Rethinking Marketing

  • “I can’t believe they did that”
    • “Maybe that isn’t so bad”
    • “Wait! What was that again”
  • “Did I forget to shave?”
    • “No, I shaved”
    • “Why did I think I hadn’t shaved?”
    • “I need to be more aware of what I’m doing”
    • “But isn’t me thinking about being more aware not being aware of what I’m presently doing?”
  • “You’re an idiot”
    • “It’s only a matter of time until they notice you’re a fraud”
    • “Then you’ll go bankrupt”
    • “No, wait, you’re awesome”
    • “Awesome, awesome, awesome”
    • “You’re so not awesome”
  • “Am I late?”

If I can imagine as many potential dangers and embarrassing situations, I can avoid them all and look beautiful to others.

That sums up the goal of mind rumblings: To protect against things that won’t happen or don’t matter. Once we’re aware that brain rumblings serve no purpose other than to protect us from improbable situations, we can start seeing them for what they are: distractions from what’s taking place.

Read more

I can’t stop thinking about this:

No one has experienced your brand or your product the way you have. They don’t know about the compromises and choices that went into it. They don’t understand the competitive pressures or the mis-steps either. (Seth’s Blog: The Foggy Mirror)

Having gone through and driven rebrands, platform redesigns, ad and email campaigns, I can say that this probably where most marketers go wrong.

We spend too much time in our bubble and not out enough there, watching what our audience does.

Read more

Yesterday, there was one way to achieve marketing success: outspend the competition.

If your customer needed a vacuum cleaner and you were present on more TV and radio channels, there’s a good chance you got the business.

Today isn’t much different. You still need to outspend.

But you also need to out-brand.

That’s not always the story that’s told. Most marketers are in one camp or the other. But a brand builds trust and outspending without faith yields unimpressive results. On the flip side, building trust has often become synonymous with “don’t sell,” but a company that doesn’t sell…

Outspend doesn’t mean running a huge budget and hoping for the best. Similarly, Brand doesn’t mean creating and sharing content without knowing how to ask for the sale.

The trick is knowing both.

Read more

One of the great things about Seinfeld was how each character’s story came together to set up the show’s punchline.

Today, your marketing is the same. Many tangled and intertwined stories that set up a punch line: a qualified prospect or sale.

The characters are your various outposts – Facebook, email, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, AdWords, syndication, trade shows, etc.

Each post, each status, each email tells their story but link to each other in a way that may not be yet visible to your audience: your customers.

Of course setting up your show is difficult. There are many moving parts, all dependent on different mediums and platforms. So the necessary first step is messy. We can’t be afraid of trying out, testing, experimenting and playing around with each character all to support your brand’s storyline.

Ultimately, the entire thing needs to move towards congruence, measurement and optimization. But it’s that first, messy beginning that puts off so many.

Read more

I’ve come to accept that the greater number of people required to give their go ahead on a project, the more mediocre it gets. And not just in a linear fashion but exponentially worse. That’s because each person who approves makes the project more acceptable to themselves and the next person in the approval cue:

 “I don’t like the colour yellow and I know she doesn’t like purple so stick with what we have now.”

No one in the sequence ever aims to make the project better for the end user. Just, share an opinion and pass on the project to the next person in the queue.

What to seek instead

There are two things to find instead of approval. The first is guidance. It’s about making it better by helping you reframe and rethink. Consent and advice may sound like two sides of the same coin, but they couldn’t be more different. One is about handing over control to the next person, they other is about honest ownership. The best advice often comes from someone with no stakes in the project.

 

The second thing to seek out instead of approvals, especially if guidance is not available, is forgiveness. Ship your project and if the reasoning is well-founded, it will be a lot easier to justify postmortem.

What blocks us from either option isn’t a lack of resources or time. It’s fear. We are afraid that whatever the outcome is, it rests on our shoulders. Whether you seek a mentor or choose to take permission, the project’s success and failure are yours.

That’s where the real difference lies – neither option is about handing over the project. 

Read more

There’s a common misconception in some SMB circles that all you need to do these days is set up shop online, and sales will flow in. After years of hearing the web was taking over and resisting it, this is the thought that remains. There’s a similar misconception in both large and small organizations with email, social media, and online ads. We’ll just send, post and spray our message and the sales will come.

The root of these misconceptions are similar: “people should be excited about what I have to say.”

While in 1998, you might have genuinely been excited to get an email, today the average executive receives 140+ emails daily. While back then you might have flocked to yahoo.com. Today, the audience is more fragmented.  

 

The misnomer that online is easy, (and the inevitable follow-up reaction: “online doesn’t work”) is an indication of lack of interest. And a lack of interest prohibits tests and insight.

So when you venture online, intuition alone is not enough for success. Necessary, maybe. But not sufficient.

Everything online is a thought through experiment fueled by testing and experience.

Read more

We’re wired to see things, to take not of subtle shifts and strong ones. It’s a matter of survival. For our ancestors, if you couldn’t perceive a subtle rustling of leaves how could you avoid the predator?

