No good at marketing yourself? Try these 5 things now.

I have had numerous conversations lately with people who have told me they don’t understand marketing and don’t know how to market themselves. I find this more frightening than the twin girls from The Shining. Because if you don’t understand basic marketing, you will lose out to someone who does.

It’s important to know that sales don’t go to the best products or services. And opportunities don’t go to the most worthy candidates. They often go to those who market themselves best. Which is the only way to explain the success of Bobcat Goldthwait.

You have to be able to market yourself. Because you are constantly being evaluated as a more or less worthy candidate than another person. The opportunity at stake could be a job, a sale, a spot on a team, or a date. With 8 billion people on the planet, there are always other options to choose from. Which means that people are deciding to swipe right or swipe left on you every day. To be a successful contestant on The Swipe Is Right, here are some marketing basics.

5 things to know about marketing yourself.

  1. It is not who you know, it is who knows you. It is important that you are both visible and discoverable. The first step to marketing is being findable. So make yourself easy to find. Be on social media. Especially LinkedIn. Show up at events. Join organizations. Participate. Don’t be Boo Radley. Or Sasquatch. Or translucent.

2. Share your successes. One of the best ways to market yourself is to share your successes. Share them as part of your social and professional profiles where appropriate. Make your successes part of your introduction to others, whether in person or via email or classic mail.

When people think of you, you want them to think of your successes. People have to know what you are good at. This makes you memorable for your strengths. Don’t be humble about your successes, or you are likely to lose out on opportunities to someone with lesser success. As Deion Sanders once said, ‘They don’t pay nobody to be humble.’ And Deion is the master of marketing. (He is also the master of having one too many vowels in his name.)

3. Gain Endorsements: Know which of your friends, family, or acquaintances have influence. Spend time with them. Highlight your relationship with them. Be seen with them. When people with influence endorse, support or choose you it carries weight with others. This is why celebrity spokespeople are valuable. They help drive sales of everything from peanut butter to hair replacement. You are known by the company you keep. And cool kids like to spend time with other cool kids. (And all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.)

4. Stand out. Have something in your style, dress, or language that makes you highly identifiable. You have to stand out from the crowd to be remembered. And you have to be remembered to have opportunities find you. The year that I first grew my hair longer, I was amazed at how much more people recognized and remembered me. I attribute much of that to the fact that I simply looked different from many of the people around me. My friend Tony Sharpe always wears black. T-Pain has AutoTune. Aaron Neville, Drew Brees, Post Malone, and Cindy Crawford are all known for things on their faces. Find your signature thang and leverage it.

5. Be the go-to for something. Great brands are synonymous with something specific. Think about what one valuable thing you stand for in the minds of others. It could be creativity or trustworthiness, hard work, problem-solving, willingness, funniness, or intelligence. Really it could be any single strength or positive trait that distinguishes you. Grab it. Own it. And anytime people feel they need that, they come to you. Because you’ve got the Motts.

Key Takeaway

The world is full of opportunities. To make sure you get your share of them it is important to learn basic marketing skills. Make yourself visible. Tout your wins. Associate with people that others know, like and respect. Develop an identifiable personal trademark. And develop your rare and valuable skills. You’ll be surprised how many good things start coming your way.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why I ordered new business cards that don’t even mention my business.

I recently placed my first business card order in the covid era. The demand for business cards plummeted when we were all locked at home. I tried to give my wife and kids cards just to feel like I was getting my name out there. But they told me they knew where to find me. And my mailman told me he already knew where I lived.

But by the fall of 2022, I had finally run out of my last business cards. Plus, The Weaponry, the advertising and idea agency I lead, moved to a new office in June. Which meant that we had important information to update on our cards. Like our physical address. I also updated the URL for this blog. Because the last time I printed business cards my blog was still called The Perfect Agency Project. But AdamAlbrecht.blog is shorter and easier to remember. Especially for me.

My Other Card

But I also decided to create another business card. One that didn’t mention my role at The Weaponry at all. You see, 10 months ago I published my first book, titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. Since then, I have added the role of Author to my growing list of job titles.

