Why Visionaries Keep Their Mouths Shut

(To the person who has been waiting for this post: yes, I finally got it out.)

I’ve followed Brian Brackeen for years, starting when I worked for IDEMIA. He posted the following observation on Saturday August 13:

Is anyone who puts visionary in their LinkedIn title actually a visionary?

From https://twitter.com/BrianBrackeen/status/1558463913771016193

Most if not all of us on Twitter agreed with Brackeen, with some noting that an exception should be granted for opthamologists and optometrists. My contribution to the discussion was to note that Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, didn’t call himself a visionary.

I also observed:

Actual visionaries probably DO think of themselves as such. Whether they explicitly say so publicly is another matter.

From https://twitter.com/JEBredCal/status/1558645370397175809

But there was something that I didn’t tweet regarding calling yourself a visionary. Namely, what visionaries say instead of saying “I’m a visionary.”

They’re more intent on communicating the vision, rather than their place as a visionary.

What Steve Jobs said about the successful iMac

Let’s go back to the 1990s, when Steve Jobs returned to the company then known as Apple Computer.

By Rob Janoff – This vector image was created by converting the Encapsulated PostScript file available at Brands of the World (view • download).Remember not all content there is in general free, see Commons:Fair use for more.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10326626

While some would probably disagree, many would argue that Steve Jobs was truly a visionary. Throughout his life, he shared several visions for technology, many of which changed the world.

One of those visions was Jobs’ vision of the iMac. People anticipated that Jobs’ return to the company he co-founded would result in some new insanely great thing. But when Jobs talked about the iMac, he didn’t say, “I’m Steve Jobs, and this is my next revolution.” Instead, he took a customer focus and talked about what his next revolution would do.

(The iMac) comes from the marriage of the excitement of the Internet with the simplicity of Macintosh. Even though this is a full-blooded Macintosh, we are targeting this for the #1 use consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the Internet, simply and fast.

From https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/08/15/apples-revolutionary-imac-is-20-years-old-and-still-going-strong

Nothing about “I am Steve Jobs.”

Nothing about “This is Apple Computer.”

No, his message was that consumers want to “get on the Internet, simply and fast.”

Of course, because it was Jobs, there also had to be a design component in the iMac, and this is the time that we learned that Jony could be spelled with only one “n” and no “h.”

By Stephen Hackett – 512 Pixels; license appears at footer, All iMac G3 images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98724350

In some ways, the iMac message was more compelling because the consumer market was catching up with Jobs’ vision.

  • When the original Macintosh was introduced, the market wasn’t necessarily convinced that an easy-to-use computer was a necessity. (The market would take a few years to catch up.)
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R706isyDrqI
  • Back when the first Apple I was introduced, the market didn’t necessarily believe that many people needed a home computer.
By Apple Computer Company, Palo Alto, CA. – Scanned from page 11 of the October 1976 Interface Age magazine by Michael Holley Swtpc6800, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14202549
  • But by the late 1990s, there was a strong desire for people to surf the World Wide Web on the Internet, and therefore people were more receptive to Jobs’ message.

What happened? The iMac was introduced, and while some predicted that the lack of a floppy drive would doom the product, it seemed that Internet access made the floppy drive less significant.

Oh, and one more thing:

Of course, (Ken) Segall also noted that the use of the “i” could later be adapted to future Apple products. Which, of course, it was.

From https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/08/15/apples-revolutionary-imac-is-20-years-old-and-still-going-strong

And Apple Computer changed its name, because it was no longer just an insanely great computer company.

What John Sculley said about the unsuccessful Knowledge Navigator…or was it actually a success?

Now at the time, critics could argue that Apple Computer lacked customer focus. After all, why release a computer that didn’t have a floppy drive? That’s as customer-unfriendly as releasing a non-DOS computer in 1984.

But there’s a difference between short-term customer focus and long-term customer focus.

There are many points in Apple’s long history in which it could have opted for the safe and sane approach. And perhaps that could have yielded a nice quarterly profit without pouring all that money into silly stuff, including the 1987 Knowledge Navigator concept video.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umJsITGzXd0

Apple never built the Knowledge Navigator. I don’t think that even John Sculley expected Apple to build the Knowledge Navigator. And even if he had tried to get it built, the public loudly told him that the idea was stupid and he didn’t know what he was talking about.

But Sculley’s concept (for which he credited Alan Kay) had more customer focus than the customers of 1987 realized. Over the years, actual products were released that could trace their lineage back to Knowledge Navigator, ranging from Clippy to Google Assistant to Teams/Zoom/et al…

…to the iMac.

Sometimes it takes some time, and several visionaries, to realize the vision.

What Bredemarket says about communicating your vision

Perhaps you’re a visionary in the Inland Empire that is readying your own iMac or Knowledge Navigator or better pizza topping.

And you want to communicate your vision to potential customers via some type of written content.

But before you write a single word of that content, you need to ask yourself some questions (even for a short piece of content):

  • Why does your offering change your customers’ lives?
  • How will it change their lives?
  • What is the offering?
  • What is the goal of the piece of content?
  • What are the benefits (not the features, the benefits) of your offering?
  • Who is the target audience for this content?

