The problems with Facebook

I’ve grown tired of Facebook.

Personally, the site is still a staple in my daily routine – it’s always served a special need of connecting with so many people who ordinarily would have gone missing from my world. But friends sometimes ask me, “Why haven’t you been on Facebook?” I shoot a puzzled look and respond, “I’m always on, where are you?”.  Herein lies the trouble:  If they don’t engage with (Like, Comment, Share) my content, my presence within their News Feed slowly (and surely) fades away over time.  I disappear from their world.  Ugh.

And for some time, professionally, I’ve been struggling with the algorithm that attempts to filter out content with which we don’t engage – unlike Twitter and Instagram – effectively squashing reach and making it tough to use this platform to drive awareness.  Regardless of how we’ve acquired Likes, we’re now asked to pay to reach them.  Huh?  Something has to change with this equation.

If you’re a marketer (or just someone interested in Facebook), YOU NEED TO WATCH these two videos, both produced by Derek Muller at Veritasium.  Great work by him and his team.

“The Problem with Facebook” (Part 1)

“Facebook Fraud” (Part 2)

Thoughts?

Email marketing is not dead

For the past few years, we marketers (myself included) have a form of ADHD or “shiny object” syndrome – chasing the latest/greatest method for driving awareness and leads. For years, social media seemed like a silver bullet, and now content marketing steals that show.

With all this exciting stuff happening, it’s easy to forget our old friend email marketing.  And, at least for me, it’s easy to forget that people aren’t stuck behind desks consuming all their email through Outlook – mobile email consumption is huge.

Here’s the proof:

Email open rates by access method

“A good reminder, this is” ~ me doing a bad Yoda impression

My challenges are (1) to continually ensure that email remains relevant and valuable for those I’m attempting to reach/influence, and (2) integrating into the larger marketing picture, instead of developing and executing in a silo.

Dear blog, I’ve missed you!

i have missed you so

Time flies.

No, I’m serious – the stuff just melts away.  Now that I have 3 kids (count them: T-H-R-E-E) with another boy on the way, due March ’14, along with more responsibility at work, the days, weeks, and months pass so quickly before my eyes.

The last time I posted here was back in 2009 – a long time ago, in blog years.  The post was a long (but, dare I say, great!) post about social media and inbound marketing.  However, I think because it was so long (and so much energy was exerted), it might have been the proverbial “nail in the coffin” to squelch my short-lived blogging habit.

Since 2009, I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to get back at it … but never doing it.  Well, now is that time.

It’s not a wacky New Year’s resolution – simply a realization that I need to “get out there” and vocalize my professional perspectives on digital marketing.  I think doing so has many benefits, namely to solidify my beliefs (to sort through the jungle of varied perspectives that exist) and contribute to the collective conversation on the future of marketing.  I’m passionate about it.

I’ll try to loosen up … to focus on the message, not perfection … that will (hopefully!) allow me to post more frequently!  Note to self:  quality vs. quantity.  :-)

Photo credit: isabella_so

Why I hate the term “social media”

Sorry … I need to get this off my chest …

I hate the term “social media”.  There, I said it.

Ok, ok … let me be clear, I love the use of permission-based online techniques that are used to engage with people and raise awareness about (and draw people to) a business.  So perhaps it’s not the term I hate as much as the perception and preconceived notions that people – marketing geeks and business folk alike – hold about it.

Here are my troubles with the term “social media”:

  1. Nebulous – People have widely diverse thoughts and definitions about this emerging field – the proverbial alphabet soup.  Facebook?  Blog?  Twitter?  MySpace?
  2. Overly focused on tools – Mention “social media” and people will tell you about a tool they either love or hate, unfortunately without any mention of strategies, objectives, metrics, or people.
  3. Disconnected from business – Even if people think they understand the tools, objectives, people they’re attempting to influence and so on, “social media” still seems so separate, in its own silo, from existing/traditional marketing plans.  How to integrate the new with the old?
  4. Cannot stand alone – Social media is just another channel in a larger mix, not an island.

What’s the better way to view social media?

