Don’t Be Afraid To Brag

Please stop being afraid that people are going to steal your stuff! It’s too confining. Stop taking yourself so seriously. No one is going to go out of their way to steal your stuff.

First of all, we are in the most NIH industry in the world. NIH, for those of you who don’t know stands for Not Invented Here. And most companies in the PCB industry are so self-involved and self-focused that they would never use someone else’s ideas.

Those of you familiar with this column probably remember my 50 reasons why it won’t work columns, where I discussed the fact that instead of looking for ways to use new ideas, companies’ first impulse is to come up with at least 50 reasons why it won’t work in their company.

My dear friend Bob Tarzwell was always worried that people would steal his ideas, but I assured him that he could publish a complete plan of whatever new cutting edge technology he was working on and people reading it would come up with 50 reasons why it would not work. 

A few years back he wrote a column called “The Bleeding Edge” in which he described some of the cutting edge technologies he was working on. And yes, sure enough, almost all the feedback he got was from PCB engineers pointing out why his technology would not work!

We all have this same negative response to new ideas, and that is to find the flaws in that new idea (I do it too!) and it’s a very bad habit. It’s a mind closing habit that causes us to miss out on exploring and accepting new ideas that could really help us in the end.

Whenever we hear a new idea, we should find ways to make it work. Or at least look for a nugget of merit in that new idea. But alas we don’t.

So then, why are so many people so scared of sharing their thoughts, ideas, and information, when we are talking about their marketing?

Let me alleviate your fears. Here are three things you should not be afraid to brag about when marketing your company:

  1. New equipment:  When buying new equipment, you should fearlessly write, and submit a press release for publication. Also mention the new equipment on your social media. First of all, it’s a great way to get your name out there and secondly, it shows that your company is investing in your future. Buying a new piece of equipment should not be a big secret that people are going to steal.
  2. Customer referrals, testimonials and success stories: If you have your customer’s permission to mention their name then do it! There is no more effective marketing technique than one customer telling other customers how great you are and how much you are helping them. Let’s get over the worry that your competitors will see these referrals and steal your customers. First of all, just knowing a customer’s name is a very, very short step in the long journey of winning that company’s business. And secondly, if that customer loves you enough to be willing to let you publish their success story with their name on it…the last thing you need to worry about is that someone will see their name and go steal that customer! Think about that for just one minute and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. Highlight your people as experts. Your people are your greatest asset. They are what makes your company work. This is especially true of your technical people. Most successful companies have three or four true experts who help their customers with their products. They are invaluable when it comes to teaching your customers and potential customers about your technology. These “experts” should be promoted in all of your literature. They should be held up as industry leaders. In fact, you should work at helping them to become well-known in your industry. Encourage them to write white papers, columns, and  E-books. Have them speak at industry conferences and at webinars and seminars. Promote them as industry influencers. It will be great for them as well as for your company. Yes, there might be a slight risk of  someone trying to steal them away from you. But if you have done a good job of making sure they are happy, contented and fulfilled with your company, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

The most important thing is to present your company in the best light possible when it comes to marketing and your public image. Think about it, if you see a company that is always buying new equipment, has customers who love them enough to be willing to say it publicly and has people who are considered industry experts, you are going to want to work with that company. It’s only common sense.