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Do You NEED Experience In Your Industry?

Shama Hyder:

The other thing that I think is interesting is when someone says, “Do you have experience in my industry?” But I’m different. I have a niche audience. Our industry is different. And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how different it is. At the end of the day, you are selling to people.

Shama Hyder:

Hi, there. It’s Shama Hyder. Boy, it’s been a long day it seems like, full of client meetings and just tons of back-to-back stuff. And a topic keeps coming up, and I really thought I should address this because it’s just something that I hear so often. It may have been something that you’ve thought about, too. Every now and again, someone will ask me, “Well, Shama, do you guys have experience in our industry?” And … insert industry here. Do you have experience in education, in transportation, in manufacturing, technology? Whatever it is, right?

Shama Hyder:

It’s an interesting question, because I’ve been running Zen Media now … our marketing and PR firm for … boy, almost over a decade. So, 12 years. Every once in a while, I get this question. The funny thing is that in almost 12 years of being in business, I’ve worked with pretty much every industry that you can think of. I think at this point, I’d be hard pressed to find a single industry that I haven’t had experience in. That we haven’t done something cool in. Everything from politics, to manufacturing, to software. If it’s out there, chances are at some point we’ve done something in it.

Shama Hyder:

What’s exciting to me, and what [inaudible 00:01:41] is that the principles of marketing, stuff that makes things memorable, this concept of moments, and moment-based marketing, and whether it’s a new product launch, or something exciting, or companies trying to get funding, or they’re just trying to get better known in their industry … Whatever it is. It all starts with sort of this awareness, demand [gen 00:02:00] piece of it.

Shama Hyder:

The way you go about this is exactly the same across industries. I know people love to say, “But I’m different. I have a niche audience, or our industry is different.” And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how different it is. At the end of the day, you are selling to people. Yes. Even if you’re a B2B … especially if you’re B2B. And we work with so many business-to-business customers. I always find that interesting, because at the end of the day, it’s still an individual buying your product or services, right? Sometimes … usually these days for B2B, it’s usually groups of people making that purchasing decision. But it always does come back to being human and you’re connecting with another human being.

Shama Hyder:

Now, the tactics may vary, right? For certain clients, we may approach LinkedIn. For other clients, we might look at Facebook, or Twitter, or TikTok. Of course you’ve got different places and platforms, but really the idea of marketing … to find meaningful, unique, differentiated concepts, to get people talking about it, to make sure that you tell the story in the right way, to get people to connect with someone’s brand … These things are rather universal and they surpass industry.

Shama Hyder:

The other thing that I think is interesting is when someone says, “Do you have experience in my industry?” A lot of times I want to stop and remind them that, “Well, we do. But honestly, you know more about your industry.” No one is going to know as much about a particular industry as someone who’s been in that industry for 20, 30 years. Now, we have a client in manufacturing who’s been doing this for 40 years. There’s no way I would know more about manufacturing than he does. We have another client who is a software as a service, a SaaS business, and this is his third SAS company. I mean, he understands this model better than anybody else.

Shama Hyder:

But here’s the problem with going with someone who just works in your industry. And while there’s pros, if you really feel like that’s very important, and they’ve got to understand the industry, and you feel like they can understand the industry better than you, then that may be one way to go. But what I find interesting is if you go with someone who knows a ton about your industry, often it’s like breathing in your own exhaust. All right? Because if you know a ton about your industry, and they know a ton about your industry, great. Where’s the new blood? Where’s the innovation? Where’s the creativity?

Shama Hyder:

What I find fascinating is I have colleagues, and I know other folks who run agencies. Very successful ones. I mean, they have my respect … where they only work with one industry. In some ways it’s like a factory, right? Things go in, they understand the industry, things come out, they do a good job. But for me, I feel like our best success has come when we cross-pollinate. When we have a client in the automotive industry that we look at and say, “This is so interesting. How can we take this over here and apply it to what our client in healthcare is doing?” Or, “Boy, this technology company, this AI company is really being creative. How can we pull from that? What can we learn from here that we can then apply to our hospitality client over here?”

Shama Hyder:

Our best successes, believe it or not, have come from that sort of innovation and cross-pollination. While it’s a good idea … and it sounds good paper. Because when you go to your boss and your boss says, “Well, do they have experience in our industry?” I think it’s easy to say, “Yes. Boy, they sure do. That’s all they do.” I think the challenge is that, again, you’re probably reading the same books. You’re talking to the same people. You’re you already have the industry experience. What you want when you’re really looking to market, and be innovative, and reach audiences.

Shama Hyder:

Because let’s face it. If you’re reaching out to someone, it’s to help you accomplish something that haven’t been able to do yourself, whether because you lack resources, or time, or a myriad of reasons. But really, the bottom line is you want their expertise. You want their creativity. I find that because we work with so many industries … and honestly I’ve shied away from picking just one industry, because the team does the best work when we work with multiple industries. When we’re able to find those gemstones.

Shama Hyder:

There’s not a single industry that we haven’t done work in yet. That happens when you work over a decade in an industry. You work with lots of different companies, lots of different types of people. But really, I find that our continuous success, that secret sauce of why certain campaigns … like 80% of our campaigns go viral in their industry. I think it’s because of that very reason. That we’re able to pull from other industries, other learnings. And our knowledge base or resource base is so broad that we can take our strategies, we can take our big picture, and then we can pull from the client.

Shama Hyder:

The funny thing is that I was talking to a client today and they said, “Boy, you really asked some great questions.” And I said, “Thank you. That’s the highest compliment someone can pay me.” Because I feel like if I ask the right questions, I can elicit the information I need. I can then take that, we can layer what we do best, and that’s where that marketing magic sort of happens. Next time you start thinking you really need someone who understands your industry, perhaps step back and think about: what is it that you’re really looking for? Are you looking for results, or are you looking for someone who can match your industry knowledge? Do you want to ace trivia together, or do you want to make money? Do you want to drive marketing results? Do you want to have that success? That’s my two bit for you today in terms of: should you work with someone who specializes in your industry, or should you look a little bit broader?

Shama Hyder:

Hi, there. This is Shama Hyder again. Thank you so much for watching my videos. I super appreciate it. Please share it if you find this information valuable. Do comment. I love hearing from you. And be sure to subscribe, that way you don’t miss a single thing.

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