We’re all guilty of sticking to what we know; whether it’s in our choice of where to eat, or which brand of breakfast cereal we buy, and the way jobs and careers go we often find ourselves ploughing a very similar furrow. I’m all for specialisation – that’s how you get to be the best in your field. A deep network of contacts and domain knowledge are excellent reasons to hire someone.
But what if you were to get outside of your chosen vertical for a while? Whether that’s giving some marketing advice to a friend or family member, helping out at a non-profit or a small local business that you use. Doing this gives you the opportunity to test out your marketing abilities in a completely different direction.
In our day-job we (should) know the customer inside out. Things are a little different when you’re presented with the challenge of marketing to a customer base you don’t know so well — even if you’re one of them. It’s then that you can strip away the accumulated domain knowledge and get back to applying basic principles, testing your assumptions and truly stretching yourself. You might be the world’s best marketer of widgets but that’s almost irrelevant when you’re marketing a gourmet deli. It’s time to apply what you’ve learnt to a completely different niche and see just how universal your skill-set is.
Whilst I’m in transition between jobs I’m using some of the time to reach out to small businesses which can’t afford big-shot marketing consultants and don’t have all the skills in-house required to shift their marketing up a gear. Both of the business owners I’m working with have agreed to me posting details of my work for them here and I look forward to chronicling the development of their marketing and (hopefully) the lift this gives their businesses.
Photo credit: jhaskell