When Bredemarket works with you to create written content, these are just some of the questions that I ask you to ensure that the final written product will achieve results.

If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.

Five of my identity information sources that I have created over the years (and no, most of you can’t see the fifth one)

Back in January 2021, I wrote a post on the Bredemarket blog entitled “Four of my identity information sources that I have created over the years, including one that you can access in the next ten seconds.”

This post is an update to my January 2021 post about the four identity information services. Yes, I just created a fifth one. (But most of you can’t see it.)

The first three services

The first three were created for the benefit of employees at (then) Motorola, (then) MorphoTrak, and IDEMIA. Briefly, those three were:

  • A Motorola “COMPASS” intranet page entitled “Biometric Industry Information.”
  • A MorphoTrak SharePoint intranet page entitled “Identity Industry Information.” (Note the change in wording.)
  • An IDEMIA (and previously MorphoTrust and L-1) daily email newsletter.

The fourth service

Of course, since I wrote the January 2021 post in the Bredemarket blog, the main purpose of the post was to tout the fourth identity information source, the (then) newly-created “Bredemarket Identity Firm Services” LinkedIn showcase page.

January 2021 screen shot of a post in the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page.

I subsequently created a companion Bredemarket Identity Firm Services Facebook group, which like the LinkedIn showcase page (and unlike my previous efforts for Motorola, MorphoTrak, and IDEMIA) were publicly accessible.

Why did I do this?

I marvel at the thought that I kept on doing this over and over again for four different companies, including Bredemarket. Why did I have this pressing need to reinvent the wheel as I traveled from company to company?

Habitually I’ve been a reader, and have found myself reading a lot of information about the biometric industry or the wider identity industry. Of course it’s not enough just to read something, you have to do something with it. COMPASS, SharePoint, email, LinkedIn, and Facebook allowed me to do two things with all of the articles that I read:

  • Save them somewhere so that I could find them in the future.
  • Share them with other people who may be interested in them.

I didn’t collect information on my impact to others in versions 1.0 and 2.0, but by the time I started managing the IDEMIA email list, I not only received comments from people who appreciated the articles, but I was also able to grow the subscriptions to the email list. (People had to opt in to receive the emails; we didn’t cram them into the inboxes of every IDEMIA employee.)

Similarly, I’ve received comments from people on LinkedIn who follow the showcase page, stating that they appreciated what I was sharing there.

And while COMPASS and the MorphoTrak SharePoint are long gone, and IDEMIA’s Daily News may or may not still be in publication, I can assure you that the Bredemarket Identity Firms services LinkedIn page and Facebook group still continue to operate for your reading pleasure.

And that’s the end of the story.

No it’s not.

The fifth service

As some of you know, Bredemarket has become a side gig because of my new day job, which is with a company in the identity industry. During my first days on the new job, I set up subscriptions to my new company email account so that I could receive information from Crunchbase and Owler, as well as relevant Google Alerts on the identity industry.

And as I began receiving these subscriptions, as well as performing my usual scans of other news sources…

…well, you can guess what happened.

“I need to store these stories and share them with my coworkers,” I thought to myself.

Finally, I created a new identity information service using the well-worn title “Identity Industry Information.” (Hey, it’s easy for me to remember.)

Now I can’t actually SHARE this service with you, because it’s just for the employees at my new company.

And THIS iteration takes advantage of a technology that’s slightly newer than COMPASS.

It’s a Slack channel.

P.S. to employees at my current company – if you’d like to access this Slack channel, DM me on Slack and I’ll send you an invite.

Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services: Iterating LinkedIn/Facebook Page/Group Names

Author’s Note: this is one of two seemingly unrelated Bredemarket blog posts that form a cohesive whole. Actually PART of a cohesive whole.

Introduction

It would be nice if my initial plans for my consultancy Bredemarket were perfect and addressed my consulting needs for years to come. But my plans are NOT perfect, in part because I can’t anticipate what will happen in the future.

And so I iterate. Which is why I’m renaming the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group and the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page.

In this post I examine why I created Facebook groups and showcase pages in the first place, why I originally named the Facebook group “Bredemarket General Business Services,” why I subsequently named the LinkedIn showcase page “Bredemarket Local Firm Services,” and why I’m changing things.

Why create Facebook groups and LinkedIn showcase pages?

When I established Bredemarket in 2020, I knew that I wanted to target multiple customers. This sentence on the Bredemarket home page has remained unchanged since 2020:

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits.

From https://bredemarket.com/

These four customer groups have some different needs. A nonprofit’s concerns differ from those of a fingerprint identification software vendor. Because of this, I wanted to find a way to talk directly to these customers.

Back in November 2020, I started by creating a LinkedIn showcase page entitled Bredemarket Identity Firm Services. I started with this one because I had a need to communicate with just my identity customers. As of April 21, 2022, 186 people are following this showcase page to receive identity-only content.

Why I created the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group

I didn’t stop with that one LinkedIn showcase page. By July 2021, I had created a second LinkedIn showcase page devoted to technology, but was also creating Facebook groups.

