Maybe you’re a little insecure about it.
Don’t be either, if you want to succeed in marketing.
My completely unscientific analysis, after 30 years on the job, shows that people who act like the smartest one in the room usually aren’t quite as bright as they think.
On the other hand, the guy or gal with no pretentions may have deep understanding the others can’t touch.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner proposed a model of multiple intelligences in 1983 that says, and I paraphrase, that you can be smart in one area and not so smart in another.
This theory isn’t universally accepted. But it rings true, doesn’t it?
Some people have book smarts. Some have street smarts. Some are brilliant designers. Some know how to tell a great story or joke. Some are genius with numbers or puzzles. Some know how to make other people feel good about themselves.
Maybe you’ve worked with a brilliant scientist or engineer who can’t handle a simple conversation. They’re bright in one area, not so bright in another.
How smart does a marketer need to be?
Perhaps you’ve been in marketing meetings with obviously smart or accomplished people who quickly prove they have no clue how to articulate a benefit, make a sale or even evaluate a brochure or web page. Yet they impose their opinion on the project.
Video: Who is the smartest guy in this room?
Then there are the business owners who don’t knock you over with conspicuous intellectualism. Yet they’ve built companies, employed dozens or thousands, and made a huge mark on the world.
This is not to say that people with obvious intelligence don’t or can’t make great marketers. But it’s clear that some aspects of intelligence aren’t always so obvious.
It takes all kinds of intelligence
In marketing, our job is to create and execute plans that build a connection between brands, customers and communities. This requires us to understand our company or client, its products and services; our customers or prospects, their practical needs and feelings; and what our competition is up to.
Maybe your role in all this is to manage a process. Or to challenge assumptions. Or to come up with ideas. Or execute particular tasks. Or ask questions about things you don’t understand. (Marketing without inquisitiveness isn’t very bright.)
I no longer get caught off guard by unexpected intelligence, or frustrated by unexpected hard-headedness – even if it’s my own.
What about you?