Thursday, January 24, 2008

Brain Surgeons or Bakers?

Marketing a Thought Leader is a long-term strategy. Thought Leaders need to be careful of too much push marketing and be mindful of the position they create in the marketplace.


Anytime I see the marketing materials of a Thought Leader I ask myself "is this what a brain surgeon would use or more like what a baker would use to promote their services?"


Bakery items are commodities; you can pretty much find bread anywhere! Sure there are good and bad bakers but still bread is bread. I’d expect to see an advertisement for bread in a local paper or maybe the yellow pages. I doubt whether you would buy a brain surgeon from your community newspaper or your local telephone directory.


What kind of marketing are you using? Are you clear about whether you are more like a brain surgeon or are you marketing like a baker?


  • Brain surgeons are mostly referred by trusted advisors
  • Brain surgeons are known for what they do well
  • Brain surgeons are specialists at problem solving
  • Brain surgeons have a reputation that is gold

Every time you send marketing out be careful not to become a commodity by pushing too hard. Start with service in mind and keep the quality and the value high. I am not saying that you can’t learn from existing marketing angles and use the skills of great push marketing – not at all, they obviously work. You just need to be careful to keep an eye to the long-term view of reputation and pull people into your business.


Here are 5 things you can do to market like a brain surgeon....


  • Be insanely great. The better you are the more you will be paid and the more people will talk about you. Development is critical!
  • Create a communication platform like this email and regularly send out content based communications that are short and highly valuable.
  • Tell people what you are doing well. When you have a win announce it.
  • Identify 6 key people who can refer what you do and treat them like gold.
  • Always focus on the problems and challenges your clients face and communicate solutions in every interaction.

I know this... as commodities are replaced by cheaper offshore alternatives and people compete for the same business, the new ‘unfair advantage’ is to hold the space as a guru, a brain surgeon and a Thought Leader.


Be great, get known, do well!

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