How many corporate trainers does it take to change a lightbulb? Just the one, of course, but all the others say, “I can do that”.
In times of recession or downturn, business is not as abundant as it once was in the good times. In the good times you had plenty, and you probably didn’t market as much as you should have done. So, when famine strikes a good trainer or businessperson will turn themselves to anything.
That’s a grave danger.
It dilutes what you’re about, damages your “brand”, sends out the wrong message to your marketplace, but it might help pay your mortgage, temporarily.
Diversify your offering, and you should too. But diversify into correlated activities that represent your expertise. The corporate trainer might deliver an online workshop on mental health and resilience to earn a fee or please a boss. But they probably won’t do the topic justice, having just read a book on it. The mortgage adviser might start advising on home insurance or Lasting Power of Attorney. That’s linked.
This is where the real definition of marketing comes in. Market to your niche, but if you want to, you can accept work from other niche areas, if it fits.
My partner, Shelley, is a keen darts player. She started at the tender age of 13 since her parents ran a pub and she was often drafted into the darts team to make up the numbers. Shelley tells me that if you’re new to playing darts or you want to maximise your score, then aim for the left of the board. Why? Because that’s where the bulk of the high numbers are. So, if you aim here, maybe at the “19”, alongside are equally high numbers.
Most people’s marketing messages are more machine gun than sniper rifle. That’s OK, most of us are not professional marketers. You do need to take aim when personal marketing but be prepared to miss occasionally and that business area is closely connected to what you do.
For example, the later life mortgage adviser might market to a niche of older customers, retired and living in the South West. This is where she places her Facebook advertising and social marketing effort. In the course of this marketing, someone approaches her who spoke to their parents who mentioned your advert. The new customer wants help with their re-mortgage and is some years off from retiring. Your marketing missed its target, but the resulting near miss, is also useful for you.
As Seth Godin quoted yesterday on his excellent blog “The best way to make a hit is to build something for the smallest viable audience and make it so good that people tell their peers”
Marketing is one thing. That’s where your effort and money goes. Aim for a target market but be prepared to accept other business if it reactively approaches you. But be careful it’s not a light bulb change, everyone can learn to do that, even corporate trainers.