In the context of “inbound marketing” …

Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

From 30,000 feet, marketing can be viewed in two buckets – inbound and outbound:

marketing from 30k feet

  • Outbound marketing – Interruption-based offline techniques like TV, radio, newspaper, yellow pages, direct mail, cold-calling, spam email “blasts”, etc., that are quickly losing their effectiveness to influence (think: megaphone)
  • Inbound marketing – Permission-based online techniques like blogs, e-books, webinars, videos, tweets of information, etc. that are used to draw people to you (think: magnet)

The advancement of technologies like TiVo, satellite radio, RSS, privacy rights, caller ID, and spam filters are a driving factor in the decreasing effectiveness of outbound techniques.  People are so well conditioned to these techniques that they simply don’t have the same impact (and, hence, ROI) that they once did.

It’s time to rethink marketing.

Three Pillars of Inbound Marketing

Here are the components of inbound marketing, as well as how they work in tandem with one another:

3-pillars

(1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Refers to the “organic” or natural rankings within search engine results (not the paid/sponsored links).  Aside from the Google, Yahoo and Bing engineers, nobody really knows the true secret sauce that determines ranking.  However, at a high-level, we do know this much …

  • 25% is “on-page” and within our control.  Keywords, keywords, keywords in our page titles, URLs, and copy.  (Note:  Not keyword stuffing)
  • 75% is “off-page” and outside of our control!  Inbound links, links, links to our website from other relevant and authoritative websites.  Search engines view these as recommendations, which operate much like the real world.  For example, consider that you (like me) are really into house music and (a) you meet an 80-year-old man on a plane who recommends George Gershwin vs. (b) your best friend who recommends the new Deep Dish album.  Which opinion has more relevancy and authority?  Another interesting thing to note … yes, it’s great if someone links to your website from their website using a format like www.davemorse.net or Click Here.  But, it’s most ideal for them to format the hyperlink using descriptive keywords like Online Marketing Genius.

I realize this might seem like minutia-level detail … but don’t forget about the George Bush “miserable failure” incident!

Google bomb anyone?

(2) Content Marketing

It seems obvious to state that one of the primary motivations of web browsers is information.  Collecting it, reading it, sharing it and consuming it.  What kind of information?  Well, of course, that all depends.  But I can tell you the type of information people are NOT seeking:  self-serving, self-promoting and self-indulgent corporate gibberish.  The bottom line is that people don’t care as much about your company/products/services as you do!

I spend a little time each/every day trolling Twitter, following mostly online marketing geeks.  The stuff that gets spread like wildfire is information that helps or enhances our worldview in some way.  Being an interactive/online marketing kind-of-guy, information like “Six ways to prepare your website for new new markets“, “Twitter’s hidden marketing superpowers” and “Seven ways to avoid humiliating email blunders” will get my attention and get passed around like a hot potato.  Trust me, I see it every day.

Therefore, when companies/brands engage with consumers, it’s critical that they understand this point:  Marketing = Publishing.  This is a VERY tough hurdle for traditional marketers – it requires a shift in thinking for those who are accustomed to interrupting people with self-centered product/service promotions.  “We have a new product!” or “Our company supports the XYZ Charity”. Blah, who cares!

Wikipedia has a nice definition of “content marketing”:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

What is considered content?

  • Website copy
  • Blogs, Tweets
  • Facebook fan pages
  • Videos
  • News & trends
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Tools
  • Photos
  • Presentations,
  • eBooks & white papers

Content is really anything of interest to your buyer personas that persuade them to take profitable action.

A few quotes that drive home this point:

The best websites are designed by those who think like publishers … who start with a content strategy, and then focus on delivery” ~ David Meerman Scott

By empowering customers with genuine news and information, a company becomes ½ of a trusted relationship” ~ Joe Pulizzi

You shouldn’t be thinking so much about what to say, but rather what your audience needs to hear” ~ Joe Pulizzi

Content marketing works to create a relationship between an organization and a stakeholder that is profitable for both sides” ~ Joe Pulizzi

Here are some must-read content marketing resources:

(3) Social Media

Dave, I’m 48.  I know nothing about this ‘social media’ stuff.  I don’t tweeter or tweet, or whatever it’s called, and I hate Facebook.  Plus, I don’t even know how I’d incorporate that stuff into my business – who has the time?!

I’ll cut to the chase:  social media is about content and conversation.  Period.

As I mentioned, I have a pet peeve with the term “social media” because (upon mention) people are drawn to thinking/talking about a specific tool, like Twitter or Facebook.  Social media is not about the tools – they may come and go!  Rather, it is about the connections that you make and the value exchanged.

