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The Era of Specialization
Going Solo
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March 2012

Cropped 2011 head shotIt's Nearly Spring

Daylight Savings Time. Vernal Equinox. And the IRS. Well, two out of three ain't bad! It's March!

If your fiscal year ends in June, you are probably beginning to plan for next year. Think about including information gathering in your marketing plans!
The Era of Specialization

DIY or Professional? 


Some people say: Anyone can do [that]! About nearly everything. Some people even self-medicate when they are ill. Some folks are, in fact multi-talented, and are well able to do home repair, cooking, and taking photos. But would you let this nice young man design your next brochure?


We recently conducted focus groups with hair stylists and discovered a group of well-trained professionals who could be chemistry teachers. They have a deep understanding of what different products do to hair, and cannot be tempted to try a new product without knowing exactly how it works. They are sensitive to being looked down on as [and this is a quote] "beauty school drop-outs." Don't even think about it.


This is an important lesson for marketers, regardless of whether you are aiming your brand and communications to consumers or business customers. Do not underestimate your audience. Don't overwhelm them either. But talking over their heads or talking down to them will waste your time and resources and not do your reputation any good.  


So don't assume you know how your audience thinks and what will resonate with them--unless you have a prior body of information from which you can extrapolate. And even then. Talk to your customers and prospects, and, more importantly, listen.

Going Solo

Are Consulting Practices The Trend for Boomers?


Ten years ago, during the last recession, I was "downsized" from my VP Research position at a PR firm in Manhattan. (Funny thing is, I didn't get any smaller--just their staff.) I started this consulting practice, and never looked back. Very recently, a friend of mine, who had a prominent corporate job for 18 years, was similarly shown the door due to a merger--stuff happens. He, too, is seriously considering forming a consulting practice, focused on the industry in which he worked, and spreading out a little. 


So the question is: Is this a trend for Boomers (say, folks ages 47 to 66), or just two people going rogue? Tune in next month to get findings from an Omnibus survey we'll be conducting this month through OpinionAmerica Group's Opinion 50+ panel.


In the meantime, here are some things to consider if you are in, or suspect you may be facing, that situation.

  • First, being a solopreneur is not for everyone. Make sure you feel comfortable working alone most of the time.
  • Secondly, think about the fact that you will not only be doing the work you do (content), but you will be running a business (admin). You might consider a partner, but that can be a sticky, and sometimes expensive proposition.
  • Once you have determined that this could work for you, connect with people who are in similar businesses, and develop a "virtual company;" this gives you the ability to offer a wider range of services without employees (a shiver just went through me for just writing the word!).
  • Then network like crazy. If you have been a consistent reader of my random thoughts, you know what store I put in networking.
  • If you are not already active on LinkedIn and/or Facebook, get started.
  • In these ways, contact everyone you know or ever knew to let them know you are in business.
  • Construct a website--it doesn't have to be very fancy unless you think there's a good reason for it to be (such as, you are in the web design or Internet-related business).
  • Find a well-known industry-focused directory and get listed. 

If you have been in a corporate position for most or all of your career, there are lots of administrative issues about which to become conversant--taxes, licensing, home offices, and other icky legal things (UGH!). Get some good advice and go forth! And call me anytime to chat!


 Upcoming Events
March 14, 8:00-10:00am


If you are interested in local or regional infrastructure, SMPS-LI's meeting next week is a good choice.  The meeting topic is "What's Up With Long Island's Airport Design and Construction. A panel of experts will discuss their experiences and thoughts on trends in this area. Appropriately, this meeting will be held at the Republic Airport Terminal Building in Farmingdale. For more details, click here.


March 20, 6:00-8:00pm 


Thinking about writing a book? WICI/NY can shed light on the process through "Turning An Idea Into A Published Book with ASJA," featuring a panel of editors and agents and moderated by Daylle Deanna Schwartz. The meeting will be held at JWalter Thompson, 466 Lexington Avenue (betw 45th and 46th Sts). Click here for more information.


March 21, 11:30am-1:30pm 


IABC/LI is pleased to welcome former board member Saskia Monteiro Thomson, Director of Marketing at Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP, speaking about "Beyond Lunch: How to Build Deep Relationships for Long-Term Business Development." The meeting will be held at the Huntington Hilton, Broadhollow Road, Melville. You can register at IABC's site to pre-pay, or by email to pay at the door.
This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman