The Importance of the Niche in the Marketplace. Advice For a Generalist In the Time of Experts and Rockstars.
I've finally figured something out. It's something I've never really thought about, something I'm not necessarily proud of, but something I've learned to love. What is this profound realization that I speak of?
I have no niche, I'm not an expert on anything, I don't have a specific skill, and I'm not 100% sure what my strongest asset is.
Sounds horrible right? Wrong.
I like to consider myself a generalist. Whereas an expert is fundamentally better than everyone else at one thing, a generalist is someone who is very good at a lot of different things. I'm a writer, an active participant in social media, a blogger, an informer, a team player, a multimedia strategist, and a marketing planner. I'm not 100% devoted to any one of these titles. Quite frankly, I feel like I could add or subtract to this list at any time. The question I'd pose to you is this:
"In this current economic time, what is more valuable in an employee, an expert in one specific area, or a generalist dabbling in all realms of a certain industry."
In a recent interview with an account planner, I was given this piece of what I'd consider invaluable advice:
"As an account planner, you should be a second best at everything you do. You need to be the second best copywriter, the second best developer, and the second best creative director."
This is great advice for the ad industry, but I'd like to hear some opinions from other people as well. I personally like to believe in a wider skill set being more effective, more useful, and more accessible to a wider range of companies, but then again, maybe I'm just crazy; generally speaking or course.
A Social Media Meltdown. Is This the Price We Pay To Live In the "Internet Age?" Open Your Eyes and Strategize or At Least Point Me In the Right Direction.
I just recently read a few articles on marketing strategy and what it takes for a small business to succeed in an unstable market. Author and Duct Tape Marketing blogger, Don Fulano, states,
“An effective marketing strategy requires understanding who you are, choosing to be different than everyone else, and committing to one simple way of doing, acting and creating – to the exclusion of all other ways of doing, acting, and creating.
While this may sound easy, in truth, it can be a very daunting task. In this blog, I want to apply this scenario to self-branding, self-marketing, and self-selling, and the importance of strategy in job searching.
In traditional terms, advertising and marketing was thought of as a way to deliver a message. I find that in today’s society, marketing is not about delivering the message; rather it is about finding a way to connect with consumers. Going along with this, I would argue that searching for a job isn’t about delivering a message; rather it’s about finding a way to connect with an employer, hit a nerve, pull a string, or make a mark. It’s all about a strategy, understanding who you are, where your strengths lie, and choosing to differentiate yourself from the masses.
Right now I am in the stage that I like to call “connection planning.” I’m educating myself on the industry I want to enter, what it takes to succeed, and what to expect from the future. I’m learning about who I need to contact, what I need to send, and who the companies are looking to hire. I’m branding myself as a student, a learner, a writer, a self-starter, a leader, and a young professional looking for a shot at greatness.
I’m also in the stage that I like to call “media planning” or in some cases, “media execution.” I’m choosing my mediums of delivery in ways that cater to the direct message I want to deliver. I’m using social networks Twitter and Facebook to convey my personal brand to friends, enemies, and acquaintances. I’m using Linkedin to connect on a professional level with students, colleagues, and company representatives. I’m using Blogger and Weebly to blog my insights, ideas, and opinions, and to remain “intheknow” on the marketing industry. It’s great practice at strategic execution at the most basic level, and I think it has prepared me in ways that will benefit me when dealing with a small business, big brand, or self-startup.
Overall, I believe there are 3 things we must ask ourselves when looking for a career.
What business do we want to be in?
Who are the employers we would want to work for?
What traits do these employers value in new hires?
If you can successfully answer all these questions, and create a personal brand to connect to this career, chances are things will work out.
Don’t take it from me, I’m still on the search, but I’m working hard at making things happen, and I'm confidant that things will work out.
How did you guys find jobs? How are you working on finding them? Any hints, tips, tricks, or advice you might have would be great. Am I working too hard at not working or is this the price you pay to live in the “Internet Age?”
Below is a video that explains why I am such an advocate of social media and the impact it can have on a career, business, or brand. It’s long, but you can get the gist after about 2 minutes. I think it will give you that “Wow” effect it gave me.