Today, I have had so many conversations as an author that I felt like I should have a card that represented my role as an author and speaker. Plus Moo.com was having a 25% off sale. So I figured it was a sign from the universe.

The Design

On the front of the cards, I included a picture of myself, real estate agent-style. Sure, this helps people remember what I look like. But I felt like the picture matched the tone and style of both my writing and speaking. Which is fun, positive, and energetic. If I was a horror novelist and used this picture nobody would buy the book. Because I don’t look like I hunch in my basement dreaming up evil and grody stuff.

I title myself an Author and Speaker. Because I have found that people love to hear authors speak. I have had tons of speaking engagements over the past 10 months. And I have many more scheduled, including 3 speaking engagements within 5 days this fall. Not only do I really enjoy speaking, but I have also met a lot of great new people through the experience.

On the card, I note that I am the author of the book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Although, I debated whether I should also include the other book projects I am working on. Including a new book that I have co-authored with Jeff Hilimire set for release in November, titled The Culture Turnaround. But I figured I could always order more cards as my little library of writings grows.

The front of the card includes hard-working contact information, like my mobile number, email, social handle, and book website address.

But like a good mullet, the fun side is on the back.

After talking to people about my book I always wish I could give them a few key lessons from the book to take with them. Like CliffsNotes. Only I cut Cliff out. So on the card, I included a list of 10 lessons from the book that fit 2 important criteria:

  1. They are important and useful to everyone.
  2. They are short enough to fit on the card.

I also included a picture of the book so that people would know exactly what it looks like. After all, Amazon sells every book title ever written about fortune cookies. And I didn’t want people to think that I went all Mark Twain and wrote the book under an assumed name like Bernadette Jiwa, Jennifer 8 Lee, or LuMing Mao.

Key Takeaway

Consider creating business cards for your roles beyond your day job. A side hustle, significant hobby, or volunteer position all warrant a special card. They make it easy to stay connected to others you meet in that role. And they provide great ways to share your skills, abilities, and interests with others.

Check out Moo.com for an easy way to make great cards quickly. Tell them Adam Albrecht sent you. If they ask if you mean the Adam Albrecht who is the Founder of The Weaponry or the Adam Albrecht who is the Author & Speaker, tell them both.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this idea, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The great un-equalizers in life and business.

There are nearly 8 billion people on Earth. Which, according to my quick math, equals a lot of competition.

Every time you apply for a job, promotion, or elected position, someone else will want it too. Just ask Napoleon and Pedro.

Want to woo an attractive mate? Join the crowd. Want to join a team, cast, club, or society? Get in line. Want a pound of that sandwich-sliced turkey breast? Take a number.

It’s important to have an impressive resume. Skillz are good. Experience is helpful. Knowledge is nice. References are respectable. Connections are cool, Jay. But your competitors will have all of those too. And perhaps theirs will be better than yours.

However, the great difference-makers in life don’t show up on your resume, your transcripts, or your personal win-loss ledger.

Online dating sites can’t capture the great difference-makers either. If they did we would have a lot fewer dating disaster stories to share.

Your Way

The secret ingredients that set you apart in life and business are your personality and style. Their importance can’t be overstated. If you have no personality or style you have no chance. If your personality and style are indistinguishable, so are you.

By developing a unique and interesting flavor you stand out. You get noticed. You become memorable. And interesting. And attractive. And sought after. That’s how you win in Nashville, Hollywood, Wall Street, Main Street, and at the Kollege Klub.

Key Takeaway

Embrace your own personality and style. Develop your own voice. Find your own flavor. It will become your unfair advantage in life. And in a crowd of 8 billion people, you could use every advantage you can get.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more life lessons I have learned on my adventure on Earth, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

May the Super Bowl remind you that the size of your audience matters.

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday! For American advertisers, this is the biggest opportunity of the year. Because Super Bowl viewers make up the biggest American audience advertisers can reach at one time without a white Ford Bronco.

