What does it take to be a successful marketer? Specifically an inbound marketer? Most would argue it's a specific talent for writing compelling copy, crafting winning headlines, or a flare for design. It's not.
To quote the title of a John C. Maxwell book, "Talent is Never Enough"! Your talent, whatever it may be, will only take you so far. At some point, WHO you are will have more impact on your success than WHAT you do.
Why Who You Are Is More Important
If you're a sports fan, December and January can be a very exciting time of year. The English Premier League or EPL (that's soccer in England if you didn't know) loads up games in rapid succession. Giving fans more opportunities to watch their favorite teams play. Go Chelsea!!!
The NFL winds down the final quarter of the regular season and heads into post-season and the road to the Super Bowl. Sadly, my Cowboys won't be traveling that road this year...
For those of you who are college football fans, the bowl season is upon us and the best of the best square off in festival-esque games.
Whatever your sport, it is always exciting to see the best teams play at the highest level. The interesting thing to observe is that it isn't always the most talented team that ends up winning.
At a certain point (especially at the professional level), the talent gap is very small and the number of truly future all-time great players on the field, court, or pitch is limited. It is the team that has more mental toughness, more selfless players, more vision for what they want to achieve (and more!) that ends up winning the big game.
In short, it is the character of the player, the team, or the organization that ultimately leads to success.
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Why Is This Important For Inbound Marketers?
Being a marketer or salesperson of any kind can produce a variety of negative emotions; failure, frustration, discouragement, loneliness, and the desire to quit to just name a few. As a former door-to-door commercial sales manager and college recruiter, I am all too familiar with these feelings. Fortunately, I had some great mentors both physically and virtually to help me be successful.
As I've ventured into inbound marketing over the last several years, I've learned a lot from my mistakes and from those I follow in the marketing space. One of the virtual mentors that has been particularly inspiring and helpful as I've started this company is Gary Vaynerchuck. He is the founder and CEO of VaynerMedia - the fastest growning digital agency in America with over 600 team members is less than 5 years.
His podcast, The #AskGaryVee Show, is a must-listen for marketers, entreprenuers, or anyone looking to do more with their career. It was also listed as one of three recommended resources on my recent video post, 3 High Growth Resources Small Business Owners Will Love. His content is largely responsible for the inspiration behind this post.
What Are The 3 Characteristics You Need To Have As A Successful Inbound Marketer?
If you are an uber-talented individual, then you have a great headstart and a spark to start the marathon that is inbound marketing (if you want a career with quick wins and easy work, do something else). However, if you're going to make it to the Super Bowl, the National Championship, or to mile 26.2, then you're going to need these characteristics.
1. Willingness to Fail
If you're constantly afraid of failure, then you will never do anything worthwhile. Nothing and no one is perfect and the quicker you learn that, the sooner you'll start seeing greater success.
I recently had a conversation with Eric Baum. He is the founder and CEO of the inbound marketing agency BluLeadz which recently reached the Diamond Tier designation as part of the HubSpot Partner Program (a program to which I was recently accepted).
He told me that one of the best pieces of advice he could offer me or anyone in our industry was to wake up each morning and forget any failures you had the day before. This goes right along with many of Gary's answers to dealing with failures. Learn what you can and then move on!
2. Commitment to Routine
Routine cannot be a dirty word to you any longer! Routines allow you to perform important and necessary tasks more efficiently. Can you imagine if you had to dedicate brainpower and focus to tieing your shoes?!
Leadership and personal development expert, Michael Hyatt, says that most people give up right before the inflection point. Which is the point at which your success is about to skyrocket. (He was one of the other recommended resources on the video post I mentioned earlier.)
Marketing guru, Seth Godin, wrote a book called The Dip that discusses that very principle. Most people give up when they go through the hard part, the constant stream of "no's", the lack of page views, the lack of subscribers, the lack of social shares, the dip. Successful people, successful inbound marketers, stick to what they know to do even if the results they want are there right away.
Gary Vaynerchuk frequently references the fact that when he started Wine Library TV (a daily show on YouTube) that he barely had any viewers for the first 18-24 months. But, he kept producing content and then one day the number of viewers started growing, and engaging, and sharing. Before he knew it, it was being called a social media expert and getting requests for speaking and other engagements. He committed to a routine even when he didn't see the results he wanted in the timeframe he wanted because he was doing the right things.
There is a verse in the Bible that speaks to this very characteristic and its benefits, "So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit." (Gal 6:9 MSG)
3. Desire to Win
This may be the most important of the three. This speaks to the vision you have for your campaign, your company, or your client. If you do not have a burning desire to win on the inside, then the cold results will leave you and your career frozen in place.
You may be thinking that winning is too aggressive of a word. Maybe you think that doesn't describe you or your personality because you're not a very competitive person and you're just in it to help people. That's great! But winning isn't specifically about scoring goals, touchdowns, or runs. Your wins are how you help people.
If you have a job you love - that's a win. If you write a piece of content that gets a client more leads than you were aiming for - that's a win. If you figure out save your company money so that you can add another person to the marketing team - that's a win!
A win should be defined as meeting or exceeding a goal for you, your company, or your client.
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In closing, if you want to be successful as an inbound marketer, then you have to have these three characteristics inside of you. You need to continue to nurture and increase their strength because what gets practiced gets perfected.
A pastor friend of mine always tells people that character is like toothpaste - pressure doesn't make it, pressure reveals it. Your job in marketing, your life for that matter, will have plenty of pressure - what will be revealed when you get squeezed?
Question: What characteristics have you seen or do you feel make for a successful inbound marketer?