As a technical person with loads of experience and a solid reputation for my expertise, I’ve never had to market myself per se in the past. But today’s world is different, and changing, and chaotic – and while word of mouth advertising is still my preferred method to gain new business, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. Strangely enough, the more I seek to do high quality consulting with companies really committed to process improvement, and the more I seek out conference speaking opportunities, the more I encounter marketing, advertising, and pure sales skills are what seems to separate the busy from the merely working to make a living!
In my father’s world, going to work (even entrepreneurs) and working hard was all it took for the majority of people to earn a solid living with a loyal company and a long career. Not so anymore. Today, those who are earning the top dollars in the software measurement and speaking businesses are less those with the high quality skills of analysis and communication and more those with sales forces, skilled marketers and slick advertising. Is this really what it takes today to stand out and be distinctive amongst all of those competing for work?
I’ve been thinking about this and especially in light of the fact that more and more layoffs are occurring in the United States and throughout the worlds – especially for 40-50 something age bracketed professional workers who can be much more cheaply replaced by foreign workers or outsourced partners. Just how can a technical professional whose strengths lie in experience and expertise find ample work without accepting a fulltime job (if he/she can even find one)? What are the acceptable limits of selling one’s strengths without overdoing it? What is the threshold to which our technical peers will still read ad copy and not gag at the pontification that some marketers use to “sell” bodies (as in body-shopping of professional services)?
I’d like to know what you think. If you’ve got ideas about how you would go about marketing your own professional services into higher quality work that is worthy of your skills and expertise (e.g., not for just “working” anywhere…), please post comments here. As more and more layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, and displacement happens here in the US (with a ripple effect throughout Europe and the world) we’re going to need the support of each other.
It’s not the world of our fathers (or even our older brothers) – and the quicker we adapt and adopt to the changes today, the better our children will be equipped to face tomorrow.
———–COPYRIGHT 2008 Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED————————