The business model for the young and glamorous has gotten very clear to me:
1. Go somewhere to “be discovered” for your good looks and fabulous abs
2. Become a famous model or dancer
3. Start acting
4. Have some really public, screwed up relationships and get married and divorced a few times
5. Record a CD
6. Start a clothing line
7. Create a signature perfume
If your career is long enough, you can probably add:
8. Get addicted to drugs
9. Go to rehab
10. Pitch beauty products on QVC
Each day, the list of celebrities launching perfume lines gets longer.
Frankly, it is boring.
Because it has become the “thing to do,” it doesn’t stand out anymore. As I was doing a bit of poking around about this subject, I learned that I am not alone in my observations, since the perfume sector thinks there is celebrity overkill too.
Here is how this phenomenon relates to the rest of us non-glamorous mortals (maybe I should speak for myself – some of you may be busy launching perfume lines without me knowing it):
If you are new to business marketing, you will find that for many areas of specialty, especially in the services business, there is a prescribed path:
- Identify your target market
- Start an ezine so you can build a mailing list
- Create a free report to entice people on your list
- Write articles and submit them to directories
- Start a blog
- Create infoproducts
- Write really long sales letters
- Conduct teleclasses and group workshops
- Connect up with important people for joint ventures
- Implement SEO techniques on your website
- Write a book
- Hit the speaking circuit
- Charge $5,000 a day for the same thing you used to charge $200 for
- Create an exclusive weekend workshop where you hobnob with your starstruck clients at exotic locations
You’ve seen all this, right?
There is a good reason why these prescribed marketing techniques are so popular: they work.
But here is the important caveat: They work for the right people in the right situations.
Two perfectly capable coaches could implement all these steps and come out with wildly different results. The reason?
- For Coach #1, this process fits with her natural interests and abilities, she enjoys doing it, she has something unique and important to share and her enthusiasm is genuine. My friend Philippa Kennealy is a good example of this with her business The Entrepreneurial MD. A former MD-turned-coach, she has built her business step by step, doing all the “right things” from a marketing perspective. As she puts in each new piece of infrastructure, she learns from expert mentors and is disciplined and rigorous in her testing, implementation and delivery. The right clients find her, and love her, because she does excellent work. Frankly, she makes me sick she is so productive, but that is just jealousy talking. 🙂
- For Coach #2, this process feels awkward, uncomfortable and disingenuous. She does it because she thinks she “has to,” and hates every minute of it. I have certainly seen examples of this, but I don’t think it would be kind to call them out to all my readers (Can you imagine being the person who gets an incoming link based on your site sucking so bad?). Let me just say you know who you are. And I want to help put you out of your misery, because doing a bunch of stuff that you hate because it is what you think you should do is worse than being an opressed cube dweller.
So what is the alternative if you are repelled by the thought of doing the “right things?”
- Before rejecting any model, you must learn it. Do not mix up discomfort at doing something new with aversion to doing it at all. Remember the conscious competence learning model,and how you have to “stumble the mumble” before you “walk the talk.” I will put my list of recommended marketing reading at the end of this post.It is like someone inviting you to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. You have never had the food before, but you know you have to eat with your hands, and that kind of freaks you out. Instead of just refusing to go, try it once. Then try it again, at a different restaurant with a different friend. You may find that Ethiopian food cooked by anyone anywhere isn’t for you. Or, you could be like Sam I Am’s friend and find that once you finally try it, you actually like Green Eggs and Ham.
- Choose a couple of marketing methods and really work them. Your criteria for selection should be A) has the greatest likelihood of getting you the results you want and B) is the most fun and energizing to do.A great example is Hello, My Name is Scott, known as “That Nametag Guy.” He took a simple marketing technique, wearing a nametag, and worked and worked and worked it into a mini-marketing empire. The mainstream press ate it up, and now he has a much broader platform as a personal branding expert with books and big-time speaking engagements.My one-trick pony is blogging, and I have found that it is a perfect way to stay energized when marketing my business while sharing information with the people I care most about. Sure I need to do some more marketing activities, and I will. But for now, blogging works for me.
- Don’t be afraid to do something different. If every coach or software developer or financial adviser on your block is utilizing the same marketing technique and it is bland and boring, cook up something new.Angelina Jolie, although checking off a few points on the celebrity business model list (multiple screwed up relationships, anyone?), took a left turn when instead of launching a perfume line, became an honorary U.N.Ambassador. I get the feeling that she did this not as a buzz-building technique, but because she really cares.In the same vein, goth rocker Marilyn Manson is launching a perfume and cosmetics line. I know, I know, it is a perfume and cosmetics line. But it is kind of interesting because Marilyn Manson is doing it. Aren’t you simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by what he will come up with? (As an example, I was going to link to his site, but it is so totally horrifying that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. View at your own risk)
Just remember, there is nothing wrong with following a well-established formula if it feels genuine and works for you. If it doesn’t, go with your gut and choose a way of getting the word out about yourself that is real, exciting and sustaining. By doing so, you just may find yourself miles ahead of the herd.
Finally, here are the marketing books and resources I have gotten great value from. Read them, take what you like and toss the rest.
Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Multiple Streams of Coaching Income by Andrea Lee
Robert Middleton’s Infoguru Marketing Manual
There are more, but this is a good start. (I used affiliate links)