A Novice’s Tale: Understanding Marketing Basics
Yet another piece about the marketing woes of a Noob; fortunately for you, it’s pretty short and sweet this week. I’ve had so many marketing ideas, but they all fell flat, and then I had a conversation that, hopefully, will change everything.
Disclosure. I use Generative AI tools to help me when writing. From outline suggestions to topics or subtleties I had yet to think of.
Staying in the Safe Zone
Everything I have been doing has been nice, safe, and well-ensconced within my comfort zone. It would be great if it worked, but it doesn’t, so I guess I have to step out of my comfort zone and start to be more effective.
I’ve tried writing about my professional experiences and will continue to do so. Sharing my posts isn’t anywhere near enough, as my targeted audience is simply unaware that they exist. I’ll keep writing, of course, but I need to get my face known. I need to get out there in the nasty world and meet people. What a horrible thought for an introvert.
The problem doesn’t lie with the services I am offering; they can effectively reduce costs, eliminate stress, and help ensure the timely delivery of accurate solutions. But if these services remain hidden, they are about as useful as a chocolate ashtray. I need to foster brand awareness for my company; starting small is enough. I need to learn how to walk before trying to run.
This week, I’ll share my immediate plans for becoming more visible to the companies that will benefit from my experience in my field. This is and has long been a passion project of mine; it has frustrated and irritated me for years—the provision of unclear and incomplete specifications of requirements provided by customers.
Marketing Uncharted Territory
In a nutshell, the problem is identifying potential clients. These services are not generally applicable to all small to medium-sized companies, at least not within a specific time frame. Instead, they are specific to certain events that most companies encounter periodically. That is, whenever they are in the market for an IT solution, either a custom or an off-the-shelf product.
Discovering and approaching them must be within the limited window of opportunity before they put their requirements out to tender. There may be a small amount of flexibility here; even if the requirement is out to tender, it’s generally still possible to update it. They don’t typically publicise this, so finding them at the right time is extremely difficult.
My recent conversation suggested a possible solution, although it will mean being unlikely to reach small to medium-sized companies. But if this works, then brand awareness will be increased, and ideally, the entities I wish to help will also become more aware of my company’s existence.
The suggestion is that by scanning through the professional job markets, we can extract possible targets that might be in the process of planning new Information Technology projects. Contacting these companies increases the likelihood of talking to one or two in the precise phase where my services would be most beneficial.
Trial by Fire
Exactly who to contact is a more minor issue; for example, the person’s contact details may be posted along with the position details. The most important information that can be gleaned is the names of the sponsoring companies. From there, we can search for likely candidates.
Next is the hard part, for me anyway. Actually, contacting and talking to people, but in what format? The best would be to ask for a short appointment to pitch my company’s services face to face. Emailing is a non-starter in my book; I’ve discussed this before. Unsolicited emails tend to be classified as junk or simply deleted without ever being read.
Fortunately, social media, specifically LinkedIn, provides a way of personally contacting individuals by direct messaging. Ideally, however, it would be to call directly and even if the target doesn’t pick up, at least leave a voicemail. Failing all of these approaches, there is always snail mail.
But, no matter what the format of the initial contact is, I need to develop an elevator pitch, both written (not too long and to the point) and verbal. Oh, another little complication I had better mention: they both need to be in two languages: English and Dutch. 🤔
So, these are my primary goals for the next week or two:
- Develop a dual-language elevator pitch in the following formats:
- Research and compile a list of possible contacts across the Benelux region (where I’m based).
I’m comfortable with this, but I can’t afford to let myself slide back into my comfort zone again. There is nothing to be gained there; growing my business depends on the outside world.
Staying within my comfort zone will not cut it unless I am extremely lucky. This is bad news for us introverts, but we must force ourselves to get out and about. Show our faces, wave the flag, and demand attention no matter how uncomfortable that may feel.
The most important thing is to keep pushing. I’m not so naive to think that I’ll luck in with a new client immediately. But by trying, learning from painful experiences, and then trying again is the only way to move forward, as personally painful as it may be.
KodifyIT B.V. is an advisory bureau targeting businesses that have either been on the receiving end of a failed project or are aware of the potential pitfalls and wish to mitigate as much risk as possible while developing a project’s client requirements. We aim to side-step any issues before they cost time and money.
I apologise to my readers for some of the spellings you may feel are incorrect. I was born and brought up in the United Kingdom, and this is the spelling I am comfortable with (Grammarly is happy with it anyway).