- Mon, June 11 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
For much of my adolescence, I was painfully shy. People who know me now find this hard to believe, but I was fearful of social situations and deeply uncertain of how to handle myself around others. Then I went off to college and felt comfortable in a setting for the first time in my life. I’ve been a strong extrovert ever since. But I’ve retained my simpatico for the shy, and that’s why Dorie Clark’s Harvard Business Review blog post on “marketing for the extremely shy” caught my eye. She asks, what do you do if you are shy and your job is to bring clients (or donors) in the door?
I thought I’d share my take on her advice, because Clark has sound counsel for the times you fear putting yourself out there or initiating a meeting. And even social butterflies have those moments.
1. Remember that you’re made to do marketing. As Clark notes, “No one is more convincing than you when it comes to explaining your vision, approach, and the ‘secret sauce’” that your organization possesses. Winning over others is critical to the job of anyone promoting a cause. Know that you can excel at speaking from the heart about why your work matters. Yes you CAN – because that above all requires knowledge and passion, and you have both!
2. Hire the help you need. If you still want to delegate marketing, get the right assistance. Find someone who can represent you and your cause credibly, artfully and with passion. But keep in mind, if they are developing all of your most important relationships for you, those might end if the job-holder leaves. So stay involved yourself, too.
3. Above all, don’t fall into the “marketing isn’t needed” trap. That can be tempting to believe if you are shy. But one of the biggest problems we have in our sector is that we think marketing shouldn’t be required. After all, we have a great cause. Why should promoting it be necessary? Shouldn’t our mission and need suffice to persuade others? But of course, it’s not enough. Otherwise we wouldn’t even need to ask for help. Marketing – the art of getting people engaged in your cause – is critical, whatever your personality.
I’d also add that great marketers and fundraisers have so many different styles. As I highlighted on the blog recently, you can be introverted or shy and connect well as your true self. The key is not to stop being shy. The key is to not let that be an excuse for failing to put yourself out there or neglecting the relationships your organization needs.