Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Practical advice for professional services marketers on how to feel more confident and get your expertise used - from on-demand Marketing Director Elizabeth Lichten and Mindset Coach Aleksandra Szwiling.
Dear Professional Services Marketers,
We know it can be hard out there, even without the current challenges of managing teams and projects remotely. But now is a great time to up your confidence and resilience and position yourself for that promotion or new marketing job.
So, without further ado, here are 10 Marketing and Mindset Tools to help you step up in, or step out of, your current role.
1. Get closer to the business
Sometimes marketing people get told “you don’t understand” or “you aren’t close enough to the business”. And sometimes it is true!
That disconnect makes it difficult to provide value-add client insight, an area where marketing can really shine.
You should position yourself as the voice of the client in the room, not just by providing great data reports, but by volunteering to attend client meetings, getting involved in the odd bid or by sitting in on key client account reviews.
2. Get to grips with business goals
To be commercially credible, it is important your marketing is aligned to the goals of your organisation.
In an ideal situation, your business has a 5 year strategy, with KPIs, which they publish internally and externally, and which you have had input in developing.
But often even very large organisations have nothing more concrete than a wishy washy vision statement and a revenue target.
If this is the case for you, diarise a number of 1-2-1s or facilitate a workshop with key leaders and ask the right questions so you understand what the business is really trying to achieve and how they plan on achieving it….
You’ll know the right questions to ask, some examples are: “If the revenue target is X, how much of that do you see coming from existing clients?” Or, “How are we going to stay competitive against new market entrants?” and “Aside from the global key account programme, how are we proactively cross selling our services?”
3. Remember you are a creative
There will be days you get bogged down with budgeting spreadsheets and line management admin but it is important to remember you are a creative and creativity needs space.
When you are feeling uninspired, allow yourself to take a break from your desk (especially important at the moment) and indulge in whatever gives you space to think.
Whether that is a Friday afternoon brainstorming session at the pub, checking out a mid-week art exhibition or a (more lock-down-appropriate) Monday morning walk in the park.
The more relaxed and inspired we are, the higher the dopamine levels in our brain are and the stronger our creativity becomes in general.
4. Simplify your strategy
Feeling refreshed and focused? Lovely.
Now identify and prioritise three simple marketing objectives relating to your organisation’s strategy and get buy-in above and below.
You want them to be SMART and as impactful as possible.
The way you know they are the right 3 objectives is if you fast-forward to the end of the year in your mind, and consider if you ONLY achieved those three objectives, how happy would your boss be? How satisfied would you feel? How would the business have moved forward?
5. Don’t let your objectives gather dust
Once you, your team and key stakeholders are on board with the three objectives, rather than filing them away under ‘done and dusted’, be sure to integrate them into everything you do.
Your marketing plans should be structured around your objectives, the whole organisation should know what you are focused on (think internal newsletter shout out) and your team meeting agendas should revolve around what you are doing that week to move your objectives forward.
6. Know what you’re about
Almost every marketer working in the professional services environment, especially at the more senior levels, has experienced some hard knocks from the fee-earners.
Let's be honest - it's not an easy role, and the amount of strength and courage required can be often underestimated, especially by those whom we serve.
Really successful marketers are clear on their specific strengths, skills, talents and development goals. This leads to an increased sense of self-worth and confidence that others feel every time they walk into a room.
7. Realise that confidence is an outcome, not a requirement
Feeling like you’re missing the confidence to succeed is quite common amongst professional services marketers.
But what if confidence was actually an outcome - not a requirement?
And what if confidence was a result of taking certain steps - like getting to know yourself, as mentioned above?
Confidence is something that we can all hone, rather than an inherent ability that we do or don't have. All you need to start is motivation and a strategy to get you on the right track.
8. Tackle imposter syndrome
Do you ever have feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite - the often overwhelming - evidence to the contrary? That voice that says: “You don’t belong here”, “They made a mistake”, “You’re a fraud.”, “You have no idea what you’re doing.”
Here is the secret: it is possible to have imposter syndrome and still succeed.
You just need to step out of your comfort zone despite your fears, and remember that most people feel this way - especially high achievers!
Alternatively, if you really want to address the discomfort once and for all, seek an experienced coach to work through any limiting beliefs, realise your value and escape that constant negative mental chatter.
9. Avoid comparisons
Who do you most frequently compare yourself to?
Without steps 6 through 8, it is very hard to avoid the comparison trap.
Comparing how you feel inside, to the external image someone else presents will never give you a full picture and does little for your self worth.
The good news is that when you embrace your uniqueness, there will be no need to look elsewhere for validation.
10. Create and protect your personal brand
As an expert in your field you want your stakeholders and clients to know, like and trust you. And as a marketing expert you know that there is no better way to achieve this than through a consistent brand experience across all those touch points!
What are the three things you would like to be known for?
How are you going to differentiate yourself from your peers?
What are your brand values?
How are you going to communicate that in every single interaction with your key stakeholders?
Once you have reflected on some of these questions, consider what is currently blocking you from being true to ‘your brand’.
Is that something you think? Or feel? Is it something that is unique to your current role or if you get really honest with yourself, is it something that has followed you from company to company?