A cocktail party is a great analogy …

Let’s say that you own and operate a neighborhood pet store, and know nothing about marketing or the Internet.  You’re invited to a networking event and meet two people:

First, you meet a guy named Joe, who (for the next 45 minutes immediately after shaking your hand) does nothing but go on and on and on and on about himself, his travels, his car, and his business.  Mundane details.  At a couple points, you attempt to interject some commentary, but no to avail.  Spew, spew, spew.  “Hey, what’d you say you name was again?” at the end of his rant. “Nice to meet you Doug!”  Ugh.  Where’s the hand sanitizer?!

Next, you meet a guy named Mike, who shakes your hand and compliments you on the bird seed in your hair.  :-)  After a chuckle, he inquires about your line of work and listens as you begin to confess that you’re struggling with your marketing and would like to leverage the Internet, but have no idea where to start.  He responds that he, too, owns his own business and has recently made some big improvements by doing some simple things using the Internet.  He offers to email you the name of his friend who is an expert in the field and helped him get started.  He also recommends three fundamental things to do immediately, which are easy and don’t cost much.  Finally, he turns and introduces you to his accountant, who helped to reduce his taxes and restructure his business.

Which of these connections added value?

Social media is no different – meet people, start conversations, ask questions, and add value.

Working Together

The way in which these three play together is compelling and cool.  Here’s an overly simplistic example:

  • You develop a content strategy and begin cranking out compelling information, like (if you’re like Dr. Helaine Smith, DMD) a free e-book on “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex: ” (http://helainesmithdmd.blogspot.com/2008/03/healthy-mouth-healthy-sex-free-e-book.html).
  • You begin sharing this content with the personas you wish to influence (not to mention creating valuable connections, with whom you discuss other things aside from business, like kids, cars, etc).
  • These connections consume and begin sharing your content, posting to their blogs, saving to Del.icio.us and Reddit, voting it up on Digg, sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Relevant and authoritative websites begin linking to your website and content.
  • As a result, your Google PageRank begins to increase and your website appears on page 1 for a majority of the phrases you’re hoping to win.

3-working-together_2

Summary

Remember, social media is all about content and conversation.  Tipping Point Labs put it best when they said, “Conversation without content is mere networking; content without conversation is just dead content”.  I couldn’t agree more.

This is a big adjustment for marketers who, for years, have used traditional interruption-based tactics to push their product/service.  Inbound marketing represents a radical (and required) shift in thinking—people don’t care about your products/services like YOU care about your products/services.  Instead, learn about the stuff that makes people (who want and need your products/services) tick.  Document these buyer personas and orient your content strategy around them!  Create and share content that they’ll love and want to share, and engage with them and add value.

The ultimate goal is to become the authority in the minds of those you are attempting to influence.  Make this your long-term, high-level focus, instead of merely focusing on creating awareness, persuading preference and driving sales.  Yes, those elements are a necessary part of your strategy.  I assert that focusing on becoming an authority is the preferred approach because it (a) places emphasis on creating and nurturing long-term relationships, (b) forces you to think about adding value through information (vs. short-lived, ineffective tactics designed to interrupt you with a self-serving message), and as a result (c) drives awareness, preference and sales.

Unboxing my new netbook PC

I’ve always had a love affair with gadgets.  A part of this love has to do with how these gadgets are packaged and presented.  Throughout my life, every time I’ve either purchased or received a gadget that’s packaged up in some way, I nearly flip with excitement.  Can’t explain it (or, rather, I don’t want to waste the energy attempting to articulate it).  Yes, I’m weird.

So with that … here’s a quick unveiling of my new gadget!  A new mini-laptop (or “netbook”) – the Asus Eee PC 1008HA:

Specs:

Genuine Windows® XP Home
Display 10.1″ LED Backlight WSVGA Screen (1024×600) with Color-Shine (Glare-type)
Intel® Atom N280
1GB DDR2 SO-DIMM
160GB 2.5″ SATA II 5400RPM HDD
10GB Eee Storage
WLAN 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz
Bluetooth2.1 + EDR
1.3M Pixel camera
Hi-Definition Audio CODEC
Stereo speaker
Digital Array Mic
1 x Mini VGA Connector
2 x USB 2.0
1 x LAN RJ-45
2 x Audio Jack (Head Phone / Mic-in)
Card Reader: MMC/ SD(SDHC)
Battery 6 hrs*, 32Wh Slim and Eco-friendly Li-polymer Battery
Dimensions 262mm(W) x 178mm(D) x 18mm~ 25.7mm(H)
Weight 1.1Kg(2.42lbs)

