"Resist opportunity." Seems counter-intuitive, right? Yet, before us lie too many marketing opportunities, too much data, and so many social networks, tools, and conversations. How can B2B (define) marketers effectively set priorities, identify the most meaningful audiences, and develop the necessary content needed to participate? The resistance idea is posed by Cluetrain Manifesto co-author David Weinberger. I believe the answer has to be in accepting that none of us can successfully test everything, so we must resist the urge to try everything, and at a micro-level embrace the fact that we will never be able to track, follow, or participate in every customer or industry conversation.
David spoke last week at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston, where hundreds of marketers from companies large and small gathered to discuss digital marketing strategies, cool tools, and new ideas. Consider some ways you can effectively resist opportunity:
Everything in marketing sounds like a good idea. Let's write that white paper, host that Webinar, jump into that community forum, tweet more. To keep yourself sane, the trick is to create some amazing content once, then repurpose it for other channels (e.g., video, mobile, social) and package it for various vertical markets. Simple optimization tasks, like adding calls to action to your blogs, encourage deeper interaction and let every effort work harder.
When it comes to owning the forum for the conversation in your industry or participating in existing ones, the decisive factor is what you have to say that is unique or different. There are an amazing number of communities that do not have a home online. Look to start a community when you can bring a unique value proposition to a market or audience. While very attractive in concept, owning and hosting communities takes a long-term commitment, even if the rewards are higher. That may compete with short-term, quarterly goals. Be sure to set expectations, and goals, appropriately.
Marketing has always been about connections between real people. We lost a bit of that during the mass marketing era of the last century. The Internet now puts our brand experience in the hands of buyers, with or without us. Case in point: who owns your home page - you, or Google? (I vote for the latter.) So our published content in all its forms - blogs, e-mail newsletters, catalogs, comments, Twitter replies, community contributions - adds up to a relationship.
How are you resisting opportunities, in order to connect where it really counts? Please share ideas and examples below.
What are your e-mail marketing priorities? Take this quick 10-question survey and we'll share the results back in a future column. Thank you!
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Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.
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