Buyers to Marketers: Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

“Why do you want my email and phone number again? So your sales consultant can contact me? No thanks, I’ll pass.”

Boonville Missing Bucky Walter PhoneMost B2B marketers are still fixated on capturing registration data, and no wonder. The marketing automation machine lives on a diet of email and your sales process is built on the telephone.

The problem is, your buyer’s process is not built on your email or your phone. According to research, buyers only engage with companies directly during the last 40% of their research process.

When you insist on registration, you are in effect telling prospects:

  • We don’t want to be involved in the first half of your research.
  • We are only willing to engage with you on our terms and timetable.

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Mobile Marketing in B2B: #B2Bchat at 8 PM EST on 9/22

We will be picking up the Mobile Marketing conversation this evening with a look at experiences in 2011, priorities for 2012 and how mobile is changing sales enablement.

Here are the questions to start off this evening’s discussion: Read more of this post

Recommending Content and Automated Sharing of Content

You find a great blog, read regularly, and tweet or share everything posted. So why not automate sharing what you already share, and get a few minutes back each day?

On the surface, it seems logical. However, if you are using automation, it likely is having side effects.

  1. Automation has made your algorithm, primarily your selection of sources, more important than the content itself.
  2. You share more than you used to. I follow people that, with the addition of automation tools, now share more content than I have time to read, even if they were my only content source.
  3. It has disconnected you from your best content sources. Your time savings are from spending less time reading, considering or commenting on content from the best sources, those you are willing to automate. The simple act of sharing is a minimal time savings.
  4. Your sharing does not include a comment or note that adds context for your audience. The comment or note improves the recommendation, helping your audience see what content is right for them.

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Is Social Media Just Winning Price Sensitive Customers?

Box o' couponsIn social media, marketers buy attention with promotions or discounts. And research shows consumers expect this from marketers. 44% connect with brands on Twitter for discounts (source). The problem is, buying attention is an old school mindset, plopped into a new communication paradigm.

For social media to become an important part of the marketing mix and create loyal customers, it cannot continue to rely on tactics that reinforce consumer price sensitivity. Consistent discounts and promotions erode your pricing power; preference increases your pricing power. Read more of this post

Beyond Lists: Use Filters to Manage Twitter

Manage Twitter with Filtering in TweetDeckWe each build our own communication channel on Twitter, choosing who to follow and list. However, based on a number of recent conversations I have had on Twitter and Google+, many Twitter users are overlooking a significant tool to customize their channel and reduce noise: filters.

If your Twitter stream clogs up every evening with color commentary on a TV show, filters can remove it, without unfollowing people you otherwise appreciate. If auto-post applications are filling your stream with drivel, filters can cut through it.

Filters change the list/follow/unfollow decision, giving you more control over the tweets you see from each person. The difference in the stream of a single person may be minor, but across even 50 people, filters can be the difference between a stream of noise and a source of content and conversation. Read more of this post

Can We Save Twitter From Ourselves?

Canyon ItaimbézinhoTwitter is not a communication channel, it is a platform that allows each of us to create and evolve our own custom communication channel.

If Twitter is not working for communication, it is not a problem with Twitter. As a platform, Twitter is developing and our behavior reflects its infancy, with the full spectrum of human behavior on display.

The societal norms for Twitter have yet to be established. The fact there are so many posts on Twitter etiquette is proof. A Google blog search for “Twitter Etiquette” returns 32,000 results, to just 11,000 for “Dinner Etiquette”.

If Twitter is no longer an effective channel, like Kary Delaria postulated in Three Reasons Twitter is Beginning to Suck, the problem stems from how people are building and evolving their own communication channels on Twitter. Read more of this post

Social Media, Opt-In Marketing, and When Valuable Isn’t Enough

Please!What would happen to your marketing programs if every channel required explicit opt-in and opting out or unsubscribing was just a click away?

Although it may seem absurd, this question is relevant today for two reasons:

  1. Congress continues to consider privacy legislation every year, and although not well understood, it is broadly supported by constituents. In need of popular support, this Congress may finally take on extensive privacy reform.
  2. More importantly, social media is much closer to an opt-in channel than email. On Twitter or G+, the difference between spam and consensual contact is much clearer than it ever has been in email. On Facebook, it is the only option.

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Not Just Automation, Marketing Needs REAL Conversation

Create a personalized dialogue with each prospect at every point in the sales process!

This sounds like a pitch for marketing automation. While the result is valuable, it is not a dialogue. Here are some of the characteristics of this “dialogue” marketing has created with automation:

  • Most of the audience response is a click and inferred consumption. In mass it is a valuable indicator but it isn’t a valuable individual response (Scott Brinker discussed this at Insights from the explosion of marketing touchpoints)
  • It is based on well educated guesses about what information someone needs next, not answering a specific question or need.
  • It is designed to replace the conversation that once happened directly between sales and a potential new prospect.

Real conversations need to come back into marketing communications. Read more of this post

A New Way to Understand Your Social Media Audience

Audience research is invaluable and well developed personas provide a broad array of insights into the lives and minds of your target audience, insights that form the basis for your social media plans.

Then, you put your social media plan in place, including sharing great content from others and creating your own. And you hit a fundamental disconnect. Your planning is based on your target audience, but you are measuring activity from everyone. Here are two questions that are difficult to answer.

  • Is the content you share via social media resonating with your target audience or a random audience?
  • What content is most popular with your target audience?

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Email Marketing 2.0 is Facebook and More

The Changes to Email Marketing will Not End with Facebook.

Jay Baer proposed in a blog post on Monday that Facebook for  Business is Email Marketing 2.0, and that email can then be used to value marketing efforts on Facebook. It is an excellent approach, and I think most comments missed the point. Facebook marketing and email marketing are both about developing an audience that allows you to engage over time.

Facebook is (part of) Email Marketing 2.0.

The most important part of the heading isn’t Facebook, it is Email 2.0. Both Facebook and email are used by companies to distribute information. But email marketing is a one-way blast channel.

Email Marketing 2.0 should look vastly different from today’s email marketing. With all due respect to the email providers integrating social sharing into email, that does not make email marketing a platform for sharing and discussing. It continues to be a one-way channel, at times simply promoting discussion or sharing elsewhere.

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