Genuine Windows® XP Home

Display 10.1″ LED Backlight WSVGA Screen (1024×600) with Color-Shine (Glare-type)

Intel® Atom N280

1GB DDR2 SO-DIMM

160GB 2.5″ SATA II 5400RPM HDD

10GB Eee Storage

WLAN 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz

Bluetooth2.1 + EDR

1.3M Pixel camera

Hi-Definition Audio CODEC

Stereo speaker

Digital Array Mic

1 x Mini VGA Connector

2 x USB 2.0

1 x LAN RJ-45

2 x Audio Jack (Head Phone / Mic-in)

Card Reader: MMC/ SD(SDHC)

Battery 6 hrs*, 32Wh Slim and Eco-friendly Li-polymer Battery

Dimensions – 262mm(W) x 178mm(D) x 18mm~ 25.7mm(H)

Weight 1.1Kg(2.42lbs)

Product Marketing job description critique

I subscribe to a newsletter from iMedia Connection.  The other day, while reading a recent issue and glancing at the sidebar ads, I noticed a job posting for a Product Marketing Manager (PMM) at a software company (which will remain nameless) based in the Bay Area.  

Being a former PMM in high-tech in the Bay Area — as well as having a keen interest in how companies define their PMM positions — I decided to take a peek.  

Here’s what I read:

—————-

Product Marketing Manager
San Francisco

Founded in April 2006 by experienced search marketers and software experts, [our company] provides an enterprise-class paid search management application for advertisers and agencies. Combining power and ease-of-use, [our company's product] addresses the workflow, analysis and optimization needs of search marketers, saving time and improving financial performance. [We have] over 100 clients, including the Gap companies, and ZipRealty. [Our] clients manage over $250 MM of annualized paid search spend. In October 2008, [we] won Clickz’s Marketing Excellence Award for Best Search Management Application. [We are] backed by Benchmark Capital and Amicus Capital. [We are] seeking to add an outstanding individual with strong prior product marketing experience to our marketing team. This position reports to the Director of Product Marketing. 

Responsibilities:

Monitor and document entire competitive landscape including
– Competitor products and features
– Competitor positioning
– Industry and product trends

Use competitive products to gain first-hand knowledge of strengths and weaknesses
– Compile info and recommendations for Product Management
– Use info to assist sales in forming pitches and rebuttals

Express product message through creation and execution of engaging and innovative collateral, print, Web content, and presentations 
– Gain consensus and manage creation of collateral plan
– Write case studies
– Update product sheets
– Maintain product info on website
– Continually update and refine product marketing materials

Support Sales Department with
– Factual rebuttals to prospect objections
– Displays and collateral used in prospect presentations
– Product and competitive training 
– Ongoing updates on new product features
– Represent the company at trade shows (periodically) and interact directly with prospects
– Product demonstrations 
– Represent the company at trade shows (periodically) and interact directly with prospects
– Assist launching database marketing initiative

Requirements
– 3+ years of prior Product Marketing experience at a B2B software company
– Excellent writing skills
– Excellent speaking and presentation skills
– Strong skills in understanding and assimilating technical product info
– Extremely detail-oriented
– Able to manage multiple assignments concurrently
– Prior sales training and intuitive grasp of consultative selling techniques
– Strong computer skills, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel
– Ability to work in a fast paced, team environment

Desired Background: 
– In-depth knowledge of the paid search, online advertising, e-commerce, or web analytics
– 1+ years experience at a company in the paid search or online advertising ecosystem 
– Existing network of contacts in the Paid Search industry 
– MBA preferred

—————-

After reading this, I searched Google for the CMO and Director of Product Marketing at this company and sent the following message:

—————-

Dear [insert names here],

I reviewed the description of the PMM position and would like to provide feedback on your approach for the role.  (Disclaimer:  I’m not interested in the position.  I’m currently employed and no longer live in the Bay Area.)

I have extensive experience as a Product Marketing Manager, specifically within the software space.  From that experience, I’ve learned a few things, namely that the position tends to be misunderstood, misguided, and misaligned.  As a result, the role becomes tactical in nature … nothing more than sales support and “Check List Marketing” (e.g. Website?  Check!  Sell sheets?  Check!)  

