TERRY KOHL: MARKETING YOURSELF
THE TRANSITION FROM losing a job to looking for
a new one can be daunting. It can also provide the
opportunity to step back and reassess your skills,
strengths and weaknesses as seen through the
eyes of potential employers. Taking a look through
the marketing lens, here are valuable tips on how
to market the product “You.”
What are the “You” features and benefits?
When evaluating a product, people ask, What will
this bring into my life? How does it differ from
the competition? How much does it cost?
The same questions apply to your job search.
How do you make yourself stand out from all of
the other job applicants? What are your bells and
whistles? What product features, aka skills, stand
above the rest for these target employers? Will
those help a prospective employer’s business?
Answering these questions requires an in-
Terry Kohl, a marketing
and career coach, is the
author of Lost Your Job?
Now What! (www.lost
depth look at your past. List all the things you
do well and like to do, whether or not you have
been paid for them. People often miss an employment opportunity because they incorrectly
believe they cannot make a living doing something they like.
How do you sell “You”? It pays to put serious time and effort into an innovative résumé.
Be creative but truthful as you write this “You”
sales tool. Discard your “This is what I have
always done and how I have always done it”
attitude. Today’s job market requires flexibility
and open-mindedness. A job may require on-the-job learning, travel or telecommuting. Be sure to
consider any community services or volunteer
work that you have done. It’s possible this will
resonate with an employer.
Are your skills in demand? It makes no sense
to seek a retail job in an area where stores are
closing. If you can’t find what you want where you
are, you may have to relocate.
Follow up on interviews where you did not
get the job. The answer to why you weren’t hired
is a valuable source of information. Similar jobs
may require updating your existing skills.
Is there an entrepreneur in “You”? If you
are out of work, consider it an opportunity if you
have dreamed of having your own business. Now
you have the time to research that dream. C
ACCORDING TO the
American Express OPEN®
Small Business Monitor, a
semiannual survey of business owners, now in its ninth
year, small-business owners
are somewhat hopeful yet
still skittish about the overall
Nearly half ( 48 percent )
plan to make capital investments in their businesses, up
from 42 percent last fall and
nearing levels in spring 2008
( 53 percent), when investment
plans began a steady decline
amid the worsening economy.
In addition, more than one-quarter have plans to hire ( 28
percent), slightly more than
in fall 2009 ( 23 percent).
The skepticism is about
business prospects. The
number of small businesses
that see the current economic climate as negatively
affecting business prospects
rose from 24 percent six
months ago to 29 percent,
and the number of entrepreneurs who see the economy
as improving, with expanding opportunities for their
businesses, fell from 26 percent last fall to 18 percent.
One bright spot on the subject of sentiment is younger
entrepreneurs (ages 19
through 29), 72 percent of
whom are optimistic about
their business prospects and
A news release outlining
the results of the survey is
available at www.openforum.
SMALL BUSINESSES tend to focus on marketing
when launching new products or services. But a
sometimes overlooked strategy can play a key
role in profit and success: pricing.
Costco member Rafi Mohammed, a Mass-
achusetts–based pricing consultant and the author
of The 1% Windfall: How Successful Companies
Use Price to Profit and Grow (HarperBusiness,
2010), offers tips to help small businesses find
prices that say value to potential customers and
can help increase profitability.
Set prices that capture value. Set prices that
capture the value customers place on a product
by thinking like a customer. Customers evaluate a
product and its next best alternative(s) and then
ask themselves, “Are the extra bells and whistles
worth the price premium (organic versus regular),
or does the discount stripped-down model make
sense (private label versus brand name)?” They
choose the product that provides the best deal
(price versus attributes).
Provide pick-a-plan options. Customers
are often interested in a product but refrain from
purchasing simply because the pricing plan does
not work for them. While some want to purchase
outright, others may prefer a selling strategy
such as renting, leasing, prepaying or all-you-can-eat. A pick-a-plan strategy activates these
The price is right
Offer product versions. Consider offering
good, better and best versions.
For example, many gourmet restaurants
offer early-bird, regular and chef’s-table options.
Price-sensitive gourmands come for the early-bird specials, while well-heeled diners willingly
pay an extra $50 to sit at the chef’s table.
Consider differential pricing. For any product,
some customers are willing to pay more than others. Consider tactics that offer discounts to price-sensitive customers, such as a coupon program.
Companies should think of their potential
customer base as a giant jigsaw puzzle, advises
Mohammed. Each new pricing tactic adds another
customer-segment piece to the puzzle. C
Offer product versions. Consider offering