Before I came online to work exclusively in 2006, I worked as a classroom teacher and as a real estate broker and residential appraiser throughout southern California. I have said many times that if I had known as much about marketing and leveraging the power of the Internet then as I do now my real estate business would have been much easier and more lucrative.
But is marketing only applicable to business? I think not.
We market ourselves on a regular basis in our daily lives. It’s our way of connecting with others and building something referred to as the ‘know, like, and trust factor‘. Allow me to give you a concrete example of this strategy.
Two of my friends, Tom and Dina, have a daughter, Caroline, who is a senior in high school this year. Caroline is a top student, yet she is shy and introverted when it comes to getting involved with activities at school. Two years ago the school counselor told them that unless Caroline could show that she was more than just academically outstanding, there would be little chance of her getting into the college of her choice.
That’s when they came to me for help, and I began the process of ‘marketing’ Caroline to the world. My goal was to showcase her gifts and talents, in a way that would suit her personality and get her noticed by the college admissions offices. I met with the family every week for about six weeks to put many things into place that would build her credibility and increase her visibility.
The first thing we did was to make a list of Caroline’s accomplishments: She had played the piano since she was eleven; she used to play soccer in elementary and junior high; and she excelled in mathematics. We needed to show that it would be a benefit to have her as a part of any college freshman class.
Because Caroline is shy and reserved, my approach was to turn her into a minor celebrity who could say almost everything she needed to from the solitude of home. We set up a blog for her, and also a channel on YouTube. She began posting about her love of music, and then invited readers to watch the videos she was making where she was playing the piano. She posted about her school’s soccer team, and gave a detailed analysis after each game of what they could have done differently. She posted about various math topics, and then offered to help anyone who had questions or was having difficulty with their homework.
All of this was put into place to build Caroline’s credibility, but none of it would matter unless we could get the word out about what she was doing to increase her visibility. To do this quickly, I recommended that she connect with at least three other students who were key ‘influencers’ in the high school community. After a long discussion and strategy session we narrowed it down to three students she knew fairly well. Her assignment was to tell each of them about her blog, and to ask them to let others at school know about it as well.
The results have been nothing short of amazing. She became a minor celebrity at school very quickly by leveraging the power of the Internet. The music department asked her to join them for their upcoming events; the math department asked her to start a program for after school tutoring, and the soccer team asked her to be a student advisor for their next season.
Caroline was able to stay true to herself, while also getting involved in activities she was passionate about. When she filled out her college applications she had so much more to include that showcased her talents, skills, and abilities. She is currently in the process of applying to schools that meet all of her criteria so that she will have a bright future.
What about you? Can you see by this Case Study that marketing is not just for business?