Today, I’m thinking about the Conscious Competence Hierarchy and how it can affect your marketing success.
Now, before you start nodding off, let me tell you that this isn’t going to be a boring lecture. I’m going to use some literary devices to make it more interesting, whilst giving you some useful insights into how you can improve your marketing game.
First things first, let’s start with the basics. The Conscious Competence Hierarchy is a model that explains the four stages of learning a new skill. These are:
Unconscious incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know.
Conscious incompetence – You know what you don’t know.
Conscious competence – You know what you know, but you have to think about it.
Unconscious competence – You know what you know so well that it’s second nature.
Now, let’s apply this to marketing. If you’re a business owner or marketing professional, it’s likely that you’re somewhere on this hierarchy. The key to success is to keep climbing higher.
The Four Stages Of Competence
Stage 1: Unconscious incompetence. This is where you’re blissfully unaware of what you don’t know. You might think that you’re doing a great job with your marketing, but in reality, you’re making some big mistakes. Probably clangers!
For example, you might be creating content that’s not really relevant to your target audience. Or, you might be using social media in a way that’s not getting any traction. The point is, if you don’t know what you don’t know, you’re never going to be able to improve.
So, what’s the solution? Well, the first step is to become aware of what you don’t know – ie your knowledge gaps. You need to do some research. Get feedback from your customers and use analytics and conversion metrics to see what’s working and what’s not.
Stage 2: Conscious incompetence. This is where you know what you don’t know. You’re aware of your weaknesses and knowledge gaps and you’re ready to start learning how to improve your marketing skills.
At this stage, you might start taking some marketing courses, reading books and blogs and attending industry events. You’re actively seeking out new information and skills that will help you improve your marketing.
I remember this stage. It was probably the hardest to deal with. I made some of the worst mistakes of my career at this point and I felt like I was going from one calamity to the next. But I started to get help and learn more about the way I should be doing things.
Stage 3: Conscious competence. This is where you know what you know, but you still have to think about it. You’re implementing your new marketing skills and knowledge, but it’s not yet second nature.
For example, you might be creating more targeted content marketing or using social media more strategically. But, you still have to put a lot of thought and effort into it.
Stage 4: Unconscious competence. This is where you know what you know so well that it’s started to become second nature to you. Your marketing efforts are smooth, effective and fairly effortless.
At this stage, you’ll be creating content that resonates with your target audience without even thinking about it. Your social media strategies will be on point and you’ll be converting leads into customers like the best in the business.
So, what’s the key to climbing the Conscious Competence Hierarchy and achieving marketing success? Well, it’s all about being willing to learn, being open to feedback and constantly seeking out new information and skills.
As a marketer, you need to be adaptable and flexible, willing to change and improve as the industry evolves. And, most importantly, you need to be aware of your own knowledge gaps and weaknesses and actively work to improve them.
Just remember that marketing is a constantly changing discipline that combines both quantitative and qualitative understandings. We’re all always learning and even I find myself tackling things from time to time that I’ve never come across and more to the point, that I’ve never cocked up before!