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Marketing When YOU Are the Product

by Abhay Padgaonkar  |  
December 5, 2006

Marketing professionals widely use the 4 Ps for marketing a product. But how do you market yourself when YOU are the product? How do you make your own accomplishments believable?

In this day and age, we all might as well be from Missouri, the "Show Me" state. We constantly have to prove ourselves to others. We have to provide believable evidence of our capabilities.

A laundry list of responsibilities ("responsible for 2,000 people and a budget of $100 million") hardly says much about how you really performed on the job. Simply documenting activities ("managed supplier relations" or "participated in reengineering efforts") doesn't say much about your contributions or the outcomes you helped achieve. Impressing people with scope, size, or history ("over 800 offices globally" or "150 years of history") doesn't exactly tell the listeners what you can do for them.

Your level in the organization matters very little. In fact, the higher you are trying to go, the more you have to prove yourself. Whether you are an executive thinking about that next big promotion, an employee writing performance self-appraisal, a stay-at-home mom re-entering workforce, a consultant trying to sell to a potential client, or an organization trying to establish credibility through marketing... you have to face the music and answer the inevitable question: "What have you done for me lately?"

As Aldous Huxley said, "Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you." So focus on what you did and how—with what happened to you.

Fit and Proper

There are two things the person on the other side of the table is trying to find out:

  1. Fit: Does this person's motivational and behavioral profile fit with the company culture?

  2. Capability: Does this person possess the competencies and specific skills required?

Your education, experience, work history, technical knowledge are all important. Taken together, however, they manifest themselves as "competencies" or capabilities required to perform successfully the job at hand. It is much more than just knowledge about a given subject matter. As the old adage says, "People get hired for what they know, but fired for how they behave."

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Abhay Padgaonkar is a management consultant, author, and speaker, and the founder and president of Innovative Solutions Consulting, LLC ( Contact him via

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