My assertion is that, in order to develop a strategic PMM role, the primary responsibility is to be the expert in audience personas for those who buy and those who sell your products/services.  Everything else flows from this approach.  

I wrote a 2-part article for Pragmatic Marketing on this topic, which I’ve summarized here:  “The Product Marketing Identity Crisis

While reading over your PMM job description, I noticed statements like “creation and execution of … collateral, print, Web content, and presentations“, “Support Sales Department” and a specific focus on your competition.  What about knowing the buyers and sellers of your products/services?  What about the go-to-market strategy?

I hope you’re not offended with the feedback.  I’m simply passionate about the topic.

Just to let you know I’m not a crazy person, here’s more about me:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/davemorse

Much success,

Dave Morse

—————-

I never heard a peep from them … although I’m not the least bit surprised.  :-)  I’m sure their response was, “Uhh, whatever Mr. Know-It-All!  I have no time for you”.  With the economy being in the crapper, they may  have no trouble filling this position.  However, if my hunch about their approach is correct, I already feel bad for the unsuspecting person who fills this position.  

What do you think?  Was my approach inappropriate?  Is my assessment incorrect?  Am I just idiotic?

 

New marketing group in Indianapolis

I’ve become a huge believer in the power of “inbound marketing“.  

To quote the Hubspot blog … 

Instead of interrupting people with television ads, [inbound marketers] create videos that potential customers want to see.  Instead of buying display ads in print publications, [inbound marketers] create their own blog that people subscribe to and look forward to reading.  Instead of cold calling, [inbound marketers] create useful content and tools so that people call them looking for more information.  Instead of driving their message into a crowd over and over again like a sledgehammer, [inbound marketers] attract highly qualified customers to their business like a magnet.

Just the other day, it dawned on me that the Indianapolis marketing and general business communities need a new type of user group, focused on all things related to inbound marketing.

My inspiration … 

The trouble with existing marketing groups is that they’re either too broad (Rainmakers, TechPoint, BMA Indy) or too narrow (Hoosier Twitosphere, Social Media Marketing) in scope.  We need a forum that covers search engine marketing (SEO, PPC), blogging / micro-blogging, social media, lead generation, analytics, and so on.  

Here’s the twist … 

I don’t want an average user group!  Instead of the typical format of simply gathering marketing geeks together once a month to discuss the latest technologies (e.g. “How cool is TweetDeck!?”  *yawn*), I would like the format to alternate between learning and doing:

  • Learn new things — Internally-focused session on learning new things through a speaker, webinar, open forum discussion, etc.
  • Do good things — Externally-focused session on helping local businesses evaluate and improve their marketing plans

Slide show that summarizes this concept:

Quick survey for this concept: Take Survey

The product marketing identity crisis

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for “The Pragmatic Marketer” (vol. 5/issue 1) back in Jan 2007:

The trouble with the outbound role of product marketing is that we have an identity crisis on our hands—we’re misunderstood, misguided, and misaligned. As a result, great products are either missing their potential or failing altogether.  Why is this?  One primary reason is that executives and other members of upper management have wide-ranging expectations of product marketing that are almost never focused on strategy or the bottom line.

Thus, we are usually confined to a tactical role supporting sales and others, expending enormous resources on too many urgent tactics that are never measured and rarely appreciated.  Uncertain about where our “turf” is located, we work in a state of reaction and firefighting, unable to contribute in a way that is meaningful to our companies or our careers.

It is time for product marketers to push the “reset button” on our activities and expectations. Before we began my company’s effort to redefine our product marketing role, our executives had varied ideas about product marketing and felt that it should be part of the product management organization because (following common logic) “they need to know the product in order to market it.”

The trouble in product marketing today

Compared to positions like sales or engineering, marketing is an odd bird.  As a way to prove just how different we are from our cubicle counterparts, here is a simple yet profound test:  Ask anyone (and I mean anyone) in your company the following two questions about sales or engineering:

  1. What is the [Sales or Engineering] team responsible for delivering?
  2. How are they measured?

Right or wrong, the responses will be relatively uniform—you’ll hear comments like, “software developers write and test code, and are measured by the quality and timeliness of their delivery” and “sales people are responsible for cold-calling prospects, closing deals, and meeting or beating their quota.”