That’s still in us. But it’s been oppressed.

We’re taught to bury and forget it. Listen to the instructions, pass the test, check the boxes, tow the line. It worked great for a while. (Truth be told, I’m more than happy that my surgeon checks the boxes and not freely experiment while she’s in there).

But for the rest of us, for the marketers, the sales folks, the copywriters, the account managers, the students, the teachers, noticing is still very much a matter of survival. Maybe not life and death survival, but survival nonetheless.

Noticing is the only way for us to stand even a chance of doing work that matters, to figure out what is important to our customers, to hope to make a difference.

A little while ago, I stopped publishing my (almost) daily posts in the name of efficiency. Choosing instead to focus entirely on strategic posts. The reasons were a decrease in traffic to the site, less relevant business requests and fatigue.

Yes, that led to more introspection, but frankly also less “noticing.” You see if you don’t push yourself to share your work, you aren’t going to put yourself out there; you get lazy.

So today I choose to notice again. I elect to survive and thrive.

Read more

Photo credit: David Groh

I was recently chatting with the head of a small B2B company that is experiencing major problems right now. The challenge? They aren’t finding enough new clients to attain their growth targets. On paper however, they have everything to get there: a good product, a product development team, a good service, a nice website, a marketing budget… Yet the clients just aren’t there.

Did you just read that and tell yourself: “Well obviously they have problems, without clients you’ve got nothing.” If so, you’d be right. Without clients, there are no sales, without sales there is no revenue and with no revenue there is no company. Everyone knows that…

Yet, no matter how obvious it is, solutions to remedy the situation are not well understood. Considering how the market is currently being turned on its head, many businesses don’t understand the new ways to generate prospects. Consequently, the results are average at best.

5 telltale signs that you aren’t mastering your lead generation

Here are some flaws or weaknesses you may already have noticed:

  1. An irregular sales pipeline;
  2. Too few prospects;
  3. A lack of prospects that match your ideal client;
  4. Inequalities in the individual performances of your sales team;
  5. A slow or non-existent growth.

If you’ve noticed one or more of these symptoms, continue reading.

2 essential elements of lead generation

Identifying and finding leads

There is a multitude of ways to achieve this.

  • Prospecting;
  • Networking;
  • Systematic request for referrals from clients;
  • Inbound marketing;
  • Blog posts, ebooks and other types of content;
  • Social advertising;
  • Online advertising;
  • Keyword purchase and pay-per-click (type Google Adwords);
  • Social media;
  • Etc.

Unless you’ve upgraded your techniques, the two first elements, prospecting and networking, have lost some of their efficiency in the last while and are increasingly being replaced by inbound marketing and the other options on the list.

That’s because the common element linking items 4 through 9 is the ability to multiply the impact without increasing efforts.

Retaining prospects

This crucial step feeds the sales pipeline and is done through what is commonly called lead nurturing. This is usually done through a series of preprogrammed emails with the goal of pursuing the prospect’s education. You need to help your prospective client’s ‘purchase-decision’ process along up to the point when s/he is ready to speak with a member of the sales team.

What is the secret to lead generation?

Using content to attract and emails to educate is really only a tactic to retain prospects – tactics that work mind you, but still only tactics. Success in generating prospects depends on one and only one element… The secret? It’s attention. Success comes if we know how to attract and retain the attention of our prospects.

Having a hard time finding new clients doesn’t come from the fact that prospecting is difficult or that advertising is pricey or even that writing quality content isn’t straightforward or easy. It all boils down to attention.

According to Wikipedia, “[a]ttention is the behavioral and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, whether deemed subjective or objective, while ignoring other perceivable information. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of limited processing resources.”

Given that we’re constantly bombarded by messages, we’ve developed our capability to block most of them out. Put differently “People’s bullshit radars are insane. Marketing is about to get really, really hard,” said Gary Vaynerchuk back in 2010… Think about what that means today… Attention-getting is more expensive and attention spans are shorter than ever.

Maybe a few years ago with a press release and some advertising it was possible to make a splash. Today, well there’s Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, as well as emails (both legit and spam), there are screens wherever we look and messages all over them.

Everyone, including your competition, is looking to grasp your clients’ attention and, without exception companies who have a hard time generating leads are those who have a hard time capturing attention. They’re stuck in their old ways. They’re too promotional. They ask for the sale at the wrong moment. They only talk about themselves

5 ingredients of lead generation success

  1. Learn to draw on your audience’s instincts;
  2. Surprise your audience;
  3. Build trust;
  4. Reward your prospects in order to maintain their attention;
  5. Repeat the message.

If your messages don’t contain those ingredients, they’ll simply be ignored or forgotten and they won’t help you to attract new prospects to feed your sales funnel.

What to remember

Feeding a sales pipeline with qualified prospects is really a question of attracting and retaining attention. In any given market, an organization who does it best will attract the most qualified prospects.

