In a recent Wall Street Journal story, 10 Ways to Become a Superstar, Dr. Myra S. White offers 10 ways to uncover your own stardom and says, “Becoming a superstar is all about what you do – the ways that you act on your world. It doesn’t matter how you look or even where you went to school. What counts is taking positive constructive actions.”
Helping marketers become superstars is our mission at Act-On. In honor of the fast-approaching Labor Day, we’re putting a marketing spin on Dr. White’s advice, giving you 10 ways to be a better marketer:
1. Know your mini-strengths and find ways to capitalize on them. “Mini-strengths are the little things that you do really well. They can be as simple as being able to easily emotionally connect with others, find information on the web that others miss or solve technical problems that leave others mystified,” says Dr. White. For a marketer, that could be the ability to write a great email subject line, or to intuitively understand what the sales department needs, or to analyze a campaign report and instantly see what the numbers really mean. When assessing yourself, look to the things you enjoy doing most; they’re usually things you do well.
2. Forget about the things that you do badly. When tasked with something you don’t do well, find a way to funnel it to someone who excels at that type of project. “This is why you look for balance when you build a marketing team, picking people who have different skills,” says Atri Chatterjee, Act-On’s chief marketing officer. “You want to create a situation in which every team member can play to their strengths, so the person who’s good at event logistics – but not at writing email invitations to an event – can hand the invitation off to someone else whose strength it is, and vice versa.”
3. Pursue work you passionately care about that energizes you. It takes hard work to become a solid, consistent achiever. “Stress” comes in two flavors: distress, which is stress that takes a negative toll on you, and eustress, which is a healthy challenge that gives a feeling of fulfillment and energy when conquered. The things that charge one person’s batteries may not charge another’s. Know what charges yours, so when you work hard you’ll feel satisfaction from the results.
4. Select flexible goals. What Torsten Nilson called “chaos marketing” back in 1995 hasn’t changed, although our perception of it may have. The world is turbulent, and the sudden emergence of new trends, products, competitors (and so on; the list is long), can force you and your company to adjust your goals. Look for the opportunities this may bring and be willing to embrace them.
5. Learn to listen. Marketers have constituencies, and listening to each will pay off. Meet with your salespeople, and listen to how your marketing efforts affect them. Listen in on a sales call to hear what kinds of questions customers ask, and learn what they really care about. Listen to a customer support rep solving a common problem. Listen to your team members. You’ll gain new perspectives, jump-start brilliant ideas, and create stronger workplace connections
6. Make yourself visible to the people who have the power to help you succeed. “Just doing a great job is not enough. People need to recognize you as an achiever,” says Dr. White. If you’re an outgoing, gregarious extrovert, don’t overdo this step; you want to be noticed for your work, not for being a self-promoter. If you’re shy or introverted, you might volunteer for projects or events where your contributions will be noticed.
7. Know how to give and get help. Marketing is a team sport. Look for ways to help others, including your boss. Ask for help when you need it, before a project is in trouble. It’s a sign of wisdom, not weakness.
8. Know how to manage your emotions. Know what situations and actions make you anxious or angry, and know how to defuse them (and yourself). Whatever it may be – taking a short walk, deep breathing, reciting your favorite poem in your head, or visualizing a relaxing scene – learn how to stay calms and stay focused.
9. See failure as feedback. If you’re actively working, you will fail now and then. Even if you’re playing it safe, failure will find you occasionally. “Failure is how you grow and learn,” says Dr. White. “Consider your failures as life’s free education.”
10. Know how to have fun. If you average working 40 hours a week for 40 years (say from 25 to 65) you’ll log 83,200 hours. If you enjoy your work, that could be a long, satisfying career. If you don’t find a way to have some fun from work…it could be a long, ugly slog. If you dread going to work every day, you’re perhaps in the wrong job or at the wrong company. You’re more likely to be successful (and perhaps even live longer) if you find your work fun in some way.
We have our own Act-On term for marketing superstars: we call them Hip Marketers. What makes them hip is their ability to think creatively, use big data to refine strategies, think outside the box and adopt 21st century technologies to help automate their marketing processes. Do you have the DNA of a hip marketer? If so, join the movement at www.thehipmarketer.com.