However … ask those same two questions about Marketing, and you’ll find a wide range of answers. “Marketing is … *pause* … well, they write content for our website”, “They generate our leads”, “Dave is great on customer calls”, “They plan our trade shows”, or my favorite, “The t-shirt and coffee mug department”!

It’s true that marketing performs these activities.  But, do any of these descriptions capture the true and complete essence of the role?  What is our real purpose?  Why is the company spending so much money on this stuff?

The true purpose for product marketing

The core responsibility of the product marketing manager is to be the company’s audience persona expert … period.  Their focus is to deeply understand the people that impact decisions about which products to buy (buyer personas) and which products to sell (sales personas).

What is a buyer persona?

Adele Revella, author of the Buyer Persona Blog (www.buyerpersona.com) and instructor of the Pragmatic Marketing Effective Product Marketing seminar, says that a “buyer persona is a detailed profile of an example buyer that represents the real audience—an archetype of the target buyer. Marketers use buyer personas to segment and target different types of buyers, using individual profiles to understand the goals, concerns, preferences and decision process for each part of the market they need to influence.

Buyer personas allow marketers to step out of their role as product evangelists and see the world from their buyer’s perspective.  Through this profiling process, product marketers can be the “proxy” for the buyer, identifying how each solution addresses the most urgent problems for any particular persona, what role each will play in the purchase decision, why they have not looked to us to solve their problems, and where this persona will go to get new ideas and information.

Product marketers who are persona experts can break out of the tactical marketing role and identify a messaging and campaign strategy that will be relevant to the target audience. No more reverse engineering your messaging by aligning with your existing functionality.  No more “shot gun” or “cookie-cutter” style marketing by creating one campaign or collateral piece to resonate with everyone.  This new type of product marketer isn’t a creative genius; this marketer has the insights that make it simple to get the right message delivered in the right place at the right time.

Product marketing responsibilities

The correct role for product marketing is to know each and every buyer persona better than anyone in sales does, and intimately understand all channel personas.  As a result of this expertise, product marketing is responsible for

  • Aligning with sales channels to prepare them to:
    • Relate to buyers of all types
    • Focus on the most effective messages and programs
  • Developing go-to-market plans that:
    • Generate awareness to get prospects into the sales funnel
    • Help prospects through each/every stage of the sale funnel, and ultimately drive revenue
    • Increase customer retention and satisfaction to ensure customers remain happy and loyal

Product managers and product marketers have a few things in common but are ultimately quite different.  Adele Revella makes these distinctions about the roles, “Product managers develop expertise in the market and then rely on this perspective to influence the product strategy—they are always thinking about how to bridge gaps between the market and the product.  Product Marketing needs to understand the products, too, but its attention needs to be on people, developing personas and using this insight to influence markets full of people—business peoples’ decisions to buy and the sales peoples’ decision to sell the company’s products.  This results in a cohesive go-to-market strategy that Marketing Communications can execute through its competencies in the individual marketing programs.

Many commonly engage in the “one position, two hats” debate, or “can product managers also be effective product marketers?”  In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore defines and recommends two separate positions for inbound and outbound activities:

A product manager is a member of either the marketing organization or the development organization who is responsible for ensuring that a product gets created, tested, and shipped on schedule and meeting specifications. It is a highly internally focused job, bridging the marketing and development organizations, and requiring a high degree of technical competence and project management experience. A product marketing manager is always a member of the marketing organization, never of the development group, and is responsible for bringing the product to the marketplace and to the distribution organization. …It is a highly externally focused job.

He goes on to say, “Not all organizations separate [the two positions], but they should … the type of people who are good at one are rarely good at the other.

Amen, Reverend Moore!

The *NEW* Four Ps of marketing

I’ve become a big fan of a relatively new high-tech company called Hubspot, specializing in “inbound marketing” software to help companies attract more visitors using SEO, social media and blogs as well as capture more leads with landing pages, lead intelligence and analytics.  

I discovered Hubspot through a Facebook advertisement about 1 year ago.  Since that time, I continue to be more and more impressed with their collective passion for all things related to inbound marketing — specifically, their ability to publish content, content, and more valuable content.  