So Bredemarket…has Facebook groups that are somewhat similar to the Bredemarket LinkedIn showcase pages. One difference is that I have three groups on Facebook. In addition to the identity and technology groups, I also have a general business group. At this point it didn’t make sense to create a LinkedIn showcase page for general business, but it did make sense for Bredemarket to have such a group on Facebook.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/07/16/how-and-why-a-company-should-use-linkedin-showcase-pages/

You can see how these Facebook groups (and LinkedIn showcase pages) are derived from my original 2020 statement of Bredemarket’s target markets. To a point; as I noted, I didn’t create a general business showcase page on LinkedIn, and even today I don’t have a nonprofit LinkedIn showcase page or a nonprofit Facebook group.

But I would begin to pivot Bredemarket’s business that summer.

Why I created the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page

By September 2021, I was questioning my market segmentation.

As I write this, Bredemarket has no clients in my hometown of Ontario, California, or in any of the nearby cities. In fact, my closest clients are located in Orange County, where I worked for 25 years.

It’s no secret that I’ve been working to rectify that gap and drum up more local business.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/09/03/shattering-my-assumptions-by-using-linkedin-for-local-marketing/

After attending Jay Clouse’s September 2021 New Client Challenge, I determined to pursue this local market more aggressively and determined how I was NOT going to pursue Inland Empire West customers.

So when I market to local businesses, I’ll want to do that via relevant Facebook Groups. Obviously I won’t market the local services via LinkedIn or Twitter, because those services are not tailored to local service marketing.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/09/03/shattering-my-assumptions-by-using-linkedin-for-local-marketing/

Let me draw out the implied assumption in that statement above, that even the Facebook marketing would be via groups created by other people. It wasn’t like I was going to create my OWN local Facebook group or anything like that. I was going to post in the Facebook groups created by others.

Anyway, proving that my initial plans are NOT perfect, I fairly quickly changed my mind regarding LinkedIn, deciding to create a LinkedIn showcase page devoted to local services, even though I didn’t have (or need) a parallel Facebook group.

And in fact I’d cheat by adapting the artwork for the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group and repurpose it for use in the Bredemarket Local Business Services LinkedIn showcase page.

This appeared to be a brilliant idea, and the new local LinkedIn showcase page was successful. Not as successful as the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn page, but it certainly provided me with an avenue to speak just to the local community.

Aren’t I brilliant?

Why I’m changing the names of the Facebook group and LinkedIn showcase page

Well, maybe not so brilliant.

Time went on, and I would share identity stuff to the “Identity Firm Services” showcase page and group, and I would share technology stuff to the “Technology Firm Services” showcase page and group. When I wanted to share local stuff, I’d obviously share it on the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page, and sometimes I’d also share it on the Bredemarket General Business services Facebook group.

But this raised two questions.

What is the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group?

The third market category that I created in 2020 isn’t making sense in 2022. If you go to the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group today, it’s kind of vague. In fact, you could say it’s, um, general.

If you scroll through the group posts, you’ll see a lot of posts from me that have to do with businesses in California’s Inland Empire.

Because I do not moderate the posts in the group, other people like to post, and their posts can be, um, general. For example, there is one person who occasionally posts things like this.

Now I have no reason to reject the post, because the poster isn’t violating any group rule. However, this person could use the services of a marketing and writing professional. The company is doing SOME things right. such as advertising the services provided, including illustrative pictures, and incorporating a call to action. The call to action, of course, is to call…

…061 531 5144?

For those who aren’t familliar with geography, Kempton Park is outside of Pretoria, in South Africa. Which means that if I had wanted the company to provide a quote when my own roof was damaged by winds, I would have to call the country code 27 first, THEN call the local area code 61 and the local number 531 5144.

Somehow I doubt that Ontario, California is in this company’s service area.

Now I could have posted a comment along the lines of “You idiot! Do you really think that people in this group are going to contract with a roofer on another continent?” But I didn’t do that. Instead, I simply commented with this question:

Where is the service located?

From https://www.facebook.com/groups/bredemarketbusiness/posts/1034813817123791/

Over a week later, the original poster hasn’t responded to my question. I guess the poster is too busy writing “Thought the group would like this” posts on every “general business service” Facebook group. (Terrible waste of the poster’s time, when you think about it.)

And that’s what can happen when you create a group for “general business services.” It’s too general.

What is the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page?

Thankfully I avoided this same problem when I created the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page.

Or did I?

If you don’t know me or my background and encounter a showcase page devoted to “local firm services,” what are you going to think?

That’s right. The page name doesn’t mention the locality that is the focus of the page.

Next thing I know, my roofing friend is going to discover my Linkedin showcase page and start posting weekly, with an equal lack of success.

How do I make these better?

So it’s obvious that both the LinkedIn showcase page and Facebook group would benefit from a refocus and a rename.

But what name?

If you had asked me this question in September 2021, I would have chosen the name “Bredemarket Inland Empire West Firm Services.” My local marketing target at that point was businesses in Ontario, California and the surrounding cities. “Inland Empire” was too broad a term for those cities, but “Inland Empire West” is a real estate term that fits nicely in my target market area.

