Knowledge + skills + experience = expertise
People buy expertise. Whether it is in marketing, accountancy, law, woodworking, painting and decorating, cooking, delivering charitable services, it’s that collection of knowledge, skills and experience that creates a product or service that people will choose.
In this article, we’re making space to consider:
- Why your organisation might benefit from a Visible Expert strategy
- Defining your Visible Expert strategy
- How to adopt one in your organisation
1. Why your organisation might benefit from a Visible Expert Strategy
First, answer these questions:
- Does your organisation ‘sell’ something that isn’t tangible, i.e. it can’t be seen, heard or held?
- Does your product or service rely on skill, knowledge and experience?
If you answered Yes to one or both of these questions, you could probably benefit from adopting a Visible Expert strategy.
As people are making their way through your Buyers Journey, trying to decide if they want to engage with your organisation or not, they need reassurances along the way.
The questions your potential clients need answering might include:
- Do people working for this company know what they are doing?
- Can I trust them to do this right?
- How much experience have they got doing this for other people/companies like me/mine?
- How well do they do this?
- Do I like the way they do it?
It is our responsibility, as marketers, to answer all these questions for them.
We can do this by adopting a Visible Expert strategy throughout the entire Buyers’ Journey, which answers all of their often unasked questions.
Make space and take the time to think about:
- What questions a prospective client, new client, and current client might want to be answered?
- What reassurances a prospective client, new client, and current client might need?
2. Defining your ‘Visible Expert’ strategy
If you think you need a Visible Expert strategy, it’s good to start by defining what that means for your organisation.
The ‘Visible Expert’ was a phrase coined by the marketing group Hinge. You have probably also heard it called Thought Leadership Strategy, Expert Strategy and so on.
Hinge has a very comprehensive definition of Visible Expert. I recommend you work through our Drop By Space article first, then read How Ordinary Professionals Become Thought Leaders for further ideas.
A Visible Expert strategy is an approach you have to marketing that relies on you clearly and consistently showing your audience that you have that combination of knowledge, skills and experience they are looking for.
Let’s look at a few examples:
An accountancy firm is operating in a competitive arena. They know their customers choose them because of their SKILLS in understanding and being able to explain complex corporate finance clearly. So their Visible Expert Strategy is defined as ‘Consistently showing the skills our people have in explaining complex corporate finance’.
A national charity attracts and retains donors because of its KNOWLEDGE of the natural world’s benefits and its SKILL in campaigning to protect nature. Their Visible Expert Strategy is defined as ‘Sharing our knowledge of the natural world and our progress and success in lobbying and campaigning.
A small Digital Marketing Firm is focused on becoming experts in one particular digital technology, with years of EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE of that tech. Their Visible Expert Strategy is defined as, ‘Highlighting our years of experience and deep knowledge in XYZ tech’.
Each of these organisations understands what elements of their experience, knowledge, and skills are essential to their market. These are what they have built their Visible Expert Strategies on.
Make space to jot down ideas on:
- What is your definition of a Visible Expert Strategy?
- Which skills, knowledge, or experience do your clients appreciate?
- Which make you stand out from your competitors?
3. How to adopt a Visible Expert Strategy in your organisation
A Visible Expert Strategy has to be adopted and implemented consistently throughout your entire marketing, and there are two fundamental approaches you can take:
a) Consistency in all your marketing.
This means every piece of marketing you:
has to reinforce your interpretation of a Visible Expert.
Ask yourself: if someone looked at our website copy, blog posts, social media posts, webinar content or any other marketing collaterals and communication, would they immediately know what we were experts in?
b) Key pieces of marketing.
These need to be defined by what your audience needs to see, hear, read or watch at different stages of the Buyers Journey.
Some of the most common channels, techniques and tools that I use for my businesses and with clients include:
- Social media posts (everyone can see them)
- Commenting on social media posts (everyone can see them)
- Articles and blog posts (available to everyone)
- White papers or e-books (user is prompted to share their email address to get access – it reinforces the Visible Expert statue)
- Webinars or live events (available to attendees but make sure to make them available on-demand later and reuse the content)
- Client portfolio, logos of the affiliates and accreditations (showcase years of relevant experience)
- Up to date team profiles and CVs (summaries set to public, complete CVs in pitching docs available upon request).
All of these can be used to build up that Visible Expert status.
Remember: people know the most about your business from the story you’ve created so, what are you telling them right now?
A combination of consistency across all your company’s communications and critical pieces of marketing showcasing your expertise leads to a Visible Expert strategy.
Make space and take time to consider:
- How effectively does the way your marketing shows up every day reflect your desired Visible Expert status?
- Which marketing tools can you use to showcase your Visible Expert status?
- Who is going to create them, and how often?
A Visible Expert strategy is highly effective for many organisations and businesses – it helps position you in people’s minds, creating a market status for you in a busy, competitive world.
Take the time to consider how to implement it for your company, or yourself, to make your marketing even more effective.