Saturday, November 24, 2007

Self Promoting

No, it’s not a cityscape from Paris. Or London. Or Brussels. Or any other place in Europe.

It’s the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where my wife and I visited our daughter recently (she worked for PriceWaterhouse down there for a year).

It’s an impressive, cosmopolitan city with beautiful architecture, trendy boutiques, lovely urban parks and fabulous restaurants. Closer to home, it reminded me at varying times of the best of New York and Chicago. In short, it’s everything we DIDN’T expect before we discovered it for ourselves.

Welcome to the international edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

I wonder why that is. Is it because Europe “promotes” itself better? Buenos Aires is no farther away than most European cities we’re already familiar with, even if we haven’t actually been there. And it’s in “our” hemisphere, not “theirs.” Maybe B.A. is still self-conscious over their recent economic woes. (But now’s the time to go – the dollar is worth three of theirs; pesos, that is.)

Anyway, it got me to thinking about self-promotion. And then I came across marketing guru Robert Middleton’s take on the subject. Here are excerpts from his recent e-zine:

Too Proud to Market?

I was talking to my friend Patrick last week about his wife Renee’s band.

"They don't feel comfortable promoting themselves. They feel self-conscious, even embarrassed about it."They know they're a great band and when people hire them, they love their music. So I think they wish that people would hire them without having to promote themselves. Perhaps they don't want to come across as if they needed more work."

I pointed out to Patrick that a very large percentage of independent business owners (from bands to consultants, from artists to financial planners) struggle with this. People feel too proud to market themselves. It shows up in their thinking: - If I'm great, people will finally discover me - I'm lowering myself by self-promotion - Promotion is boasting and I'm not a boaster - People will think I'm like a used car salesperson - I don't want to embarrass myself - I don't want to put myself out there and be rejected - People already know what I do, so why push it?

But aren't these all pretty poor excuses?Imagine you were listening to Renee's band, and in the middle of the gig they did a fun and interactive song to promote themselves. Wouldn't you smile? Wouldn't you accept a card? Wouldn't you take it home and stick it on your fridge?Would you feel pressured, manipulated and coerced into calling them to hire them for a special event or party? Of course not.

You'd understand that they, like every other enterprise, need to promote themselves. You'd actually appreciate that they did it in a fun way that got you involved and gave you an opportunity to contribute. And I'm also willing to bet you'd think about them every time someone said they were looking for a band for a special event or party. You might even pull the postcard off your fridge and hand it to a friend or your boss.

There are a ton of things you can do that will bring you more business. Any marketing consultant could come up with half a dozen good ones in less than an hour.But your pride will stop you. I've seen it in my clients hundreds of times. "You're suggesting I do what!!??" And then, with some gentle persuading, I point out that they probably won't die if they give it a shot.

And they do.

More clients flow in very soon after. And happiness replaces pride.

Joel Kweskin

No comments: