Starting from a young age I had a knack for talking about my interests in ways that would get my listeners excited about them as well. Whether it was about a favorite comedian, band, book series, TV show, product, or paper airplanes, my enthusiasm was infectious. It was contagious.
However, it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I would figure out how to turn this quality, which I always perceived as little more than an interesting quirk, into a professional career. Apparently, there is an entire industry based on hyping things up and generating interest. It’s called marketing. Who knew?
Recently, I spoke to several people about my chosen profession – digital marketing – and explained to them the vast amount of changes taking place at a rapid rate in this growing field. I prattled on about how the growth of mobile has created a shift from a linear sales funnel to a sales cycle powered by catching people in “micro moments.” The impact of an increasingly consumer-focused market that forces brands to engage with customers in an ongoing dialogue rather than dominate a one-way conversation. The interconnected nature of search and social and how the data revolution enables brands to get the most for their spend while painstakingly tracking every aspect of their operations down to the most minute detail and optimize accordingly.
When I was finished, my audience (who was not in the marketing field) was not bored, but enrapt. “I never heard someone talk about these things with such a genuine passion,” one person said. It wasn’t only what I said, but how I said it that made the difference.
And then it hit me. If I want prospects to get on board with my vision and if I want clients to be truly invested in our projects, then it’s not enough to be knowledgeable and passionate, but so effing excited about my work that it’s contagious. The strength of my conviction in progressive, relevant, consumer-focused, data-driven online marketing must be contagious enough to spread like a virus.
This applies not only to my field, but to any field. Don’t “sell.” Be genuine. This will be your greatest currency. Stand by your products 100% whether it’s furniture, food, entertainment, plumbing services, or clothing. Demonstrate that you love what you offer and believe in your products or services in a way that your target audience feels they will genuinely benefit and you will not only get customers, but create a tribe of loyal followers.
And once you have a tribe that has caught your disease, the real fun begins, because they will spread it to others. There is a reason it’s called “going viral.” It has long been known that “word of mouth” is the strongest form of marketing. A referral from a trusted friend will always beat an ad or even an engaging piece of content.
In the olden days before print journalism, TV, or radio, word of mouth was all we had. Later, these forms of traditional media took its place. Now, we have come full circle and technology allows us to steer the conversation and generate word-of mouth marketing through large networks of fans, expanding our reach like never before.
Social media enables you to create a tribe of brand ambassadors who will then spread your message for you and further infect the population. If you’re effective, you’ll create an epidemic.
Don’t keep your enthusiasm quarantined. Hopefully, after reading this you have caught the bug and are ready to be contagious.