Mastery

The Marketer vs. The Technician

An interesting thing I read recently mentioned that Google transformed advertising into a software program. Well, they are not the only ones. Many other companies have transformed many other crafts and professions into software programs.
That is what appears to the superficial observer. People, who have learned how to use a specific software start thinking that (or forget) they are (should be) marketers.
Real people, selling real things, to other real people, who are responding to messages meant to convince someone to do something.
A very clear symptom is when these people start talking solely in terms of click-thrus, conversion, and any other technical terms used to evaluate their efforts.
The way to tackle this issue is two fold:
1. Technical: Yes, you need to master each and every feature of that program you are using. The better you get at it, the more freedom and efficiency you will gain and it will have a great impact on your original objective.
2. Marketing / Business: Well, this is why you exist, isn't it? You need to master the understanding of PEOPLE you are trying to influence to do something. The ins and outs of the business, and what those people are like, how they think, what their preferences are, and what you can learn in order to create a great following.
The more you walk on this parallel path (both at the same time), the more each will make sense, and the more you find value in every new discovery you make in either path.
Try exchanging technical terms with human terms to remember what you are really doing.
The Click thru rate increased: people interested in X responded to this emotion better.
The conversion rate dropped: we need to better understand what is preventing people from trusting us enough to buy the product.
This is not an exercise in positive thinking, it is a focusing tool so you don't get carried away with all the new features you learned how to use, and focus on the core activities you need to focus on.

The Long Tail Person

The Long Tail has become one of my favorite subjects in its different fields of applications. Maybe because I was never seriously fond of the popular things. I wasn't interested a lot in mainstream events and hobbies. I had my own set of special interests that very few people acknowledged as valid; calligraphy, ballroom dancing, languages, and culture to mention a few.
The Long Tail theory is based on the premise of a huge number of niches amounting to a significant number of results. The total of which is more than the few hits that used to make the big bucks. This is made easier by the Internet, although some applications took place long before the online world existed.
What if we took this argument to the personal level, to people who are passionate about many things, but are not world-class experts on any.
Would the combined effect of these passions make an important and meaningful total?
"A Jack of all trades is a master of none", they say.
I say, "a Jack of all trades is a master of some".
How can anyone master anything if they are not very good at the components of that "thing"? How can you be the best producer of soap in town, without being a very good salesman, and without being an excellent manager of your team? You can't!
If you want to be a master of your trade, you need to be a Jack of all the sub-trades within your niche. Many of these will be unrelated to your core competency. What does an excellent soap formula generation have to do with managing a sales team?
Nothing actually, but it is something you have to have.
So, if you are a Jack of all trades, group some of those trades in a meaningful way, and find that trade where nobody will even be able to compete with you, because as the best lesson I learned in strategy says, "to provide a value mix that cannot be imitated, and cannot be bought with money".
If your differentiation strategy depends on a technology or assets that can be bought, you are not securing a strong position.
But... If you speak Russian, French, and English, work at a division of a French manufacturer of air conditions in Moscow, have a BSc in engineering, and an MBA, how many people can really compete with you on your position as head of the division?
These are the different skills that you are good at. You could be acceptably good in all these areas, but if you are dedicated enough, you can be the best division manager in the world (for that division).