August 27, 2013


You can accelerate the process of becoming visible and then memorable. Networking alone isn’t enough because you won’t be seen by most of your connections --- the ones who weren’t there. When they’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.

Let's follow a "fake it 'til you make it" model.

Fake Familiarity

Home Depot and GE hot water heatersI read story in a book years ago but can’t find references. Let’s assume it’s true.

Home Depot asked customers which brand of hot water heater they preferred. The winner was General Electric. That’s remarkable because GE didn’t make any.

How did GE win? People are familiar with the company, which makes many consumer products including ranges, microwaves and fridges.  Assuming GE made hot water heaters isn’t much of a stretch. Maybe the people surveyed didn’t know which brand they had and didn’t recognize the other choices. Maybe they gave the answer they thought the surveyors wanted.

Home Depot saw an opportunity to turn fake familiarity into real business. They approached GE and got exclusive rights to make hot water heaters under the GE name.

Show Up

To become more visible, start showing up at events. You needn’t announce your intentions. Simply start showing up and network. Consistently. You’ll start to get noticed.

You’ll become more comfortable and familiar. Soon, people will remember you as having been around longer than you were. They will even think you were at places you didn’t go because they’ll start anticipating where they expect to see you. You become like GE.


You gain little by saying you’re attending an event for the first time if people would expect to find you there (e.g., a trade conference). Why weren’t you there before? Maybe you didn’t know or didn’t see the benefits. Is either worth admitting?

Refer to yourself as having shown up.

For instance, if you say "I liked speaker X at this year’s Y Conference", your audience may infer that you attended in the past even if you're a first-timer. If you’re asked about last year, you can say that you couldn’t make it. That implies you normally attend.

Isn't this sneaky? You aren't saying you did something you didn't. You're letting people infer. Marketing is about the stories people tell themselves. Leave gaps and your audience will fill them in.

Spread The Word

As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

As you start showing up, you gather valuable information and insights. You then have a universal lasting gift that’s easy to share via a regular newsletter (e.g., Mad Mimi gives low effort results). Thanks to tracking codes, you’ll instantly see what’s working and with whom.

By sharing, you remind your fellow attendees about the event (not everyone takes notes). More important, you inform your larger group of connections who were not there. That’s leverage. As you become their eyes and ears, you become more valuable and visible even if they are out-of-sight.


PS Buying a Home Depot “GE” water heater may not be a good idea …

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