Man can’t live on inbound marketing alone…
Sep10

Man can’t live on inbound marketing alone…

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the balance between inbound and outbound marketing.  I’m not a big fan of the term “inbound marketing” as it is largely a rehash of things that most online marketers discovered over the last 8-10 years.  Accountable and analytic marketers understand that: Most of the mass media and “push” techniques just aren’t as effective as they used to be a decade or two ago. People don’t like to be harassed by telemarketers. Shoppers are increasingly using the Web (including blogs and social media) to learn about your product or service. Prospects who engage with your business online are typically further along the purchasing process and are more likely to buy. These are all things that most of us have discovered empirically. In my opinion, the real challenge is figuring out if you can get enough from your online channels to fill the funnel and support your sales goals.  In many markets, a large percentage of people still use “old media” to learn about things.  For example, while over 10 million people still watch the nightly network news shows in the US, the more popular online TV shows have at best thousands of viewers.  I know, I know we can talk about audience targeting and specificity but differential is meaningful. While all trends are toward online media, most of us will exhaust our productive online opportunities and will need some “old media”push in our marketing mix.  To use an expression popular in the state of Maine, “you can’t get there from here.” We have businesses to run and sometimes we still need the sheer mass of eyeballs you can only get from “old media”. I know that change is upon us as print media and radio suffer through their painful corrections but they still have big, relevant audiences that we need to keep that in mind.  These channels are also not going away anytime soon.  My suggestion is to watch the numbers and be ruthless as you make media decisions understanding that most businesses need more than just online marketing (even if the customer acquisition costs are much higher offline).  At the end of the day, results matter more than channels. How much are you moving to online media?  Can you reach your goals this year with online...

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Fresh ideas…

The tech marketing holy trinity (ie webinars, whitepapers and tradeshows) still rule for most of the B2B marketers I meet.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about ways to test the waters with new/social media.  While their customers may not be gathering and connecting in great numbers in these channel (yet), opportunities still exist to share content and start the conversation. Here are three fresh things you can try: Update Linkedin – Make sure your company profile is up-to-date and check out a few groups where you think your prospect are chatting.  If you feel ambitious, start a couple of discussions.  While the groups are a little spammy, there is a also a ton of action. Do a Google blog search – Check out what people are saying about you or your competitors in the blogosphere.  Even better, setup a Google blog alert for your top 5 organic search terms.  This gives you the opportunity to comment on relevant posts. Peek at your Web referrer logs – I am always surprised to find new sources in my organic web traffic.  It often gives me fresh ideas for online content and campaigns. Any other super simple things you have tried?  How have they...

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When I grow up I want to be microfamous

Please accept my apologies for disappearing over the last few weeks.  Life has a way of getting busy with things like helping clients, producing a radio show, and performing my mission critical soccer dad duties.  Somewhere in between I’ve been able to squeeze in a few hours building my microcelebrity (more like expanding my nanocelebrity).   Over the last two weeks I broke the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter (OK, Limeduck I mentioned it in public so you can unfollow me now).  Here are some of my observations from the 12 months of tweeting: The number followers doesn’t mean as much as quality of interactions and conversations.  This is an obvious point that gets lost in Ashton and Britney’s battle for supremacy.  I thank Ivan at Tipjoy for changing my mind on this. Twitter has helped me connect with really interesting people I never would have met in my World 1.0 circles (folks like @jeffcutler, @matthew_t_grant, @robertcollins). A milliscoble of social media infamy is no substitute for my longstanding professional relationships when it comes to new business development. Twitter is a bit like Vegas.  Some thing are larger than life on Twitter.  Also many things that happen on Twitter stay on Twitter. People can become in social media “experts” very quickly.  You can find a ton of great info on Mashable and Techcrunch not to mention the blogosphere about social media channels.  FOTS (Friends of the ‘Slice) have heard my regular rants that social media are just media that need to be tested like any other channel making “expertise” less important. I’ve met Chris Brogan three times (but I’m not sure he remembers my name).  I want to dislike the whole “social media rockstar” schtick but he is a genuinely nice guy who blogs with a clarity that I admire.  I also really like his dad’s poker blog. The credentials that give someone status in the business world (ie Harvard MBA, worked for Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, etc) are not always a big deal on Twitter.  I guess you could argue that Twitter is more egalitarian than the real world. Twitter can be a powerful promotional tool.  The Skeptical CMO team signed up 100 people for our first radio show back in May almost completely through Twitter. Did I miss anything?  There are too many great people and conversations to highlight in one small post. Shameless self promotion: I’ll be on PermissionTV today discussion all thing marketing, social media and tangy.  I hope you can join the conversation. Stay tangy my...

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Event tomorrow

If you have time tomorrow afternoon, I hope that you can join our second Skeptical CMO and friends online panel.  We will be debating how much social media a company really needs. You can sign up at cmo.eventbrite.com. I hope you can join us.

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A post evangelic social media world

As a followup to my recent rant about faith-based arguments, I grappling for a better label for a social media proponent.  Aside from the obvious consultant label (self deprecating barb), I came up with  the idea of replacing “social media evangelist” with “social media pragmatist”. Imagine what Twitter would be like if people spent more time admitting that some social media were not adding much business value.  Conversations could be less opinion based and more factual.  We wouldn’t have to hear the same old tired stories about the  hype spot of the day or that crummy low margin etailer who everyone loves because its CEO tweets alot.  We could get down to discussing business transformation and measurable outcomes.  Boring things like sales, leads and net promoter scores could become the only meaningful metrics. One can only...

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Is social media doomed?

As I blog about new media, I am often struck by the irony of my social media “lifestyle”.  Many of my new “friends” have drunk the web 2.0 Kool-aid and spend most of their time on social media talking about social media.  From my conversations with them, you would think that these new media like Twitter and Facebook will change every aspect of our lives (heck, even Oprah is on Twitter now).  While I remain bullish about the potential of these channels, I have a bunch of concerns about long term adoption by pragmatists and laggards particularly in the B2B world.  Here is my logic: Advertising based business models are weak: Regular readers of the ‘slice know about the poor response rates of Facebook ads.  Without a strong ROI from this advertising, companies will eventually steer clear of this medium or prices will be driven down to a level reflecting its effectiveness. Where are the doctors, lawyers and other “regular” business people? I can see them wanting a presence in the social media world but until these media can improve service delivery, increase sales or cut costs, it will be a nice to have experiment for some guy in marketing. Customer conversations are great: Engaging them online is valuable but it is challenging to measure the impact.  We’ll see in the long run if customer satisfaction or retention rates improve from these online interactions. Someone’s gonna pay: In many cases, however, we just don’t know who that will be.  I love what people like TipJoy are doing in the micropayments space but we still don’t have strong revenue models for many of these sites. Call me old fashioned: One of the things that helped Web 1.0 explode was when business people realized they could sell more stuff by having an ecommerce site.  I’m still waiting to hear more of these B2B stories from the social media world. So what does this mean? We need to keep innovating and testing.  There is a great deal of option value in being a part of the conversations.  They are happening out there whether you like it or not.  Also,  I know this isn’t a very web 2.0 idea but repurposing and syndicating your content through these channels can have a positive impact on your search engine marketing and help you reach prospective customers. Just be don’t be an idiot, be relevant, and add value to the...

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