Experience is Dead: How to Stand Out When Everyone’s an Expert


The experience is dead. And the experts killed him.

Have you ever seen an ad from someone on Facebook (or while doing a Google search) claiming that the presenter was an “expert” or “guru” on some business-related topic? For example, imagine an ad that says something like this: “I have helped companies generate more than $ 1MM in new leads” or “I am the marketing guru who can help you double your ROI.” Usually there is also someone in a suit, smiling at the camera.

Sounds familiar?

This is because all of the world’s independent contractors, agencies, and consultants compete on a global stage to win business. And if you want to win business, it has to be perceived as an expert – or at least that’s how it used to be.

The Expert Apocalypse

Online platforms like Google try to incentivize high-quality content by disproportionately promoting and rewarding content that serves as an authoritative interpretation of a given topic. For example, a 50-page dissertation from a history teacher should rank higher than a high school student’s 50-word blog post, despite its similar topic. This is because pillar content development it is so important for SEO and other marketing strategies. Additionally, consumers tend to prefer working with experienced and knowledgeable professionals on all matters – this is common sense.

But these “push” factors have led to an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts out there, for a handful of simple reasons:

  • It is very rewarding to be an expert. First, it is very rewarding to be seen as an expert. If you can establish yourself as an informed and respected professional in a given industry, you’ll enjoy more leads, a higher retention rate, and even more satisfied customers (as long as your performance isn’t terrible).
  • Anyone can call himself an expert. What is an “expert” anyway? Is it someone who earns a certain degree or has a certain number of years in the field? Or is it someone who reaches a threshold of adequate knowledge in a certain area? At some level, it doesn’t matter, because anyone can call themselves an expert in the digital age. A person can claim to be a serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D., despite being a 19-year-old who is still in college and trying to start an independent business.
  • Visibility reinforces the experience. Thanks to the mere exposure effect and a handful of other cognitive biases, it’s only natural that repeated exposure to a person (or brand) makes us think better of them. If we see a collection of different ads from an individual marketing guru over the course of a few months, we’ll start to think of him as a more prominent and respected expert than he really is, even if the effect is subconscious. .
  • Experts force experts to emerge. If you only have one year of experience, you can’t exactly find success by trading honestly. How does this ad sound? “I don’t have a lot of experience, but I will do my best, and it will probably be cheaper than my competitors!” The mere existence of competitors billing themselves as experts means you have to bill yourself as an expert if you want to keep up.
  • The nature of the Internet encourages echo chambers and misinformation. The Internet contains virtually unlimited access to information and the potential to connect with everyone in the developed world. While this can be a tremendous strength, it also leads people to develop their own echo chambers and makes it easier to find misinformation. Whatever your opinion, you’re just a quick search away from finding a so-called “expert” who agrees with you and an entire community of people (along with smart bots) who will regurgitate his own opinions.

Decline in confidence and other downwind factors

The prominence and overabundance of experts has had a number of consequences for marketers:

  • Consumer confidence is declining. Not all are failures of the marketers, but overall, consumer confidence is declining. After years of dubious mainstream media coverage, lies from politicians across the political spectrum, and the overwhelming prevalence of misleading marketing and advertising, average consumers take everything they hear with a grain of salt. If you consider yourself an expert with years of experience and tell them that you can help them improve their business, your job is done for you; you will have to do everything you can to prove it.
  • Terms like “expert” and “guru” are losing their meaning. If you want to use terms like “expert” or “guru” in your marketing as a way of describing yourself, you will need to review that strategy. These terms are so popular and so misused that they have begun to lose their meaning. Once distinctive markers of authority, these words have become cheap and easy to trade.
  • Competitive differentiation is increasingly difficult. Most of your competitors probably invest heavily in content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other strategies aimed at establishing them as popularly perceived experts. They are also striving as experts in their specific industry, making it difficult for you to make the same claim. As a result, competitive differentiation is increasingly difficult.

Thrive in a world where experience is dead

But do not lose the hope. It’s more than possible to thrive in a world where experience is “dead,” as long as you take this fact into account and incorporate it into your strategy. These tips and strategies can help you do just that:

  • Understand and review your competition. If you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, you must understand your competition. That means taking the time on a regular basis to read your competitors’ top pieces of content, review your lead generation strategies, and possibly even evaluate your customers. The more you understand about them, the more you can develop your own strategies; You can find more ways to creatively distinguish your company from theirs and get ideas on how to promote yourself in an innovative way.
  • Focus on a narrow niche. Some brands try to promote themselves as broadly as possible, trying to reach the largest possible target audience to win more sales. But this is not the best idea when the market is flooded with competitors. Instead it’s better focus on a narrow target niche. Instead of describing yourself as a general “marketer”, you can become an expert in a very specific strategy, or become an expert in serving a specific industry or type of business. This way, you won’t have to deal with all the big agencies trying to make more general claims, and your claims of being an expert will be much more credible. On top of that, if your niche is specific enough, you may have a legitimate claim as one of the only experts in your category, even considering the almost universal reach of the internet.
  • Show it, don’t say it. In the world of fiction writing, common advice is “show, don’t tell.” In other words, you want to demonstrate something to your audience rather than explicitly explaining it to them. Instead of saying “Bob was nervous,” you could say, “Bob wiped the sweat off his forehead and began to fidget.” Similarly, instead of calling yourself an expert, you can simply show your audience how expert you are. The best way to do this is to consistently develop good content over time, then publish and distribute it. Try to get your work featured in recognized industry publishers as well.
  • Prove your claims. In keeping with this, be sure to test your claims. You are an expert, but why? How much experience have you had? What miracles have you been able to perform?

The experience is “dead” in the sense that almost everyone is a self-describing expert. But you still have to prove your expertise if you want to continue competing in this landscape. Find a way to differentiate yourself, and still show your authority, if you want to prosper.

Nate nead

Nate nead

Nate Nead is the CEO and Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting firm that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines, including finance, marketing, and software development. For more than a decade, Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, equity acquisition, technology, and marketing solutions for some of the best-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 clients and SMBs alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.


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