The purpose of this post is to articulate how I became aware of WordPress and was attracted by WordPress as a solution to a problem.
This article is not written from the standpoint of a web designer, programmer or developer. This article is not written from the standpoint of a blogger, although I see the potential benefits of blogging on several levels. This article is written by someone who runs a business and is trying to solve a specific problem. This may resonate with some of the other students in this class. Or not.
Many of the students in this class have expressed an interest in leveraging their WordPress expertise into a job, career or business opportunity. The nature of the final project in this class involves pitching a WordPress project to a potential client. This indicates that the developers of the Clark College curriculum understand that listening to a potential client, identifying the problem, communicating with that client the value that the student can bring to them is an integral part of the student being successful. The class provides real world experience in a forgiving environment.
The students who can best succeed in marketing their skills and talents to the prospective employers or purchasers of their bundle of talents are the ones that will be able to have their choice of the best opportunities and have the most fulfilling professional lives. This means that they are going to be marketing themselves and their work.
I know that some people who read this article recoil at the thought that they may be perceived as selling something. After all, they did not spend years developing their design and development talents to become shameless peddlers. They may have chosen their area of study precisely because it did not involve sales and marketing. To them, I say: Calm down… Relax. Marketing (and Sales) do not have to be painful or undignified.
I happened to read an excellent definition of marketing while I was mulling over my topic. The legendary professor and management genius, Peter Drucker defined the purpose of marketing in the following terms:
The aim of marketing is to understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
The final projects in this class are intended to do exactly that. First, by intimately understanding the fictional business that the student is assigned, they become able to understand the business problem the customer is trying to solve. They become a consultant to the customer as opposed to a peddler.
Second, they identify “solutions” that the customer knows are necessary. The customer is at the presentation for a reason. Customers are busy people, they do not have time to waste. The fact that they are at the presentation means they are open to the “solution.” The presenter may even perceive “solutions” to problems the customer is oblivious to and expend the scope of their project by educating the customer to the possibilities. They are no longer peddling products and services but “solutions.” Customers will happily pay for solutions to their problems. I repeat. Customers want “solutions” to their business problems and will pay for them.
Third, if the presenter has done steps 1 and 2 correctly, it becomes obvious to the customer what they must do next. The “solution” will sell itself and now you are in business.
What does this all have to do with how I was introduced to WordPress? What does all this have to do with WordPress and the WordPress community? I address that in my next article.