What Does It Take To Become An Expert?

What Does It Take To Become An Expert?

October 19th, 2015

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Home building marketing experts are everywhere… or are they? I am amazed today by the number of people who claim to be experts in marketing new homes, yet have no frontline experience! It is almost today’s version of: “If you tell a lie enough times, everyone—including you begins to believe it.”

According to Anders Ericsson, it takes at least 10 years of deliberate practice in a given field to advance to expert status. Malcolm Gladwell, in his famous book ‘Blink’ took Ericsson’s suggestion and turned it into roughly 10,000 hours of content. Oddly, the two are at odds with the exact answer.  The point is that truly being classified as expert  is measured in two criteria: experience and knowledge.

May I make an observation? Just because someone posts regularly on Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, LinkedIn, Pinterest and heaven knows how many other social sites;  this doesn’t make them an expert. They may know more than you, but that’s like suggesting my wife – who has been a practicing nurse for 33 years – is a brain surgeon because she knows more about medicine than I do. Is she better informed than me regarding all things medical? Of course! Is she an incredible nurse? Definitely! Can she perform brain surgery… or any other surgery for that matter? Nope.

So why is it so many businesses hire employees in their mid-twenties, bestow upon them the title of Expert, and then hand them the reins to their marketing department?  Are these newly initiated employees experienced in the realm of Twitter and the like? Sure, after all, they are the first of the Internet Generation to enter the job force. Does he or she have a degree in marketing or a related field?  More than likely, yes, they do. Are they prepared to provide sound advice regarding the best spend of your marketing budget? Don’t be so fast!

Before you hire a “marketing expert”, or follow their social media advice for that matter, be sure they have more than knowledge in their arsenal—they must have experience as well. Resumes populate my in-box every day. Each one of them touts the vast amount of experience they have, but when scrutinized it’s apparent there’s no meat to these claims. It’s not the fault of the applicant that they don’t have the seasoning required to perform the work—the experience will come—but can you afford to trust the entire marketing of your business to a neophyte that still needs to learn their craft out there, in the trenches?

Friends, please, don’t be dazzled by those that appoint themselves experts but aren’t able to back up the claims. Choose carefully.

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