I believe the concept of core competence is relevant. For a couple of reasons.
First. No matter where a career might take you, it’s important to have a few skills that will serve you whatever the market conditions or personal situation — something you can always do to support yourself. Second, in marketing, we have more than our share of charlatans and posers just in it for the regular paycheck — not for the passion of a product or service. A core competence set can really separate the wheat from the chaff.
But this post is not about core competence, really. It’s about a concern I’ve had for years now: that one core competence — writing — is perceived only as a tactical device. It goes something like this. The real thinkers really can’t write, but they don’t have to do the writing, anyway. It’s something to be delegated to someone who still knows how to diagram a sentence and proofread. "Give it to the wordsmith."
I just had a thought. Maybe by confining writing to the wordsmith
category, the puffed-up exec types are really telling us that their
work is so perfect, they just need a human spell-checker.
Well, we may
be blowing another big bubble out here in Silicon Valley, but more and more VCs and analysts are going to
shine a blue light into the vapor beginning to mist over our landscape. Best to put a marketing pro on
your executive team who, while giving you the right words, challenges
your every assertion. You know them: one of a kind, revolutionary, the next YouTube.
Better get someone who can find the differentiation in your hot new
product. Someone who can respond point by point during The Scrutiny. Moreover,
accept that your core competence set needs the added firepower of a marketing leader who can think on his feet and put real dramatic emphasis around the
advantages of your product — just as well, if not better, than you can.
And remember: most of us have forgotten how to diagram a sentence.