Branding Bean-counters

Branding Bean-counters

I’ve been reading Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. 

I heard Weinberg on the James Altucher Show and was compelled to read his book. It’s incredible that Weinberg could take on the mighty Google and do it without tracking customers, a main strategy for the search giant. 

But what could I gain from a book about marketing start-ups? I am an analyst at a large county hospital. I am expected to remain in my compound and make spreadsheets.

So when I do things like write a blog and host a LinkedIn group, people get confused. Is that for work?  When do you write?

Bean counters need a platform

I pursue these endeavors because brand building is essential for today’s professionals — even us bean counters.

The days of locking into the same task at the same job for decades are long-gone. Like start-ups, today’s professionals must constantly adapt, fail, and retool. We are all start-ups now, even big-company analysts.

And like start-ups, analysts need marketing.

Traction gave me a sense of how to use the marketing tactics of a start-up in building my brand as an analyst.

50% product, 50% marketing

The book emphasized that many startups fail because too much time is spent on designing the product and not finding the right customer. 

If you build an amazing product and your customers don’t know about it, did you really build the product?

Weinberg and Mares give a 50/50 rule to fight this temptation. 50% of effort should go to building the product, and 50% to gaining traction for it. This means finding customers, getting feedback, and establishing demand for the product.

Marketing your human capital

The 50/50 rule applies to our human capital, too. While analysts can’t spend half their time writing blog posts or recording podcasts, they should have some platform for brand-building.

Everyone wants to do work that matters. They go to school, work hard, try for new jobs and promotions. This is important, and builds human capital.

But what about marketing that human capital? When it comes time to apply for that job, do you have a platform to display your talents? 

Spending all your effort on degrees, certificates, and work without building a brand is like building an amazing product but not finding any customers.

Spend time on traction, too. Work hard, take classes — but blog about it along the way. Have a brand. This will build your network faster than going to traditional networking events. It will improve how you think about work.

My blog is meant to be a curation of everything I’ve learned as an analyst over the past few years. I do this to help others and build my network.

Learning R or Tableau? Post some tips and tricks, or frustrations. Read a great book about business? Write a review — or even interview the author. 

When you’re up for a new job or degree, there will be no doubt of, or lack of demand for, your expertise.

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