Messages need eyeballs and earballs to be received. More receptors and detectors mean that your message can have a bigger impact, more influence, generate more demand, create more persuasion and generate more revenue. It’s all you need to know to understand the popularity of the lip-sync platform Tik Tok.

The cost of running a Super Bowl commercial is super high. Because a commercial that airs during the Super Bowl has super potential to generate sales. Like an army of Mary Kay saleswomen in pink Cadillac’s invading the suburbs.

Remember, it’s not about who you know. It’s who knows you. Your idea, brand, product, service, movement, cause, or candidate’s success is limited by the number of people who are aware you even exist.

Key Takeaway

The shortcut to marking success is to get yourself in front of the biggest audience you can find. It’s ok to start small, but don’t think small. Keep ratcheting up your reach. Converting your audience will always be a percentage game. The greater the audience the greater the opportunity. Just ask the NFL. Or Kris Jenner.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Writing a book is like running 3 different marathons.

This is a really exciting week for me. And not just because of Christmas and that Michael Buble Christmas Special/Bubly Sparkling water commerical on NBC last night.

This week I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It’s a project I have been working on for nearly 2 years. You may think that publishing a book is like running a marathon. It is not. It’s like running 3 different marathons. So you will want to carb up before hand.

The 1st Marathon

The first marathon starts with the idea for the book. It includes all of the researching, writing, and re-writing. It ends when you think you have something worth sharing. Sharing your manuscript is kinda like getting into good enough shape that you wouldn’t mind if someone saw you naked. It’s kinda awkward. You’re kinda proud and excited. But you don’t know how you stack up against the other people your publishing partner has seen naked. It’s fun and interesting. As long as they don’t pull out a laser pointer to point out your remaing flaws.

The first step to writing a book is to sit down and write. Or stand up and write if you have one of those stand-up desks. But that doesn’t sound as good. So sit down to start, just so that you can say you did.

The 2nd Marathon

The second marathon is getting the book published. Which includes researching your publishing options, deciding whether to self-publish, other-publish, or a hybrid option. (I published with the amazing team at Ripples Media.) Then you work to eliminate all of the flaws in your book and add anything that may be missing. And things will definitely be missing. This part is like preparing to go to the ball. You get a literary spray tan, botox, and mani-pedi. You get your eyebrows on fleek. You get your hair did. Then you are ready to jump in your carriage, which was recently a pumpkin, and head to the Amazon Ball.

There is my new baby book on Amazon! (I now keep this picture in my wallet.)

The 3rd Marathon

Today, I am at the very beginning of the third marathon. My book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is published and available on Amazon in both physical and digital form. It’s easy to assume that this is the finish line. It is not. It is critical to remember that getting your book published is simply the end of the second marathon. Now it is time to let the world know your book exists.

A beautiful finished book is a powerful thing. Perhaps the most powerful thing on Earth after the human mind. Because a great book can teach, inspire, entertain, and make you snort cofee out of your nose.

But people have to know about your book in order for it to do the job it was born to do. Others have to be aware that the book exists. They need to understand that there is real value in the book for the reader. They need to know that other people read the book and felt like it was worth their time and their money. Which is why you need to promote the book.

People will also want to know about you, the author. Who are you? Why did you write the book? What is your story? What is the story behind the story? Who have you seen naked? Did you use the laser pointer on them?

Me talking to a class at Marquette Univeristy. Letting people know what I know.

The author’s story is often the bridge to the book itself. This is why the big publishing companies would rather work with famous people. The public has already bought into them. So they will naturally buy their books too. I know it’s lazy, but it’s true.

Key Takeaway

When you commit to writing a book, commit to running all 3 marathons. Write a great manuscript that offers real value to others. Publish your book. Then promote it so that it can have the greatest positive impact on the world. And we all have a world-improving book in us. I hope you write yours.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The hard truth about word-of-mouth marketing.

Lately, my advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry has been enjoying a lot of word-of-mouth marketing. Which means that happy clients and partners have been telling others about us. As a result, we have been getting a lot of new opportunities. Which we love.

However, it is important to remember that word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t begin with your customers. And it doesn’t start with an advertising agency either. Unless, of course, you are an advertising agency. Which we are. (Which kind of confuses things.)

