Advanced Email Marketing: Identity vs Biography
The single question I’ve struggled to answer over my career is the one that is asked most often:
“So… what is it you do?”
The temptation to answer this question badly is overwhelming, especially for the majority of us who under-value our skills.
I used to fob people off by saying “oh, I work in marketing.” Which as a conversation stopper is only one up from saying “I work in I.T.”
These days I say I help people tell better stories about their work. Which doesn’t cover everything I do, by any stretch. But it’s enough to elicit a follow up question or two. Nobody has run for the hills, yet.
The problem with the “what do you do” question is it focuses on identity instead of biography. It focuses on the badge you currently wear on your forehead, not the real you underneath. A sheep is more than just wool or mutton. In fact, I doubt a sheep thinks of itself as either of those things.
Shifting the conversation from identity to biography is a challenge. You have to start off by talking about identity… about the mechanics of what you do, but after that biography is both more interesting and meaningful.
Biography can include your past, your interests, your beliefs, your hopes. And funnily enough, people are more likely to value what you do when they also know some of your biography.
You have to build up a more complete picture if you want to stand out.