Marketing Mondays: How to Take Your Marketing Skills to Other Industries

I was on the 22nd floor of a downtown skyscraper. Headquarters of a large financial business. Sitting in the boardroom with the company’s owner waiting for the division managers to arrive.

When they did the President introduced me to the rest of the people in the room told everyone why he had brought me in to help the company.

Each manager introduced themselves politely and I was about to start my presentation. Just then one of managers called out and said…

“Hey, do you have any experience in our industry?”

At that time I hadn’t. I’d worked with companies in over 21 industries at that point, but not pharmaceuticals.

I met eyes with the manager that had called me out and said, “No, I don’t. But that’s exactly why you need me here. Because I bring a fresh perspective to what you guys are doing.”

Clearly the status quo wasn’t working for this company.

If it was, they wouldn’t have brought me in.

My response seemed to please the manager and I went on with my presentation.

The lesson today is about being open to learning from industries other than your own.

Too many businesses stay so focused on their industry that they fail to see the ocean of opportunities surrounding them each and every day.

Techniques, strategies, and approaches that are being used successfully in other industries…and could very well be used in yours too.

Can a marketing strategy used by realtors help your consulting business? Sure. What about the furniture company’s direct mail piece that they keep mailing to you? Or that loyalty program that you just signed up for at your local bookstore…do you think there is anything you can learn from and apply in your business? There usually is.

Are the books and magazines you’re reading only about your own industry? If you’re in marketing, are you only reading marketing books? Start reading more about psychology, selling, productivity, and you’ll quickly discover new ideas and concepts that you can benefit and make money from.

This lesson should be applied to your consulting clients as well. Always be on the lookout for successful campaigns in other industries that you can bring to your clients. Most often, because no one else is doing ‘it’ other than in that one industry, by bringing it into another you see spectacular results.

Expand your horizons.

 

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  • Islam

    Nice one Michael
    I think that is why my customers asks me in many fields
    They think I am an expert in those fields 😀

    • It could be. This doesn’t mean you should work in all those fields…but rather find the strategies that are working in one field and think about how you can bring them in to another field. The results are often quite powerful.

  • Bill

    On point Micheal, in the business niche I have this is something I am bringing to the table as they work to find solutions to pay scales, employee performance diferentiation, administration and when we can marketing. It is a tough shell to crack, that of status quo..

    Thanks Bill Sefcek.

  • Thom

    thank you for your insights. Your ideas on borrowing from the successes of other business models makes perfect sense. Why reinvent the wheel? This is been a real eye-opener for me. I’m currently looking for strategies outside of my business model that I can integrate into my business plan and style.

  • William S. Dickinson

    Great answer to the manager and a good suggestions for getting to know today’s Marketing in general.

    We are in such an evolving world and inundated with messages from every new mouse-trap that comes to market… It is our job as a marketers, coaches and consultants to guide our clients to look outside their ‘traditions’.

    It still amazes me that even with all the ‘ how to market in today’s business world speak’ out there in the last few years, how many companies get stuck in the “I’ve done this for ‘x’ number of years… why should I change?” attitude.

    Frankly, this is not even circa. 2008 marketing anymore.

    Have a great morningdayevening!


    William

  • I agree totally with you, Michael. Unfortunately, there are still industries that are very myopic to this innovative approach–you sometimes need a “Plan B” when rationalizing to ‘old-school’ thinking.

    • Definitely – as long as you can provide proof and/or support the concept or plan you’re proposing you’ll face less roadblocks.

  • I agree Cherie. I changed industries from healthcare to finance – but still in Marketing. At first, the company loved my out-of-the-box ideas but after awhile I started to hear about how they had “always done it this way.” My outsider status soon became a handicap even though I was meeting goals and creating growth. Now I am in consulting but confident that I can shift from industry to industry because I have that experience under my belt. I learned that marketing principles are the same no matter which industry you work in and that you can, in fact, transfer ideas from one to another. Great blog today, thanks!!

  • Thanks William!

  • Anonymous

    Nice article Micheal!
    This semester I am taking a course ‘Principals of Marketing’ and we did study a piece, in a lecture, from our local literature (Urdu). we looked at customer behavior from the eye of adeeb (fiction writer) and it was quite helpful.

  • Excellent article. I’m fortunate that I work directly with CEO’s and get to share their vision. They already know why I’m there and don’t have anyone else to impress.

    One of the great things about what I do is that CEO’s will take me “behind the curtain” and show me what they’re doing and how things work. Of course this is all confidential but many of the things they’re doing can be used in other industries that I work with. There’s a lot of cross-over.

    Each time I learn something new that’s a new tool in my belt of solutions that I can offer my clients. Although I work with numerous industries there are a few that I prefer to work with because they’re more fun. However, I’m always looking for a new industry to challenge me.

    Again, excellent article.

  • Felix Nater

    As a security management consultant, I need to acquire an understanding and appreciation for how other organizations respond to my service line so that I might learn new ways to help my main clients. Your suggestions that we acquire such expertise outside of my comfort zone makes me a better consultant. Thank you Michael, your material has expanded my horizons even more.