Where does it come from?

Word-of-mouth marketing originates within your organization. It is a result of a job very well done. It stems from great products, great services, and great experiences. All of which come from great processes and great people. Which is some real Tony The Tiger stuff.

When a customer gets all that they want and more from you they can’t help but tell other people about you the next time they find a relevant opportunity to share. It’s fun to tell others about the smart decisions we made and the great experiences we had. It’s enjoyable to share good news and inside information. Like Michael Jackson said, ‘Tell them that. It’s human nature.’

Word-of-mouth marketing is usually considered free advertising. It is not. Far from it. In fact, all the time and attention you pour into delivering a great product or service are like buying advertisements. Your special product or service is the media. It carries a positive message about your brand to your customer. They simply push that same message along to others. Like one of those Newton’s Cradle ball knocking thingies.

Newton’s Cradle. The Ball Knocking Thingie

Key Takeaway

Your great product, or service, is the media on which word-of-mouth marketing is carried. Make your offerings great. The better they are the bigger the media space you have bought to carry great words about your brand.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Don’t be the cheapest. Be the best.

There has been a recurring theme at work lately. My team at The Weaponry has been involved in several new business pitches. Which means we are competing with other advertising or design agencies to win a project. Sometimes there are 2 agencies. And the pitch is like a rap battle, or the knife fight in Michael Jackson’s Beat It video. Sometimes it is a Royal Rumble where you are competing with every superhero and their sidekick.

The 3 Factors

There are 3 factors involved in winning a new project from a client or customer. At least where organized crime is not involved. (Those organizations add a few other important factors. Like how much you enjoy your family, and your limbs.)

  1. The Proposal. This is the written plan detailing what you are going to offer the customer or client if they choose you. This is quite literally the overview of the product or service being offered.
  2. The Price: This is the summary of how much your offering is going to cost. Your price relative to your competitor’s price is important. The critical question is how does the price and value of your offering stack up against the other options they are considering.
  3. Your likability. Do the deciders like you? Do they trust you? Are you funny, smart, kind, good-looking or tell great stories? Do they want to spend time working and problem solving with you?

All Things Considered

Recently we have heard several times that our price was more expensive than the other options we were weighed against. However, they chose us anyway. This creates a valuable math equation boys and girls.

The Math

In this case, what we were offering and our likability combined was greater than the price we were charging for it.

Offering + Likability > Price

This is exactly where you want to be in business. When you offer superior products or services, and a combination of likability, fun, and trustworthiness, more times than not you will not lose out on price. In fact, if the other two factors are strong enough you can charge more, because you are offering more value. And everyone comes out ahead.

Key Takeaway

In any business transaction, there are always more factors at play than price. As the seller, your responsibility is to provide a superior product and service. And if you deliver that with more likable, more trustworthy people you will not only break any ties, you will add more value to the overall experience, and people will be willing to pay more for your offering. So don’t fight others on price. Compete with them on the offering itself, and on the people who offer it. And like Bob Barker said, the price will always be right.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The Weaponry turns 5 years old!

I always wanted to start my own business. Not because I was an unhappy employee or a free spirit who couldn’t stand to work for The Man. I just like a good challenge. And everything I ever heard about entrepreneurship made it seem like it was the career equivalent to bull riding. Or free solo climbing. Or streaking at the Super Bowl. I knew it was dangerous. The likelihood of failure was very high. But if you are successful, there are few endeavors as rewarding.

On the set of a recent TV shoot with Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts. I tried to steal his necklace, and he tried to defend it. It was all very subtle.

Some Fun Entrepreneurial Facts

  • There are 31 million businesses in the United States
  • 90% fail within the first 5 years
  • Only 4% ever make $1 million a year.
  • The average age of startup Founders is 42 years 
  • A first-time entrepreneur has an 18% chance of succeeding
  • 70% of entrepreneurs were married when they started their first business
  • 60% had at least one child
  • 44% had two or more children
  • 66% of start-up founders pay themselves less than $50,000
  • 69% of American entrepreneurs start their business at home
  • 80% of small businesses are non-employer businesses. 
  • 51% of small businesses make less than $100,000 in annual sales. 

Riding The Bull

With these facts in hand, I launched The Weaponry, an advertising and idea agency, in 2016. I wholeheartedly believed that we would succeed. The statistics didn’t scare me. They motivated me to prove that I was one of the few, the proud, the elite non-failers. Although I am sure the failers also felt confident when they first started out. After all, you don’t jump out of an airplane unless you are highly confident your parachute will open. Unless maybe there were snakes on the plane.

A constant reminder in our offices to think.

Turning 5 Years Old

Today, I am thrilled and proud to say The Weaponry is 5 years old! We gave grown significantly each year. And despite the global pandemic, 2020 was our best year yet. Now 2021 is off to a strong start. We continue to add to our team. And we have added 2 new clients in the past 2 weeks.

From a trip to India in 2018 to work with our clients Fifth Third Bank and SLK Global Solutions. I didn’t get the White Shirt Memo.

Funner Entrepreneurial Facts

  • The Weaponry has offices in both Milwaukee and Columbus.
  • We have 24 clients
  • We have clients in all 4 US Time Zones.
  • We have clients in 3 countries: The United States, Canada and India.
  • We offer Health Insurance and Dental Insurance
  • We have a 401(k) plan with a 4% match
  • We have two red refrigerators
  • Both of our offices are in Suite #206 (Although the signs say Sweet #206. Because I thought that was funnier. Those are the kinds of dumb things you can do when you start your own business.)
This is where the magic happens.

What’s Next?

I feel as if we have only just begun, like Karen Carpenter. We have much more to accomplish. We expect us to grow and expand significantly. It is clear that we are having great success with happy clients who have hired The Weaponry 2 and 3 times as they have changed jobs. Which I think is the best compliment a client can give you.

Our 3 Pillars of Success.

Before we won our very first client (Global Rescue), I declared The Weaponry’s recipe for long-term success. And unlike that finger-licker Colonel Sanders, I am happy to share it with you.

  1. Great Creative Idea
  2. Excellent Customer Service
  3. A Fun Experience for Everyone Involved.
Me and Dan Richards, CEO of our first client, Global Rescue. We were trying to look tough while wearing polos.

What’s Next?

If we continue to deliver on these 3 points we will enjoy perpetual success. And while I am very thankful to have made it to 5 years, I believe the job of leadership is to keep a business in business forever. To do that we will have to continue to listen, learn, adapt and improve. I am fully committed to it. Just like a streaker.

Key Takeaway

Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. In fact, it offers one of life’s greatest challenges. But if you want to try it, I highly encourage you. It is extremely rewarding in more ways than I have room to share in a concluding paragraph. To dramatically improve your chances of success start a business doing something you know well. Choose work you love to do. And you will have the intellectual equipment and the magnetic pull to get you to 5 years and beyond.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Hey big-picture thinkers, is it a 10,000, 30,000 or 50,000-foot view?

I like to think of myself as a thinker. I think all the time. If I was a cartoon character I would be Thinker Bell. If I was a pop star I would be Robin Think. And if I was an assassin I would be John Thinkley Jr.

I think about small details. I like to consider all the little things that matter. Because, as the band Bush sang, it’s the little things that kill. I also find great value in big-picture thinking. It is immensely valuable to be able to step back and see an entire system, business, or opportunity.

As a professional ideator, I spend a lot of time in both micro and macro-thinking modes. It is important to be comfortable in both. I am also quite comfortable at mecro thinking, which is what I call the medium view. Or at least I have been calling it that since the last sentence.

However, I have noticed that big-picture thinking suffers from a branding consistency issue. People can’t seem to agree on a standard elevation for big picture evaluation. I have frequently heard people refer to this as the 10,000-foot, 30,000- foot, or 50,000-foot view. I would prefer not to have to develop 3 different calibrations for big thinking. So I am hoping we can settle on one standard. Like VHS.