To become a business which retains the attention of its prospects, you need to have a solid understanding of who your clients are: what they do, how they buy, what type of pressure they are under, what objectives they are chasing…

Photo credit: Dustin Groh

(A version of this post was originally published on Prima Ressource’s blog)

Read more

Fabrice Calando | Sales AutomationAre you losing 50% of your potential sales? Let’s face it, Sales isn’t easy – you need a good balance of product/service knowledge and consumer psychology, you need to live by a scientific process and be persistent, thick skinned, patient yet convincing… Those are just the skills, now add the necessary tasks. Depending on your organization – Sales is in charge of finding leads, selling, cross-selling and even customer support and some implementation/execution. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most important positions.

It’s not surprising then, a lot falls through the cracks at each step of the process – probably more than any Executive would like to know or admit. Are you finding the right amount of leads? Are you giving up on them too early? Are you approaching the closing and cross-sell in an optimal way?

The good news is that newish tools can help augment your sales efforts by automating tasks. By empowering your sales team to focus on their strengths, you get more leads, better quality leads and a more predictable sales funnel.

And your marketing team is the one that can help. The job of a marketer is to communicate the value of a product, service or business to customers and leads for the purpose of promoting or selling. In short, generating revenue for the company.

Converting visitors into customers… a forgotten step

Generally speaking, to generate income, a marketer must:

  1. Attract visitors to its site,
  2. Convert these visitors into leads,
  3. Then convert these leads into customers.

Usually, marketers know the first point well: advertising, social media, content for the blog. If it’s well executed, the right visitors are attracted. Point 2 is also known. Marketers optimize their landing pages to better convert visitors to leads. But what’s next? Are all visitors going to become customers? Are all visitors even ready to become customers? How does an organization even help them become customers?

It is precisely at that point that Sales Augmentation plays an important role.

How does Sales Augmentation help convert visitors into customers?

According to a study by Gleanster, of all company’s website visitors:

  • 30-50% of leads are qualified, but for one reason or another, are not willing to become a customer yet.
  • 25% of leads are simply not qualified.
  • 25% are willing to buy today.

So ignoring Point 3 mentioned above is ignoring 30-50% good leads.

This is where Sales Augmentation is so powerful. It enables a personalized, continuing education of our leads. For example, a Visitor came to our site because of search engine optimization efforts and decides, after reading some our blog posts, to download extra content. This content can be an industry report, a user guide, a price list, etc. Anything that could add value to our Visitor. Given the content’s high value, the Visitor must leave his or her email to access it.

Without augmentation, there are two conclusions: either the relationship ends there or a sales representative tries to contact him or her. Whatever the conclusion, you’re dropping a sale.

As noted earlier, although that particular Lead is qualified, he or she is not ready to become a customer. He or she is not yet looking to buy so asking our sales representative to contact him or her is putting the cart before the horse. That Lead is probably higher up in the funnel and is looking to learn and get educated. Ideally your sales team would take the time it takes to educate and teach. But that process can be long, time-intensive and not always conclusive, which usually runs counter to the quarterly targets your team is trying to achieve.

Through a well-implemented Sales augmentation processes, we can instead share more information directly related to the subject of the downloaded content. Often this sharing is done through a system of pre-programmed emails. If, during this process, the Lead downloads a second and even a third, a fourth piece of content (or more!), we can conclude that he or she is now more advanced in the purchasing decision process and perhaps more apt to buy.

LEARN ABOUT THE MAIN SALES AND MARKETING AUTOMATION TOOLS [Free Resource Guide] >>

The other advantage, often less articulated, is to disqualify uninteresting Leads. While it’s impressive to have a lot of traffic to our site, it’s really those in our target who are of interest. Sales augmentation allows us to filter the good from the less qualified leads and, therefore, put more effort on the latter…

Educate and build relationships

Sales automation is primarily a way to educate and identify our good Leads to encourage a sale. Whether we work in B2B, B2C, have a sales force or if all our activities happen online, it integrates with our other marketing efforts such as Inbound Marketing, SEO, advertising, etc. It allows us to get more customers without exponential effort.

[Free Guide] DISCOVER THE MAIN SALES AND MARKETING AUTOMATION TOOLS >>

(Photo credit: Chester Alvarez)

Read more

image

There’s an opportunity for young marketers. Something that wasn’t available just a decade ago: The whole world of marketing is available to them. From blogs to podcasts and books to online classes. It’s all there. The opportunity to learn from the best and brightest.

That’s never been the case – knowledge was controlled by your university or college and then by the company you worked at. Quality or not you did the best you could with what you had.

Sure too much information can be an escape. A way to over consume and under deliver.

So how do we learn without escaping? The one skill that’s required is curiosity. The appetite to learn what needs to be learned at the moment you need it. The drive to dive deep and learn from experts to deliver your own results.

Go. Be curious.

(Photo credit: Reclusive Monkey)

Read more