September 2, 2021 6 minutes to read
The opinions of entrepreneurs’ contributors are their own.
It does not matter whether you sell your know-how for a salary to a company or for contract or freelance fees directly to customers. Today’s economy probably sees you as an expert. Your value is your expertise, which enables you to make quick and informed decisions in a world where complexity is increasing by the hour.
The industrial revolution boosted the working class as new machines required workers who knew how to use them. The modern technological revolution has resulted in an overwhelming increase in the information available. And an increased demand for those who can help us understand all of this information – from traffic reports in your city to realizing that there are over 30 ways to prepare chicken for dinner. Every day we have more information about every aspect of our life, including what we used to consider “easy”. However, more information does not always make our lives easier.
Just as an engineer was a hero of the industrial revolution, an expert is a modern savior of the technological revolution. And with the demand for experts, so does the supply. According to “The Rise of Expert Economy Report” by Bruce Reed and Matthew Atwell of Civic, the expert sector is on the verge of breaking the 1 billion mark by 2022. As an expert, you are faced with ever increasing competition. If you want to stay afloat, it is time to familiarize yourself with the law of the expert jungle.
Similarly: using the talent economy to gain real expertise
Here are some ways you can stand out in the expert economy, regardless of your level of expertise.
1. Close a niche or create a completely new market segment
Take a look at the companies or clients you would hire because of your expertise. According to a classic marketing theory, there are five levels of customer perception. At the lowest level are the ignorant customers who are the most difficult to sell. It’s usually a lot easier to sell expertise to people who already know they need you. The first segment is followed by those who are problem, solution and product aware. And when the market is most alert, the next step to differentiating yourself is to differentiate yourself.
You need to know your market well to understand whether you need to offer a new, elaborated solution to your problem or simply redirect part of the market. The most popular markets are often looking for simplicity. A good example would be the time when a third wave coffee company hit the market in the early 2000s. At that time, consumers tried every flavor of syrup, whipped cream, cookies and so on in their beverages. Instead of refining Starbucks ‘most elaborate seasonal beverage, the third wave companies are stopping the madness by bringing back the good ol’ quality black coffee.
Another example would be shaving products. Pankaj Bhalla, Head of Gillette’s North American Nursing Department, once started a press conference by saying, “We’re debuting a razor with 19 razors and 74 smears.” That was self-irony, of course. But it illustrates the complexity that this market has reached. A few years earlier, the Dollar Shave Club took the industry by storm with its hilarious ad and deliberately simplified product.
If your industry is starting to look like a 74-streak razor with endless competition, it may be time to get back to basics.
2. Implement thought leadership marketing
The reality of expert economics suggests that every expert is also responsible for promoting his own expertise. The idea may not go down well with many experts! For example, if you’ve decided to become a leadership coach, delve deep into management and psychology. Obviously, you want to spend your time applying this knowledge to help your customers solve their leadership challenges rather than being a marketer.
Having to market yourself creates additional resistance. I know a lot of brilliant experts who are rather uncomfortable with promoting themselves. My father – one of the best psychologists in town – never agreed to advertise his services despite my best efforts to convince him otherwise. But he was always open when my journalist friends asked for an expert comment and printed it in a local newspaper.
The increasing complexity of the world leaves people with more and more questions, so you always have room for answers. Thought leadership is a form of marketing strategy best suited to fostering expertise. It feels natural because instead of spending your time on lead generation and sales tactics, you are simply sharing your expertise. What questions do most of your customers ask themselves? What seems to be the most common misconception people have about the problems you are helping them solve? Thought Leadership is a well-articulated position on the most burning questions in the industry.
Related: What Exactly Is Thought Leadership?
3. Use media to your advantage
The impact of thought leadership can be maximized with the right channels. While anyone can claim expertise in social media, online and print magazines still have the allure of exclusivity. Writing an article for your LinkedIn Page takes just as much effort as writing an article for a magazine in your niche. However, the second has additional advantages. As a media published professional, you’ll have a different level of credibility, exposure to new audiences, and effectively standing out from the crowd. My customers tend to use their media features to create trust where it is needed most: when pitching coaching offers for companies, when integrating sponsors for their podcasts or when opening a high-profile offer to the public.
First, build relationships with editors in your niche or find magazines that are open to posting. If you’re not a great writer, a fun podcast and YouTube show would also be happy to contribute. I love this little strategy because it allows you to take advantage of the “borrowed credibility” effect; Just by choosing the right platform, your words gain weight and credibility.
Related: 7 Ways To Position Yourself So People See You As An Expert