They say, “It doesn’t matter what you call me, just don’t call me late for dinner.” Jokes aside, it DOES matter what people call you. I made a comment in my intro video for Twitter Class about how I stopped calling myself a virtual assistant like I did when I first started out offering marketing support because people minimized my value and what thought should pay.
That being said, there are a slew of people calling themselves the wrong thing. It’s just like wearing a bra that doesn’t fit. You’re leaving stuff out and you need a title that encompasses the full bosom of your experience.
Recently, I’d been using “marketing director” on my online profiles and bios because I didn’t only do content, design, social media, PR, ads or planning. I thought that title fit better than marketing consultant although people grasped it if they were looking to have someone to talk to about the best ways to get the word out about their business. When I was in the market for a job, I tried to stay in the lane for marketing manager, marketing director, communications director roles because of the leadership capacity of them and the qualifications of having to employ a number tools and tactics to optimize a brand message and outreach strategy. However as the founder of an agency, Chief Marketing Officer was appropriate since the expectations around skills aligned most closely with my experience level and success I’ve had. With each change, of course, the responsibility, expectation and pay rate goes up.
When your title actually matches your know-how, you start to see a shift in people’s perception of you as well. You don’t only want people to pay you more. You want to attract the opportunities best FOR you. Like a branding coach who really is best at motivational speaking might feel hard-pressed if they are called upon to execute design and messaging UNLESS they have a team that can do the work for them.
A good example is my friend Teej MediaCoach Mercer. At one time, she pushed herself only as a reality TV coach, but now has positioned herself as the Media Maverick since she can advise on how to land any kind of media placement, from reality TV to a daytime news show. Her title and branding put her in place for more consulting opportunities around media and the inner workings of television.
Then there is Anetra Henry-Hunting who people kept hitting up to find them money for free because she called herself a sponsorship consultant. Can you imagine, folks would be like “Oh, you can find me sponsors? I need money so go get it and then I’ll pay you after you get me money.” As her self-proclaimed advisor and biz bff, I feel that she should be leaning toward a title of Event Marketing Director (corporate side, focused on activations and optimizing the value of sponsorship) or Director of Strategic Partnerships (paid by both sides of the brokered deal).
Do yourself a favor and outline what you REALLY do and have experience in and start using Google, Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn (especially because they will pull jobs based on your current title), to see where you really fall. Once you are clear, use the chosen title in your marketing collateral and especially online considering the SEO-value and searches for a specific title.
Over time, things will shift, titles will change, marketing messages about yourself will adjust. But be very clear on what you do and how you serve so you can position yourself for the success that you REALLY want.
By the way, in calling myself a CMO for hire with along with my team, I will attract more corporate and profitable clients who are already successful but who don’t have the time or know-how to implement an integrated marketing strategy. This is far beyond my original title of virtual assistant.
But, what are YOU going to call yourself?