to see that you recognize your flaws and your areas of improvement. When Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle was hired in December 2010, he decided to focus most resources into recreating the way the pizza tasted. After doing a large focus group and finding out that Domino’s pizza “tasted like cardboard” to consumers, he decided to launch an international marketing campaign recognizing that their pizza needed a change in recipe. The campaign caught consumers off guard, but it gained their attention. Domino’s then began to advertise the “New and Inspired” pizza recipe. The company has increased profitability every year since then.
Advertising and public relations can also be viewed as a science. Social media advertising has been put into algorithms so that the formula can take into account all demographics to blast the ad accordingly. Advertising feeds off of consumer information. I helped recognized his customer acquisition costs with his current advertising campaign. With that kind of insight he was able to plan for future campaigns using past data. Companies keep all of this data stored somewhere so that it can be analyzed and acted upon accordingly. Executives use hardcore charts, key performance indicators and dashboards like the ones I create for my clients at Bryant Capital Solutions. The business of You should not advertise yourself without doing a full analysis of your target market. Take notes and study the targeted audience before advertising to them. Look first to understand and then be understood.
Building a brand is like linking a string of advertising campaigns, to craft how you want your target audience to see you. Companies take their brand very serious, it is an intangible asset that can be extremely valuable depending on the business. Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to drive their brand in a direction that they feel reaches their target consumer. Nike spends millions on endorsement deals with professional athletes so that we as the consumer will buy the product of our favorite athlete. Lawsuits can be filed against those who damage the brand of that company, just as one could sue for slander.
Our image is our brand. We have significant control over how others perceive us. Just as a business strategizes marketing efforts to build a desired brand, so should you. Take the time to strategically plan how you will convey your brand to your target market. The following are 3 key performance activities that companies use to market their business. You should follow suit.
- Seek to understand your target audience better.
- Stay in contact with your target audience through as many avenues as possible.
- Focus on building your current relationships.
Throughout this series, we’ve touched on management, finance, accounting and marketing. The intricate metaphor has shown that you truly are your own first business and you should run your life as if you were running a fully functional business. We will continue next time with technology for our final segment of The Business of You.