Blurred Lines, Technology, Marketing, and Influency

When we started throwing around the word Influency, we we trying to describe what we do at Answer Guy Central. Are we business consultants? Marketing people? Really good techno-weenies? The answer to any of those is ‘yes’, but one of the things I’ve learned over my three decades in business is that once someone thinks of you in a particular way it’s incredibly difficult to adjust their thinking.

Not impossible, but difficult. We re-brand and re-focus our clients’ ‘place in the world’ all the time with great results, but it takes a lot of work.

The fact that we have expertise in and consult on many different issues that used to be—or at least might have seemed to be—separate from each other might have been part of The Great Influency Rebranding of 2013, but it was about a lot more than just furthering our own marketing efforts. Forget marketing; the honest-to-goodness truth is that all the stuff you do is mixed up in a big business influency stew comprised of … all the stuff you do, and it can’t be broken down into pieces. Sure, you need people with expertise in ‘all of them’, but they work together, or they don’t much help your cause; the name of the game is now, decidedly, everything. Want to hear it from someone else? Check out this piece at Gartner Research.

I was reminded of the confluence of everything, as if I needed that reminder, when I came across this article at Spin Sucks. It talks about the commitment required when you engage a public relations firm, but you could apply it to the hiring of pretty much any outside expert brought on to handle something you either don’t have the time or the expertise to keep on your plate.

Years ago, a friend who works in PR was indignant as she asked why I read a several-times-daily newsletter by one of the more prominent guys in ‘her’ field. You think public relations is a stand-alone endeavor? Please refer back to the beginning of this piece and re-read it until what I’m saying sinks in.

This point about everyTHING has a way of resurfacing pretty much everyDAY. And the ‘stay involved’ part is huge. Yes, when we manage your Influency you’re hiring us to take the stuff you don’t have time for off your hands. But it’s still your business; if you completely sign over eveything to anyone else, even The Answer Guy, you’re missing an opportunity.

The opportunity, as Steve Jobs put it, to be and think different.

There are things that nobody can do as well as you can. For example, when I write these pieces one of the things I do is create links back into articles I’ve written before so you—and Google—can find them better. That’s optimization, and nobody knows the content at Answer Guy Central as well as I do. Does this mean nobody else can do our Search Engine Optimization? Nope. But if I simply handed it off without getting the person or team I handed it off to versed in the goals we have here I wouldn’t get optimal results.

It all melds together. There’s a lot of it. And whether you call it Public Relations, SEO, Marketing, Technology, or that messy place where it all melds together, it’s what we do.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow when I tell you about honesty, authenticity, and one very important way not to present yourself.

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