One such example is an article that appeared on Hubspot’s blog entitled, “Are the Four Ps of Marketing Dead?“, which makes a convincing case that the traditional marketing four Ps, while still relevant, are becoming overshadowed by the new four Ps: 

  • Personas – According to Adele Revella, Pragmatic Marketing instructor and expert on Buyer Personas, a persona is “a detailed profile of an example buyer that represents the real audience – an archetype of the target buyer.  Marketers can use buyer personas to clarify the goals, concerns, preferences and decision process that are most relevant to their customers.  Imagine how effective marketers could be if we would all stop making stuff up and start aligning our messages and programs with the way real people think“.  In my opinion, documented personas are the cornerstone of all outbound and inbound marketing tasks. 
  • Participation – Businesses must be active participants in today’s social web by monitoring RSS feeds, commenting on blogs, using social networking, connecting and sharing ideas through Twitter.  This active and genuine participation can yield fantastic things, such as increased brand transparency (wow, real people like me work for that company!) and a stethoscope on the pulse of what’s being said about your company (good, bad and indifferent).  
  • Publishing – Content is the new currency of the web – videos, blogs, microblogs, news releases (optimized for buyers), eBooks, etc.  All businesses should create a content publishing strategy that is focused on what their buyers like/value.  David Meerman Scott, in his poignant article entitled, “Don’t Trust An Ad Agency to Build Your Website“, said it best:  “The best Web sites are designed by marketers who have learned to think more like successful publishers:  It is important to make a book or magazine readable, but not at the expense of providing something good to read.  One of the most important things that publishers do is start with a content strategy and then focus on the mechanics and design of delivering that content.  Publishers carefully identify and define target audiences and consider what content is required in order to meet their needs.  Publishers consider questions like: Who are my readers? How do I reach them? What are their motivations?  What are the problems I can help them solve? How can I entertain them and inform them at the same time? What content will compel them to purchase what I have to offer?
  • PageRank – Google’s secret sauce.  As they put it, “PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important’

David Meerman Scott, in his excellent book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR“, states that standard marketing education still talks about the traditional four Ps, but “[is] nonsense”.  “In order to succeed on the Web under the new rules of marketing and PR, you need to consider your organizational goals and then focus on your buyer first” (p.114).

In the end, I don’t believe that the traditional four Ps is dead.  However, I do believe that businesses are risking their very livelihood if they do not adopt the new four Ps of inbound marketing.  

Twitter mania

 

twitterI’ve been using Twitter since Oct 2007.  Initially, I was skeptical and really didn’t see the (professional or personal) value in it.  Like many, I’d read something somewhere about how cool it is and decided to check it out.  My first impression was, “Who the hell cares what I’m doing, aside from my wife and immediate family members?  Besides, they won’t use the tool anyway, so what’s the point?”.  Not long after, though, I began changing my tune and using it more frequently.  

Nowadays, I check my Twitter account on a daily basis, with nearly the same frequency with which I check Facebook and Gmail.  I’ve hand-selected a nice group of 126 people to follow, the majority of whom are in the entrepreneurship/interactive marketing/social media/blogging/creative spheres.  

Some examples of those I follow:

My use of Twitter is more professional – I have no desire to communicate (or read other people’s) non-valuable personal tid bits on recent bowel movements or whether I like cashews or not.  Really, who cares.  If I come across something interesting, either through a blog or another person’s Tweet (Twitter lingo for “short message submitted”), I will send this out to those who are following me (114 to date).  

But despite my fondness for Twitter, there are a some mysteries I don’t yet understand:  those who focus on following and being followed.  I regularly receive notifications that people are following me, and upon checking their Twitter profile, discover that they’re not even closely associated with business/social media/etc.  

The most recent example (from just earlier today):  I receive a notification that “Brooks Bayne is now following you on Twitter!”  As I always do, I click to see more about this person.  I discover a picture of a man who looks like Kip Winger or a group member of Poison, who describes himself (among other things) as someone who is “a music producer and melter of faces utilizing molten guitar riffs“.  WTH?  Then I notice he’s following over 16,000 people.  Oh, I get it … this is a shining example of Twitter’s underbelly — a self-promotion trick of following anyone/everyone in hopes of being recognized.  Ugh.  

Seriously, how on earth can someone possibly keep track of the rants and raves of over 16,000 people.  The answer:  they can’t.  Even my new BFF Brooks Bayne (who most likely still lives with his mother, sleeps ’till the afternoon, and draws an unemployment check) doesn’t have the kind of time needed to really, truly “follow” that many.  The tactic of following the entire Twitter universe is, in my opinion, like saying, “Hey world, it’s me!  I don’t care what you have to say … but boy, you should listen to me!”  Again, ugh.