It’s a funny thing about marketers. In my experience, many are savvy, hard-hitters when it comes to marketing everyone but themselves. In a sort of a replay of the shoemaker’s children story, these idea-a-second folks shoot blanks when it comes to their own marketing.
Then there’s Tom Anderson, CEO of Anderson Analytics, a two-year-old Stamford, CT-based market research company that does all sorts of heavy lifting, including data mining and text analytics, to help companies make sense of huge chunks of data. Tom, besides being a top flight market researcher, is one of the best marketers of his own business that I know. In just two years he has built his company from the ground up to where he and his four employees service 18 clients, including big name firms like Unilever, Starwood and Yahoo.
He’s built his business without a drop of advertising but a lot of smarts and personal branding. This includes networking the heck on social networking sites like Linkedin. Where many of us – and I count myself among the number – dawdle on the site – Tom has 1600 linkedin contacts – even with being discrete about whom he agrees to join his network. Beyond that, he sends out newsletters he writes and designs about twice a year. Not content to just send Christmas cards, every two months or so he emails custom-designed cards for Thanksgiving, Columbus Day and other holidays. The cards, while often humorous, reinforce his brand and remind the recipient of what he’s about and why anyone should care.
A few times a month, he issues press releases on research he’s done touting the results. Google the name Anderson Analytics and you’ll see the company is all over the Net. Having a common name like Tom Anderson can be a bit problematic. Tom gets around that since his given name is Tom H.C. Anderson though some references to him use the vanilla Tom Anderson. It’s not always easy but those of us with more common names should try in this search engine-driven world to encourage people writing about us to use our middle names or initials as well. Otherwise, we risk being lost in the search engine sea.
Tom furthers his personal brand by speaking at five to six conferences throughout the US and Europe in his quest to build a global network. Even though he works a zillion hours a week, he still has time to volunteer with organizations like MENG and the Stamford Historical Society, where he serves on the board of directors as membership and marketing chairman.
He is also smart about partnership relationships and partners with folks like SPSS, a statistical company and speaks at several of their conferences.
Here are some ideas from Tom on building a personal brand:
• Think differently. Study what your competitors do but see how you can then go one better.
• Work with smart people. Hiring low-rent people costs you in the end. Far better to pay a little more upfront and get trustworthy, top flight workers.
• Give back. Volunteer and you’ll find you get back more than you give.