Throughout my career, I have been asked the question “Have you ever marketed (insert certain product or industry here)?” Sometimes my answer is yes and sometimes it is no. However, I always tell the following story.

My first week as a college intern at the Tennessee aquarium I went to the weekly marketing department meeting. The head of the marketing department stood up and told us how he had assembled a team of marketers who were top in their fields. And that although many of them had no experience marketing aquariums what mattered was that they knew marketing. He said, “I can teach you about fish.”

That simple 90 second part of a meeting shaped my entire career in marketing. I knew that what I needed to do was immerse myself in knowing, understanding, and applying the principles of marketing in ways that other people do not. And that once I was able to do that I could always learn about the “fish” part.

I think that this holds true for anyone in business. Know your stuff. Know it in ways that others never will. And then share that knowledge with others. Don’t get hung up on the things you don’t know or feel like you should specialize in one industry. In most cases, your knowledge can apply across industries. So, don’t limit your customer base by thinking too small.

Now, this is where you must believe there is no box. You must look at what you offer and how to package it for different industries. Pricing can be slightly different. The elements you put together may be done in a different order. But overall it is the same product tweaked for different markets. Thus, tweaking allows you to sell the same service to multiple groups. And in many cases, this will dramatically reduce your workload and increase your reach and revenue.

I have marketed everything from arthritis to polyurethane foam. Yes polyurethane form, ask me about it someday. These are very different things, but they are marketed using the same marketing principals. This is important when you are choosing service providers for your business. And when you are identifying markets for your business. So, when you are deciding if you can serve a new audience remember you can always learn about the “fish”

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC