Companies in the B2B space from IBM to HubSpot have been actively and effectively engaging prospects with longer sales cycle content for years. Like many competitive environments, a lot of emphasis for marketers has been about creating “more” content. More blog posts, videos, infographics, social messages, emails, and so on. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category
Business-to-business marketers are plagued by data problems. Business data is complex and fast-changing. Customers interact with us through a variety of channels, and often provide us with conflicting information. Our legacy databases are not as robust as we need. New tools and technologies emerge and must be evaluated. It’s a never-ending battle. To shed some light on B2B data problems, Bernice Grossman and I compiled a working list of problems and solutions. Here are some of the thorniest. (more…)
It’s that time of year. Yes, those 2015 trends/prediction posts are just starting to roll out. And man, I’ve already had my fill.
Between the all-too-tired and predictable (2015 is the year of mobile!) to the ridiculously far-fetched (augmented reality will TRANSFORM PR in 2015!), I’m already fairly sick of 99% of these posts. (more…)
I recently gave a talk on New Frontiers in Data Driven Marketing, which managed to incorporate Barbie, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, General Winfield Scott, and The Three Stooges. Let’s just say you had to be there. But even without celebrities, I think the list is worth a quick look as you start planning for next year’s marketing programs. (more…)
I thought it was widely understood by now that staying in touch with a prospect who has shown some interest in your product or service can triple, even quadruple, lead-to-sales conversion rates. (more…)
Last month, I explained how I help executives descend a common learning curve, to get them to buy into outside-in marketing. Most executives from traditional marketing backgrounds build branding campaigns and drive eyeballs to them through advertising. I explained how this model doesn’t work especially well in digital, where the target audience is more skeptical and proactive than in traditional media. Rather than being pushed passive messages, the digital audience needs to be pulled into active engagements.
This post is all about targeted marketing and why YOUR marketing needs to be targeted, if you are serious about developing your business.
Here’s a great example of targeted marketing for you. I am around 99% certain that you are a business owner. In fact, I believe you either own a business, or are a consultant or a freelancer.
I was spot on or pretty close, wasn’t I?
I was in London a couple weeks ago, and was reminded how I always like the simple phrase that asks you to be careful as you step from the Underground subway car to the platform, “Mind the Gap.” But I think marketers need to mind a different gap, the one between the frills of image marketing and real customer value. And guess who is there to teach us that lesson today? The Gap. Yeah, that Gap, the one that sells jeans and other casual clothing in just about every mall near you.
The big story about The Gap (you might call it “The Gap Flap,” although of course I never would) is how a fierce outcry in social media forced The Gap to take down its new expensive logo in favor of the old one that its customers love. You can take a gander at both below to see what everyone is up in arms about.
Now, what I know about logos fits snugly in a thimble, so this is the last place that you should expect me to wax poetic about the pros and cons of either logo. I sometimes shop at The Gap and I can’t imagine that the logo has anything to do with that, although I suppose it would probably be something I was unaware of. But this isn’t about the logos.
No, you say, it is about the power of the social media, right? Well, perhaps. But it’s more about what you get conversation about in social media. 99% of The Gap’s customers probably couldn’t care less about the logo, but a very vocal 1% do, and that is who you hear from in social media. Once those 1% start talking, then a lot of the 99% hear what they say (the 1% have framed the issue for them) and then some of them say, “Yeah, what’s wrong with that old logo that I love?”
And because it is just a logo, there is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing that you can defend as to why you changed it. You might have focus groups that show how more people are attracted to it and you might have research that show that it evokes a whole new image for the company and that sales go up 20% but how can you tell that to your customers? At best, they will feel like you are manipulating them.
So, I am wondering if the days of making well-researched changes to logos might be nearing an end, at least for businesses that inspire some level of passion about their brand. Or perhaps The Gap needed to involve the 1% in the process of changing the logo, rather than springing it on them after lots of secrecy.
No matter. What is important is that in an age of transparency, it’s harder and harder to tell your customers that you just sank millions into redesigning your logo instead of doing something valuable for them. Instead of making higher quality clothing, or lowering prices, or improving service, or increasing selection, or something else that many customers care about, you redesigned your logo.
By doing so, you annoy that vocal few that actually revere your brand in a religious way, and you can’t defend what you are doing to anyone without looking slick. The big story here is not that social media forced The Gap to revert to its old logo. The story is that social media forces companies to do things that help their customers, and changing the logo is probably not high up on any of their customer’s list.
Social media isn’t all that complicated, folks. If you change your logo, people are going to talk about your logo. But is that where you want the focus? Try changing something you want them to talk about and see what happens. So the next time you are considering a marketing change that is more about image than customer value, you might want to mind the gap.
I am old, so I remember the Walt Kelly comic strip from the ’60s called Pogo, of which the most famous line ever was “I have met the enemy and it is us.” In Internet marketing, it is so often true that we are our own worst enemies. I was reminded of that recently when I taught one of my many classes to veteran marketers looking to understand this Internet thing. Most traditional marketers have some amount of struggle with the Do It Wrong Quickly concept, but on this occasion I ran into one who was apparently so threatened by it that nothing was going to penetrate. And my diagnosis is that the fear she was grappling with was preventing her from moving forward—that she was literally her own worst enemy. And it happens to all of us sometimes.
Affiliate marketing is a tough way to make a living these days. The competition is fierce, the commissions are slimmer than ever, and the marketing costs higher than ever. All this was brought to mind for me when someone sent me a question on affiliate marketing. This question was from someone with a lot of experience in Internet marketing who is tired of working for other people and wants a business of her own, in an area that she knows about, such as fashion or beauty. But she knows this is a tough business, so she wants to know what she should do differently.