In September 2012, if you
counted all the number of political signs
all around my neighborhood, you would have
concluded that the hot upcoming election was
not a race for the President, the House or
the Senate but for Register of Deeds. I am
Our county's current
Register of Deeds was retiring after 23
years in the office. The four candidates
vying to replace her debated one another,
and the local paper published profiles of
them. All this made me curious, because in
my mind, Register of Deeds is the ultimate
nerdy elected job. What in the world was
there to care about, much less debate?
The candidates differed, I
learned, when it came to what the Register
of Deeds could do about so-called "robo-signed"
documents, which played a role in many
fraudulent foreclosures. One of the
candidates had a vision of what could be
done to make land records more usable by
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Another explained that as
Register of Deeds, she would help protect
the typical family's largest investment,
their home. She also pointed out that old
land records are often crucial in
determining which roads in the county are
public and which private.
This little exploration
into something I'd never thought about
before hammered home a few general marketing
1. No matter how nerdy
your specialty, there are probably numerous
possible ways to explain why it's important
and why you care about it. Why is this
service important for the person being
served? How is it relevant for others in
society? What values are promoted by the
work you do?
2. See if you can connect
your specialization to a controversy, an
event or an achievement that the average
person probably has heard about. This adds
to the perceived value of your work
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3. Explain your ideas
about getting the job done well. Had I been
present at the Register of Deeds debate, I'm
sure I would have gotten a clear sense of
particular priorities emphasized by each of
the candidates more than the others. Without
realizing it, you can likewise come across
differently from competitors just by the way
you describe this factor.
Let's suppose now that
you're a nutritional labeling specialist.
For packaged foods clients, you analyze food
products to determine compliance with all
the federal regulations on printed food
Instead of simply
describing in a technical fashion which
kinds of labeling information you provide,
you could stand out vis-a-vis competitors
with the kind of elaboration described
above. Remind potential food entrepreneur
clients that correctly analyzing the
nutritional content of foods helps consumers
obtain all the nutrients they need, comply
with medically necessary diet restrictions
and avoid triggering life-threatening
allergic reactions. Proper food labeling
saves lives, in addition to complying with
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Don't take for granted
that the person in a position to buy your
product or service understands what's at
stake. Probably they do not. By spelling out
the factors identified above, you make
"votes" - purchases - for what you sell much
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