A Young Professional’s Dilemmas

2011 was not that long ago, but in the world of marketing, it might as well be buried in the fossil record. I am reminded of this from a conversation I had with two of my clients, and how they started their business in 2011. Their first line of marketing? Naming their business “Aces” because of it’s placement in the phone book. Granted, the phone book was already becoming obsolete as a marketing form in 2011, but my clients, being of the Baby-Boomer Generation, hadn’t known any other methods. How much did this really affect them? Not that much. They were already established in several lines of business, from which their networks poured in a steady stream of referral customers (a timeless marketing strategy) that ultimately made their business successful.

Last fall, they made their final payment on the $800,000 loan they borrowed, and are now considering selling the business at a profit. They didn’t need to know about all the new, trending forms of marketing, because they were already established. The same is not true for today’s yet-to-be established, Young Professionals.

So much has changed in how we approach the task of getting our message in front of our customer base. Many experts will tell you Print Media is now dead. Billboards are dead. Radio is dead. Even traditional TV? Yep… going the way of the dinosaur… As Social Media dominates, the solution seems simple, put all your marketing efforts into Social, right?

Wrong. The answer is utilizing every form of Marketing available to your advantage. Today’s Young Professionals enter their careers with wide eyes and loads of ambition, which will take them far. But how do they stand out? Through creativity and hustle. Notice I don’t mention having the highest marketing budget.

Consumers have educated themselves, and have become more aware of advertising strategies, so in return, they want something of authentic value! Whether it be entertainment or education, a creative delivery is the only way to get your message across. The other important factor, hustle, is very ambiguous. In this case, hustling means continuous learning about who and what can help you deliver your methods. It’s researching, then telling your prospective clientele how your recently acquired knowledge can help them. It’s networking, and realizing how your new connections interact within your community. Hustling means never stopping for a break, because your competition won’t either.

If you would’ve asked me in 2011 if I thought I would ever be on a billboard, I probably would’ve said “no.” That’s because I hadn’t done the research, or met with the right professionals to explain to me the benefits (and down falls) of the multitude of marketing techniques. Actually, it wasn’t until I spoke with real people about some ideas that I had, that I began to realize the potential. “Why not mix old with new?” was a great question asked in a meeting. “Why not incorporate the billboard with a social media campaign?

Earlier this Spring (2019), we did just that. We offered any person in the community an opportunity to take a “selfie” by any of our billboards, and in return they would receive a perk: a cup of coffee and 1 entry into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant of their choice.

The campaign was a huge success. Why? The billboard was good, but not amazing. My social media page has minimal followers (168 as of publishing this), so it wasn’t that either. The success of the campaign was due to it’s creativity and hustle, not the dollar amount we threw at it. We listened to industry professionals. We were authentic, and wanted our clientele to feel comfortable, not like they were being given a sales pitch. We followed up with our post engagements and encouraged them to be themselves.

Will all of our marketing campaigns go that well? No. But that’s why we keep pushing forward. We keep making mistakes knowing that with every mistake we take one step further from “Young Professional” and one step closer to “Professional.” To all of my Co-Young Professionals: keep up the hustle. Keep thinking outside the box. I promise it will pay off in the long run.

Jordan is a licensed producer in 3 states, and lives in Dubuque, IA. You can contact Jordan directly Jordan@GnadeDBQ.com

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