This also tied in with a marketing promotion that I was running at the time, in which I would offer a discount for customers in this immediate area. However, I recently rescinded that promotion (as part of the numerous changes I’m currently making to Bredemarket’s business). Since I wasn’t making money (from an opportunity cost perspective) with my regular package pricing, I certainly wouldn’t make money with DISCOUNTED package pricing.

At the same time, I was getting less strict about keeping my target within the Inland Empire West, and was therefore open to extending throughout the Inland Empire. Although most of my online collateral is currently targeted to the Inland Empire West, I won’t turn down business from Moreno Valley or Redlands.

So perhaps I could use the name “Bredemarket Inland Empire Firm Services,” without the “West.”

But I didn’t like that either.

While “Firm” implies that I work with businesses and not individuals (I don’t write resumes), I figured it would be clearer if I used “B2B” instead of firm. “Business-to-Business” would be better, but that would make the page/group title awfully long. Of course some people don’t know what “B2B” means, but that could be an effective filter; if you don’t know what “B2B” means, you’re not going to use Bredemarket’s services anyway.

Having settled on the title “Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services,” it was now a matter of making the title change. (Without changing the legacy URLs and potentially breaking existing links.)

So now I can formally re-announce…

…the Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services LinkedIn showcase page.

And…

…the Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services Facebook group.

Bredmarket Inland Empire B2B Services Facebook group
From https://www.facebook.com/groups/bredemarketbusiness

Again, the URLs don’t match the page/group titles because of legacy issues, but I think it’s better than what was before. And hopefully this will focus the content and make it more relevant.

Unless you’re a Pretoria homeowner with a leaky roof.

How to follow the Bredemarket Local Firm Services page on LinkedIn

Inland Empire West businesses (businesses in the Ontario, California area) have a need for business news. There are a variety of services that provide this news, but I wanted to let you know about MY service.

In September 2021, I started a page on LinkedIn called “Bredemarket Local Firm Services.” While the primary purpose is (admittedly) to promote the marketing and writing services that my company Bredemarket can provide to local businesses, the company page also provides information from others that may be of interest to you.

So, how do you follow the Bredemarket Local Firm Services page?

  1. Log into your LinkedIn account.
  2. Go to the page: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-local-firm-services/.
  3. Click the “Follow” button.
How to follow the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-local-firm-services/.

Simple enough, isn’t it?

Of course, if you would rather not follow my service, you can check out other information services such as the IE Business Daily (https://iebusinessdaily.com/), InlandEmpire.US (https://inlandempire.us/), the Inland Empire Business Journal (https://iebizjournal.com/), the OCIE SBDC (https://ociesmallbusiness.org/blog-news/), and Startempire Wire (https://startempirewire.com/).

Meta-repurposing

I like to publish “in case you missed it” (ICYMI) posts over the weekend, just in case my Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter followers might have missed something that I originally published in the preceding week.

Last weekend I tried something a little different. Now that Bredemarket has been a going concern for over a year, I chose to publish some items that my followers might have missed when I originally published them in the preceding YEAR.

Although there are some parts of 2020 that aren’t fun to revisit.

But this past weekend, I went back to October 2020 for my latest #ICYMI offerings. I want to talk about two of these offerings in particular.

The first #ICYMI item

The first item that I shared last weekend was a Bredemarket blog post from October 17, 2020 entitled “You go back, Jack, do it again” that talked about repurposing content. Here’s a brief excerpt that links to a Neil Patel post.

Why repurpose content?

To reach audiences that you didn’t reach with your original content, and thus amplify your message. (There’s data behind this.)

If you’re a data lover, check the link.

The second ICYMI item

Waylon Jennings promotional picture for RCA, circa 1974. By Waylon_Jennings_RCA.jpg: RCA Records derivative work: GDuwenTell me! – This file was derived from:  Waylon Jennings RCA.jpg:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17091525

The second item that I shared last weekend was a Bredemarket Spotify podcast episode from the same period entitled “A special episode for Spotify subscribers, with Waylon Jennings’ ‘Do It Again.'” You can probably guess that it was about repurposing content.

To answer a few questions about the podcast:

  • Yes, it was a repurposing of the blog post.
  • Yes, this particular podcast episode was only on Spotify because it included a song sample.
  • Yes, I chose Waylon’s version of the song rather than Steely Dan’s because I like Waylon’s version better.
  • Yes, you have to be on Spotify Premium to hear the whole song, rather than a 30-second snippet. (I’m not on Spotify Premium, so even I haven’t heard the entire podcast as envisioned.)

I don’t really have anything profound to say about repurposing that hasn’t been said already, so treat this as a reminder that you can easily repurpose content on new platforms to reach new readers/listeners.

As I just did.

Again.

Postscripts

For the record, I haven’t created any other Spotify-only podcast episodes with music since that initial one a year ago. So all of the other podcast episodes that I’ve recorded are available on ALL of my platforms, including Anchor.

By the way, there was a third #ICYMI item that I re-shared last weekend on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But it didn’t deserve its own re-blog.

(You gotta know when to hold ’em. Yes, that’s Kenny, not Waylon.)

