Not getting older. Getting better.

Date: November 7, 2017
Author: Kristin Zhivago
Marilu Norden painting of half-nude woman on Kristin Zhivago's blog

You can’t avoid it. One day you will look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who are you? What did you do with my face?”

Age happens.

Personally, I’m inspired by my 92-going-on-37 mother, Marilu Norden, who just painted the picture above. 

I’ve never worried much about getting older, partly because, like my mother, I don’t feel old. And I am excited about work every day. I’ve always said I’m going to die at my keyboard.

But it’s more than that, now. I’ve made a conscious decision to skip the whole getting older thing altogether and focus on getting better. It’s nothing new, really; I’ve been on a “getting better” quest for decades. Ever since I entered the tech industry at 17, I’ve made sure I’ve lived on the bleeding edge. And I married a man who loves helping me improve at whatever I do. LOL. He can’t help it; he’s an engineer.

Digital marketing – now.

I see so many business owners who are in my age bracket who are completely befuddled by the new methods of marketing. I see consultants my age who are stuck on a method or process, which simply doesn’t work anymore, hoping someone will buy what they are selling. In both cases, working life has gotten much, much harder for them.

You have to live on the bleeding edge now. Marketing has changed more in the last two years than it did in the previous 20.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, if you literally embrace the new apps and methods, and ruthlessly walk away from outdated methods, you can learn the new ways and master them. There’s plenty of information out there; you just have to be aggressive about absorbing it.

But – and this is critical – you have to put your new knowledge into the context of your customers and your market and your products and services and your promises.  

The way you do this is to stop focusing on the “what” and the “how” and focus first on the “why.”

First you have to know why your customer would come looking for you. What problem are they trying to solve? Why are they interested in your type of solution? Why did they come looking, now? You may think you know the answer to this, but 9 times out of 10, company owners believe one thing about their customers and customers always tell me a whole different story.

Only after you understand “why” they’re searching for you can you look at “how” they searched for you and “what” they used to do it.

Most people start with the “what”—they start spending money on channels such as social, SEO, pay-per-click, and email— before they even know what they should be saying to the customers they’re reaching through those channels.

If your message is off, your results will be, also. This seems so obvious but it runs counter to human nature, so it continues to be a problem.

The “why” behind the “buy” is where new revenue comes from. Start there, and your channel decisions will 1) be obvious and 2) will pay off.

And then keep getting better. It’s fun—and profitable.

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