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Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Become Ubiquitous

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Harvard Business Review
8:04 AM Thursday July 14, 2011
by Dorie Clark | Comments ( 22)
This post is part of the HBR Insight Center Marketing That Works.

… I steeled myself for the onslaught: replying to the hundreds of emails that had built up while I'd been on a luxurious 12-day vacation to Spain. Like many professionals, I have a complicated relationship with holiday — coveting the idea of relaxation, while dreading the idea of being out of touch. …

Sea side of Marbella
The trip had been incredible — the best of Barcelona, Madrid, and Marbella — but I returned feeling guilty and slightly panicked. … And that's when I spotted Mimi, one of the most connected players in town. She smiled and walked over to my table. "How's it going?" she said. "You're everywhere."

In that moment, I realized you don't have to be present in order to be ubiquitous.

Ubiquity, of course, is a major marketing goal. You want to be top of mind for your customers, so they're calling you (not your competitors) … .  Here are four strategies to consider:
  1. Schedule your social media presence. … Every few months, I'll lock myself away for an afternoon and come up with a few hundred nuggets to post on Twitter. You can schedule them weeks or months in advance via services like Hootsuite or Tweet Deck. … Similarly, you can use Wordpress or other services to schedule upcoming blog posts.
  2. Respond quickly when it matters. … If you have a corporate assistant, ask him or her to monitor your email and call you if anything urgent arises. If you're a solo practitioner, shell out for a virtual assistant through a service like Elance. …
  3. Enlist messengers. Perhaps the best way to seem like you're everywhere is to get other people talking about you. … Specifically ask for referrals (which "forces" people to talk about you), cultivate reporters, attend networking events, and create a robust portfolio of content, from blog posts to white papers. …
  4. Go somewhere cool. Sometimes, inevitably, you'll miss something important because you're away. … You may never make [your suitors] happy — but you can at least intrigue them. "I'm on vacation" is a fairly boring, lazy-sounding excuse. But — "I apologize for the delay in getting back to you; I just got back from Puerto Rico"… is a fascinating conversation starter. So consider this your permission to go somewhere fabulous and make the best of it.
What are your strategies for becoming ubiquitous? And how do you ensure the people who matter are talking about you?
Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the National Park Service. She is the author of the forthcoming What's Next?: The Art of Reinventing Your Personal Brand (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).
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