How and why a company should use LinkedIn showcase pages

This post explains what LinkedIn showcase pages are, how Bredemarket uses LinkedIn showcase pages, and (a little more importantly) how YOUR company can use LinkedIn showcase pages.

What are LinkedIn showcase pages?

LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to share information. Two of those ways are as follows:

  • A personal LinkedIn page. This allows an individual to share their job history and other information. Here’s an example.
  • A company LinkedIn page, which contains information about a company, including “about” details, jobs, employees, and other facts. Here’s another example.

A third method is a LinkedIn showcase page. This is tied to a company page, but rather than telling EVERYTHING about the company, a showcase page allows the company to zero in on a PARTICULAR aspect of the company’s product/service offering.

How Bredemarket uses LinkedIn showcase pages

Most companies, even very small ones like Bredemarket, can segment their products and services in various ways. In Bredemarket’s case, the company offers some prepackaged services, such as a “short writing service” and a “medium writing service.”

However, it didn’t make sense for me to segment my services in this way. The people who are interested in 400 word written content are not dramatically different from the people who are interested in 2800 word written content. So instead of segmenting by service, I chose to segment by market.

I started by addressing one of my potential markets, the identity market (biometrics, secure documents, and other identity modalities). Back in November, I created a Bredemarket Identity Firm Services showcase page on LinkedIn, which eventually became a place for me to share information about the identity industry, both content generated by me and content generated by others.

Bredemarket Identity Firm Services on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-identity-firm-services/

Since then I’ve expanded my offerings. On LinkedIn, I presently have TWO showcase pages, one concentrated on the identity market, and one concentrated on the more general technology market.

Bredemarket Technology Firm Services on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-technology-firm-services/

These concentrations made the most sense to me, although I could segment even further if I chose to do so (separate showcase pages for fingers and palms, anyone?).

An aside for Facebook users

Incidentally, you can perform similar segmentation in Facebook. In Facebook terms, you can have a page associated with a particular company, and then (rather than showcase pages) you can have groups that link to the company page and delve into topics in more detail.

So Bredemarket (which is committed to disseminating information via multiple communication streams; see my goal number 3 here) has Facebook groups that are somewhat similar to the Bredemarket LinkedIn showcase pages. One difference is that I have three groups on Facebook. In addition to the identity and technology groups, I also have a general business group. At this point it didn’t make sense to create a LinkedIn showcase page for general business, but it did make sense for Bredemarket to have such a group on Facebook.

Enough about me. What about you?

Obviously Bredemarket is an unusual case, although for some of you it may make sense to segment based on markets.

Most companies, however, will choose to segment based upon products or product lines. This especially makes sense for multinational companies that offer a slew of products. However, even smaller companies with multiple product lines may benefit from showcase page segmentation. If a potential customer is only interested in your square blue widgets, but doesn’t care about your other widgets, a showcase page allows the customer to read about blue widgets without having to wade through everything else.

Some of you may have received a pitch from me suggesting how a showcase page can help you highlight one product or product line in this way.

Perhaps it’s best to show an example. I’ve previously highlighted Adobe as an example of a company with showcase pages, but for now I’d like to highlight another company with a similar issue.

Let’s look at Microsoft, which has an obvious interest in using LinkedIn to its fullest potential. Microsoft’s product and service lines have expanded over the years, and while some Microsoft entities (such as LinkedIn itself) have their own regular LinkedIn pages, Microsoft uses showcase pages for other entities, products, and services.

For example, Microsoft has a showcase page for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

But here’s a showcase page that has nothing to do with a product, service, or market: “Microsoft On the Issues.”

So there are a variety of ways that a company can slice and dice its communications, and LinkedIn showcase pages provide an ideal way to do that.

Does this interest you?

Of course, setting up a LinkedIn showcase page is only the beginning of the battle. If you set up a showcase page and don’t publish anything to it, your efforts are wasted. Potential customers look at your company’s online presence, after all.

If your company has established a showcase page, has set goals for how the showcase page will benefit the company, and now needs to generate content at a regular clip, Bredemarket can assist with the creation of the content, working with internal company subject matter experts as needed. If this service interests you, contact me. We will collaborate to ensure that your LinkedIn showcase page includes the best possible content.

Communities, selling, and service offerings

The infamous content calendar says that today is proposal day, but I’m going to ignore the infamous content calendar and talk about a bunch of things other than proposals. (Well, I’ll mention proposals once, I guess.)

First, I’ll talk about the new glasses that I received yesterday.

In addition to a new frame style, this new set has the transition sunglass tint but WITHOUT the computer tint. (The Costco optical person said that I didn’t need a separate computer tint these days. I don’t know if he was right, but I trusted him.) My last set of glasses had both the transition sunglass tint AND the computer tint, which meant that they had a purple color at times. Now my tint in the sun will be brown rather than purple.

But enough about that.

Let’s get to the meat of this post, in which I’ll talk about the communities that I’ve joined since starting Bredemarket, what led me to purchase something from one of those communities, and one of two actionable items (and an action) that I took from that purchase.

