Promotion Pro-motion: A primer for selling yourself up the ladder

Climbing up the career ladder requires selling yourself successfully. Professionals often forget that the “build it and they will come” strategy doesn’t work so well with promotions. Welcome to the world of stalled careers.

Imagine creating a fabulous product, one that is unique in the marketplace, valuable to the consumer and has rave reviews from the focus group. Now picture putting it on shelf, next to other best sellers, secure in the knowledge that a big sale is sure to come along. You didn’t invest money in great packaging, or spend time on a marketing campaign. You’ve been too busy to tell your network about it and aren’t sure how to go about some kind of alliance with a big vendor. But that shouldn’t matter, should it? It’s a great product. Surely people will see that. Or will they?

It is easy to think that doing a great job comes with its own rewards, and it often does. But doing a great job and executing a marketing strategy for the next great job makes those rewards come along with greater frequency and takes you in the desired direction. Just to be clear, we are not talking about brown-nosing, political spin, or false advertising. This is about making sure the right people have the right information about you, your intentions and your capabilities. If you are the fabulous product no one knows about, read on…

Let’s look at the pro-motion steps:

  • Know your product’s UVP. What is your unique value proposition? Your own “brand”. You can’t effectively market your value if you aren’t crystal clear (and accurate) about what it is. If you don’t feel unique, figure out what would make you a hot commodity and start working on it.
  • Set your marketing goals. Figure out where you are headed. You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Identify your two-steps-ahead promotion in order to make the right move with the next one. What gaps does the next promotion fill that will make you more marketable for the one after that?
  • Create a marketing plan. Who needs to know about your product (you) that doesn’t today? Who are the buyers and who are the influencers? How can you use your champion alliances, and which ones need to be added. Where do you need to be seen that you aren’t visible today? What is the optimal timing for promoting yourself?
  • Create an advertising campaign with a powerful message. Have an elevator speech that doesn’t sound like one and start using it. What do you want to be known for? Are you “a master at simplifying complex problems”. If it fits in your company culture, add a tag line to your email signature: “Your resource for converting boring accounting into sizzling business”.
  • Use focus group input to continuously improve your product. Actively develop yourself for your next role, not just the one you are in. Seek feedback from mentors and champions. Act on 360 results. Hire a coach!

So take yourself off the shelf and put some motion into your promotion strategy!

"I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific." ~ Lily Tomlin