What’s your riff that keeps the pool heated?

3 min read

I recently came across a documentary where the members of Metallica were discussing the making of their mega-hit ‘Enter Sandman’. In an interview, drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett talk about that melodic riff that has made the song so iconic. Lars modestly refers to it as ‘the riff that keeps the pool heated’.

In other words: The money maker that keeps on giving or your signature service that keeps on adding value year after year.

That line struck a chord with me, pun intended, and got me thinking: As a marketer, or as a professional, what is my skill that keeps the pool heated? And what is yours?

What is your unique skill set that keeps you in demand? What skill, or which skills, either hard or soft, do you bring to the table as a digital marketer or maybe as a marketing leader?

Personally, I don’t necessarily think that my riff that keeps the pool heated can be pinned down to any of my actual marketing skills, my digital marketing bag of tricks if you will. They are of course important and a part of my offering, but they are not what makes me ‘stand out’ (if I do) amongst other marketers.

What I do bring to the table, if you’ll allow me to elaborate and analyze myself for the sake of argument, is a broad marketing toolbox. Nothing unique there. However, the fact that the toolbox is also padded with a curious, anything-is-possible-mindset, project management, and business development skills, a healthy dose of skepticism and a ‘devil’s advocate approach’ to challenges combined with strategic thinking and what I sometimes refer to as a 360-degree background from my industry.

That combination of skills has, throughout the years, helped me manage both myself as well as manage large projects, keep teams on-path, set expectations and realistic goals – and eventually row the boat ashore.

What I am trying to say is that if you can pinpoint what your unique riff is, what unique combination of skills you are possessing that will keep putting food on the table for the next decades, as Enter Sandman has done for Metallica, you are in a way better position as an employee, consultant or potential employee for future company.

In itself, the riff-line is a pretty cheesy, smug thing to say – so you may want to avoid that line in your next job interview – however, it’s definitely worthwhile thinking about in order to define yourself as a professional and to know your own market value.

It’s not the easiest thing to figure out, trust me. That whole slew of ‘What I do bring to the table’ isn’t something that just ‘happened’, I had to think long and hard about it. However, it was time well spent as it serves as an elevator pitch and makes my profile as a consultant more defined.

So, what’s your riff that keeps the pool heated?

4 things ‘knowing your riff’ will help you do:

  • Help build your self-confidence and help buff up your resume
  • Help you ace job interviews and level up your career
  • Help set your rate and get paid what you’re worth
  • Help you focus by reassuring you of your strengths

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