Communities

Before I became a free agent, I was an employee of a multinational firm with thousands of employees throughout North America and thousands of additional employees throughout the rest of the world. One of the company’s VPs established an online community to support her nationwide organization of people, including myself in California, my direct supervisor in Massachusetts, and a bunch of people in those states, Minnesota, Tennessee, and everywhere else under the sun. I was able to participate in that online community even after I moved out of that VP’s group due to a corporate reorganization. (Thanks Teresa.)

With free agency and sole proprietorship came the loss of that community. (No, the VP obviously wouldn’t let me engage with that community when I was no longer an employee.) But over the next several months I joined three other communities. As it turns out, I interacted with all three of these communities over the course of the last two days.

  • On Thursday at 10:00 am, I joined the weekly “town hall” for the employees and associates of SMA, Inc. I am officially an associate of SMA, albeit with a very specialized skill set (more on that later). To support its people, SMA convenes a weekly “town hall” that addresses company issues and also addresses the interests of SMA’s leadership. Every week, for example, there is an “art talk” that delves into a particular artist or artistic topic.
  • On Thursday at 6:00 pm, I joined the monthly meeting of the Orange County, California chapter (“SPARK OC”: Facebook, Instagram) of the Freelancers Union. This monthly gathering happened to be a “happy hour,” although I disregarded the injunction to bring my favorite cocktail.

  • Finally, today at 8:00 am, I joined a paid workshop hosted by Jay Clouse of the Jay Clouse empire of entities. The topic? “Invisible Selling.” Due to early hour, I didn’t have a beer, but had a Nespresso instead. The rest of this post deals with that workshop and the results from that workshop.

The invisible selling of “Invisible Selling”

I’m not going to recount that Clouse covered in his one-hour workshop. After all, I paid for the course, and (most of) you didn’t. But perhaps it would be helpful if I described how I was invisibly sold on “Invisible Selling.”

I first encountered Jay Clouse via LinkedIn Learning. (Another thing that I lost when I was no longer an employee was access to my employer’s online courses from Udemy and others, but LinkedIn Learning has filled the gap.) I had long since forgotten which Clouse course I took and when I took it, but I checked my LinkedIn profile and found that I had taken his “Freelancing Foundations” course back in September 2020.

After taking the course, I ended up joining his “Freelancing School” community, participating in various online meetups, and engaging with Clouse’s offerings in other ways.

All for free.

Then I received a couple of emails from him about his (then) upcoming “Invisible Selling” course.

I deduced from the description that it would meet my needs, and figured that $40 was a reasonable price. Plus, I trusted Clouse based upon my interactions with him and his community over the last several months.

So I signed up.

The results of my attending “Invisible Selling”

As I said before, I’m not going to recount Clouse’s presentation. But in my particular instance, I derived two actionable tasks within the first 30 minutes of the workshop.

  1. The first task, which could potentially be worth between five dollars and tens of thousands of dollars to me, was to make sure that I am anticipating potential client objections up front, and addressing them. I’m going to devote some time to that in the future. And as you can see below, I started to address one objection even before I heard of Clouse’s workshop.
  2. The second task is one that I cannot discuss publicly at this time. However, it could potentially be worth more than tens of thousands of dollars to me. Maybe I’ll talk about it someday.

Service Offerings

One potential client objection that I’m already addressing is that my offerings do not fit my potential clients’ needs. I’m addressing this by broadening my offerings.

Many of you will recall that when I started, I came up with a bunch of packaged “services” that I could sell to potential clients as is, or with some adaptation to meet the clients’ needs. Over the first few months of Bredemarket’s existence, I sold various clients my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, and my Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup. I still sell these services today.

But much of my business today doesn’t derive from these prepackaged services. Well, technically it does, if you read the description of my Bredemarket 4000 Long Writing Service:

The long writing service does not have a “standard” offering per se, because of the variability of what may be needed. Work is billed at an hourly rate.

Some of Bredemarket’s more lucrative work comes from ongoing hourly relationships that I have established with several clients. They use me as needed, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less so, but I’ve kept them happy.

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

Why do these customers work with me? Well, while I have a number of customers employing various technologies, the vast majority of my customers are focused on biometrics. And I am the biometric content marketing expert and the biometric proposal writing expert, because I said I am. (The other John Bredehoft, the one who owns Total Plumbing Services, taught me the importance of self-promotion.)

But what if a client wants to pick my biometric brain and not pay hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to do so?

Well, for the past month I’ve been addressing that price point also via Bredemarket Premium. Certain posts on this Bredemarket blog delve deeply into my quarter century-plus of biometrics knowledge. These posts are only available to subscribers, at the cost of $5 per month. Here’s an excerpt from the public view of one of these posts:

So to my mind I’ve covered the “Bredemarket doesn’t address my price point” objection. (Prove me wrong. Please.)

As I said before, I need to do a better job of anticipating and addressing other potential objections to using Bredemarket to help you communicate your firm’s benefits. And I’ll work on that.

But if your objection is that you don’t like my glasses, I can’t help you. You can’t please everyone.

And a reminder that if I’ve brilliantly addressed all of your potential objections, or even if I haven’t, and if you’re ready to talk about how I can help you:

Four of my identity information sources that I have created over the years, including one that you can access in the next ten seconds

How many of us keep on doing the same thing, but just use different tools to do it?