10,000 feet

10,000 feet sounds nice and clean. It uses a nice, round, large number. So there is good rationale for using it. Plus, it’s a 10-base number, which makes it like the metric system of big views.

30,000 feet

The 30,000-foot view sounds pretty random. Like a 32-degree freezing point. Or 212- degree boiling point. However, I fly a lot. Correction – I used to fly a lot. #covid I know that airplanes typically fly in the 30,000-foot range. So it is the highest view I have ever really experienced. It looks a lot different than the 10,000 foot view. Plus, the tallest mountain on Earth, Mt. Everest, is just about 30,000 feet. And the view from the top is amazing. (I’ve never climbed Everest, but I was a long-time subscriber to Outside magazine.)

50,000 feet

The 50,000-foot view is interesting. It is the highest of the 3 options. So, therefore, offers the biggest picture view of all. Although I have never seen the world from 50,000 feet. So I have more of a guess as to what it would look like. Perhaps at 50,000 feet, we have gone too high. There is a good chance that this elevation pushes things too far to be useful. Like 6 Minute Abs.

My View

I have chosen my default big picture elevation. But I feel like I am being constantly overbid or underbid on my view, depending on whether we are playing Big Picture Christie’s Auction House or Big Picture Name That Tune. (You should be able to tell from my last statement which elevation I use. If not, it rhymes with dirty cows hand.)

The Question

So what is the correct standard for big picture thinking? I want to hear from you. How high do you go? And if you know why you choose that elevation I’d love to hear. After my ears pop that is.

*If you know someone who thinks big, please share this with them so we can all get on the same altimeter.

What really happens when you share your content.

Content is the marketing buzzword of the millennium. If Jan Brady was alive today, (and was a marketing expert), she would be exclaiming, ‘Content, content content!’ instead of, ‘Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!’

Experts say that both personal brands and business brands need to put out content to draw more attention. It’s easy to understand why Netflix, Hulu and HBO need content. It is the product they sell. But why do non-entertainment brands and individuals need content? Inquiring minds want to know.

Connect The Dots

Think of life like a giant game of connect-the-dots. When you share your content you are enabling others to connect to your dots. Your dots may be your ideas, products, services, advice, knowledge, experience, expertise or friendship. All of those things have value in this epic game of connect-the-dots we are all playing.

A Recent Example

Last weekend Angie Eger from Columbus, Ohio posted a picture of her son on Instagram. And when she did, a curious chain of events happened.

I thought about Angie for the first time in quite a while. Angie cut my hair from 2009 to 2014 when I lived in Columbus. Then I remembered that I have a problem. I need a haircut. However, I have a bigger problem, which is that my hair person in Milwaukee, Sara Holzem, moved to Naples during the pandemic. And I have only had my hair cut once since. The cranky woman who cut my hair did a good job, but the experience was poor. And by the looks of it, she has been fired by the hair place where I saw her. It’s likely because her cranky pants were a violation of the salon’s dress code.

As I read Angie’s Instagram post I realized that I would be in Columbus, Ohio the following Friday. So I sent Angie a note through Instagram asking her if she had any spare hair time on Friday. Luckily for me, she did.

This is Angie, with a mask, for safety.

So last Friday morning I got my hair cut by Angie for the first time in 7 years. It was a major win-win. Angie offered a great solution to a problem I was struggling to solve. My fresh new hairdo looks a lot better than my expired one. I got to start my Friday morning catching up with an old friend. And Angie increased her business last week, by re-attracting a lapsed customer. As a result, she made money doing something she loves.

Share Your Content

This transaction only happened because Angie posted a picture of her son on Instagram. I was connecting dots, and she put her dot right where I needed it. Which meant that I connected Angie’s Instagram-post dot to my hair-problem dot to my trip- to-Columbus dot. Problem solved.

This is the image of Angie’s son on Instagram that started it all. Happy Birthday Cole!

Key Takeaway

Keep sharing your world with others. Every piece of content you share has the potential to help someone. It makes you or your organization top of mind when others are trying to solve a problem. We are all playing a giant game of connect-the-dots every day. So add your dots. And help others win.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.