There are different levels of accomplishment in business that can lead to success. The first level is to “know your stuff,” to develop an expertise. The next level occurs when other people find out about it.

Many professionals spend their time refining their skills and getting better at their crafts. They take continuing education classes, sit in on demonstrations and do extensive research in their fields. But if a measurable amount of time is not spent letting others know, it could just turn out to be a waste of their time and talent.

That’s where marketing comes in. Some professionals don’t feel that marketing is necessary. If they are good at what they do, the reasoning goes, people will just know. But frankly, if we don’t find a way to better promote what we do and get others talking about the benefits we can provide, the people who need what we offer will likely never know about us.

And this isn’t about being a shameless self-promoter. It is about finding ways to get the message of your value out to more people. Most of the time, your expertise, knowledge, skill and ability will stay a well-kept secret. And it’s not worthy of being a secret, is it? You spend a large portion of your life working, but if you are not reaching your potential simply because you do not have adequate exposure in your target market, that’s just not right.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.