For example, I am going to provide four examples of ways…I mean, for example, I am going to list four ways in which I have disseminated identity information to various internal and external audiences over the last fifteen years. Three of these methods had restricted access and some are no longer available, but the last one, Bredemarket Identity Firm Services, is publicly available to you TODAY.

You can get to this information source in ten seconds if you like. If you’re a TL;DR kind of person, click here.

For the rest of you, read on to see how I used COMPASS (most of you haven’t heard of COMPASS), SharePoint (you’ve heard of that), email (you’ve definitely heard of that), and LinkedIn (ditto) to share information.

Take One: Using Motorola Tools

For the first identity information source, let’s go back about fifteen years, when I was a product manager at Motorola (before The Bifurcation). Motorola had its own intranet, called COMPASS, which all of us Motorolans would use to store information except when we didn’t.

Using this intranet, I created a page entitled “Biometric Industry Information,” in which I pasted links and short descriptions of publicly-available news items. I’m not sure how useful this information source was to others, but I referred to it frequently.

Eventually Motorola sold our business unit to Safran, and “Biometric Industry Information” was lost in the transition. For all I know it may be available on some Motorola Solutions intranet page somewhere, though I doubt it.

Take Two: An Industry-Standard Tool and an Expanded Focus

The second identity information source was created a few years later, when I was an employee of MorphoTrak. Two things had changed since the Motorola days:

  • MorphoTrak’s parent company Safran didn’t use the Motorola intranet solution. Instead, it used an industry-standard intranet solution, SharePoint. This was tweaked at each of the individual Safran companies and regions, but it was pretty much a standard solution.
  • The second change was in the breadth of my interests, as I realized that biometrics was only part of an identity solution. Yes, an identity solution could use biometrics, but it could also used the driver’s licenses that MorphoTrak was slated to produce (but didn’t), and other security methods besides.

So when I recreated my Motorola information source, the new one at MorphoTrak was a Microsoft SharePoint list entitled “Identity Industry Information.”

Again, I’m not sure whether others benefited from this, but I certainly did.

Take Three: Taking Over an Email List

The third iteration of my information source wasn’t created by me, but was created about a decade ago at a company known as L-1 Identity Solutions. For those who know the company, L-1 was a conglomeration of multiple small acquisitions that provided multiple biometric solutions, secure document solutions, and other products and services. Someone back then decided that a daily newsletter covering all of L-1’s markets would be beneficial to the company. This newsletter began, and continued after Safran acquired L-1 Identity Solutions and renamed it MorphoTrust.

MorphoTrust and my company MorphoTrak remained separate entities (for security reasons) until Oberthur acquired some of Safran’s businesses and formed IDEMIA. In North America, this resulted in the de facto acquisition of MorphoTrak by MorphoTrust, and some significant shifting in organizational charts and responsibilities.

As a result of these changes, I ended up taking over the daily newsletter, tweaking its coverage to better meet the needs of today, and (in pursuit of a personal annual goal) expanding its readership. (This email was NOT automatically sent to everyone in the company; you had to opt in.)

Now some may believe that email is dead and that everyone should be on Volley or Clubhouse, but email does serve a valid purpose. As a push technology, emails are provided to you every day.

OK, every five seconds.

But modern email systems (including those from Microsoft and Google) provide helpful tools to help you manage your email. This allowed people to prioritize their reading of my daily newsletter, or perhaps de-prioritize it.

Two years later IDEMIA underwent another organizational change, and I was no longer responsible for the daily newsletter. Last I heard, the daily newsletter still continues.

Take Four: Market Me, Benefit You

Eventually I left IDEMIA and started Bredemarket, and the identity industry became one of the industries that I targeted for providing Bredemarket’s services. To build myself as an identity industry authority, and to provide benefits to identity industry firms, I needed to market specifically to that segment. While my online marketing outlets were primarily focused on my website, I was also marketing via LinkedIn and Facebook. My LinkedIn marketing was primarily though the Bredemarket LinkedIn company page.

In late November, I decided to create a LinkedIn Showcase page entitled Bredemarket Identity Firm Services. While the page was initially created for other reasons, I eventually settled into a routine of sharing identity industry information via the page.

Like I’ve done one thousand times before.

I’m trying to add new content to Bredemarket Identity Firm Services on a daily basis. It’s primarily content from other sources, but sometimes my own content (such as this post) will find its way in there also. And, as in the example above, I’ll occasionally include editorial comments on others’ posts.

So if you’re on LinkedIn and would find such content useful to you, go to the showcase page and click the “Follow” button.

P.S. I have a technology showcase page also.

Why I created a LinkedIn Showcase Page for Bredemarket

It was Sunday, and I was thinking about something that I wanted to communicate to a potential client in the coming week. The potential client performs work in multiple areas, and had inquired about my assisting in one of those areas.

As I thought about solutions for that one section of the potential client’s website, I began wondering how that material could be repurposed in other channels, including LinkedIn. One solution, I realized, was for the client to set up a special “showcase page” on LinkedIn that was dedicated to this one area. Content from the website could then be repurposed for the showcase page.

If you are unfamiliar with LinkedIn Showcase Pages, they “are extensions of your LinkedIn Page, designed to spotlight individual brands, business units and initiatives.”

A notable example of the use of showcase pages is Adobe. Adobe has a company page, but since Adobe provides a plethora of products and services, it would be a firehose to cover EVERYTHING on the main Adobe page. So Adobe established showcase pages, such as its page for Adobe Experience Cloud, that allowed the company to go into greater detail for that particular topic.

But this doesn’t explain why I just created a showcase page for a Bredemarket customer segment. Actually, there are two reasons.

  • While Bredemarket provides its services to identity firms, technology firms, general business, and nonprofits, it’s no secret that Bredemarket’s most extensive experience is in the identity industry. Because of my experience in biometrics and secure documents, I know the messages that identity firms need to communicate to their customers and to the public at large. Because of this, I thought I’d create a showcase page dedicated solely to the services that Bredemarket can provide to identity firms.
  • There’s another reason why I created the showcase page – the “eating your own dog food” reason. If I’m going to talk about the use of LinkedIn Showcase Pages, wouldn’t it make sense for me to create my own?

So on Sunday I created the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services page on LinkedIn; you can find it at the https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-identity-firm-services/ URL.

And if your interest is specifically in identity, be sure to click the Follow button.

3 ways Bredemarket can help your business, the mid-October 2020 edition

There are a number of ways that writers can grab readers’ attention, and one of those is via the list post. They’ve been around for over a decade, and they’re still popular. Why? Because they grab the reader’s attention.

So I thought I’d use the list post format to talk about Bredemarket’s current focuses in contracts, as well as in pitches and proposals to potential clients. Perhaps your business can use one of these three services, or perhaps you can use two or three of them. (I just wrote a proposal this week that included all three of the services listed below, as well as some other things.)

In preparation for this post, I reviewed Ali Hale’s 2008 ProBlogger post “10 Steps to the Perfect List Post.” (You see what Hale did there.)

One: Have Bredemarket write your 400 to 600 word text

I’ve previously talked about why you may want to have someone else write your blog post, your Facebook post, your LinkedIn post, or any other short text. (Advance warning: this “list post” is going to have some little lists in it…)

Regardless of the reason, Bredemarket can assist you in creating that content that you need. Via a collaborative process, Bredemarket will work with your business to craft the text that you need, and provide you with the final text at the end of the contract. The entire process can be completed in 15 calendar days or less, often much less (one of my clients and I completed one blog post in less than 3 days). Bredemarket’s goal is not to get the job done quickly, but to get the job done correctly.

For more details on the process, see the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

Two: Have Bredemarket write your 2800 to 3200 word text

Longer text is used for deliverables such as white papers; longer thought pieces; detailed company, product or service descriptions; lengthy customer testimonials; or other items.

The reasons for having Bredemarket write your longer text are similar to the reasons for having Bredemarket write your shorter text, but the process is a little more detailed.

Because these deliverables are more complex, more work is needed at the beginning of the process, and more time is needed for the reviews. Therefore, the process for a longer text piece can take as long as 49 calendar days, although again it can often be completed much more quickly. Again, the goal is to deliver the correct text to the client.

For more details on the process, see the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

Three: Have Bredemarket examine your website and social media accounts

Perhaps you don’t need text for your website or social media accounts. Perhaps you need a checkup on these properties.

Ever since I started Bredemarket, I’ve been examining the web pages and social media accounts for a number of companies, including my own. And a number of times, I’ve run across some errors.

  • Perhaps the text on the site uses the wrong word to describe something.
  • Or perhaps a link doesn’t work.
  • Or perhaps one part of the site says one thing, while another part says a totally different thing.
  • Or perhaps the contents of the site are old. (A site that brags about Windows 7 compatibility, or a site with a 2019 copyright date, is not the site of a thought leader.)

Or perhaps the collection of sites doesn’t have any obvious errors, but exhibits missed opportunities. One company posted some excellent content on one of its social media channels, but failed to cross-post the content to its other social media channels, or to the website itself. Therefore, most potential customers were unaware of the great content from the company.

Bredemarket’s methodology for a website/social media checkup is simple, but thorough. The two major steps are

  • for Bredemarket and the client to agree on the scope of the checkup (for example, should the checkup include the personal LinkedIn page of the company CEO?), and then
  • for Bredemarket to examine six factors as part of the checkup.

While you’re waiting for me to write my list post about six critical items in a website/social media checkup, you can cheat and read the list yourself in my description of the Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup.

Incidentally, I can’t quote the length of this service, because the length depends upon the number of pages to check, the percentage of those pages that require a more detailed (rather than cursory) check, and whether there are PDFs or other documents on those pages that also require examination.

Can your business use any of these services?

Now Bredemarket provides other services (you can say that I have a whole…um, list of them), but right now (mid-October) these three services seem to be the most popular. Like I said, I recently proposed all three of them to a single client.

If you could use one of these three services, you can fill out the “Request Information” form at the bottom of each service description (Bredemarket 400, Bredemarket 2800, or Bredemarket 404), or you can contact me in one of the following ways: