I saw a quote from a senior marketing consultant on a LinkedIn group. He said that if you are fortunate enough to become a CMO, even if your career is on fire at age 35, it's not a question of if, but rather when you will be unemployed. His point was to make as many professional connections as you can, as it will serve you well in the future. While I never thought of it in quite those terms, I always treated every vendor, consultant, employee and employer with the utmost respect and courtesy. Indeed, it has served me well, although that's just my personality, I genuinely like people. And I came from nothing, so I always knew I would never get a "big head" - as we used to say as kids.
A lot of people looked down on me when I was growing up because I was a kid from the projects and I swore to myself I would never, ever do that to anyone. I worked my tail off to get out, played sports, got a full scholarship to Boston University and graduated with honors. I worked my way up, became a VP at age 26 and never really looked back. Until now. I've been re-connecting with lots of former colleagues. Many are not doing well at all. I've known for more than 10 years that the economy was radically changing. I find it sad that so many incredibly talented people are just barely hanging on. I find it odd and very sad that so many people who pushed themselves through school, grad school and into high flying careers are losing their homes and life savings.What's happening to them now is not anything they could have imagined even 15 years ago.
I also note (with a just a small hint of irony) that my friends who never went to school but worked hard and went to work for the Post Office or got a job with the state park service and worked their way up, are retiring with $100K pensions and free medical care for the rest of their lives. I'm happy for them. I realize that working for the public sector pays less, but you receive great benefits in exchange for a lower salary over the course of your life. I don't begrudge anyone who is willing to make that trade off. It seems fair.
I just wonder how America survives with tens of millions of incredibly talented senior managers, senior technologists, creative professionals and so forth, working at minimum wage? My Sunday night thoughts.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Let’s tease apart each element of our dinner conversation and place them in the context of a B2B content marketing program.
Your “friend” is your universe of sales prospects. They are your followers on Twitter™ and FaceBook™ fans, people searching on Google™, your in-house prospect list that your sales team is working, the members of your LinkedIn™ groups and your website visitors.
Now, back to our dinner conversation.
You started the conversation by asking a lot of questions. However, in a content marketing program, the reality is that you already know the vast majority of business issues and problems that your prospects are facing.
If your sales team is doing their job correctly, you also know many of the personal concerns that your prospects have. That’s because your sales team is trained to ask questions like “Anne, what are your concerns about moving to a new solution?” and then follow up by saying “What else?” and “Anything else?”
When I talk about personal concerns, I’m referring to the fears that every business decision maker has regarding any change to workflow, business process or technology. Make no mistake, every executive lives in fear of making a decision that results in a corporate disaster. The bigger the deal, the higher the fear level. Executives may be reluctant to talk about their personal fears but if they are not properly addressed, the deal will never close. Good content marketing acknowledges and assuages that fear in a subtle but effective manner.
This is accomplished by demonstrating genuine empathy for your prospect. Empathy is the emotional counterpart to intellectual understanding. Both the intellectual and emotional aspects of your prospect’s concerns must be addressed in effective content marketing.
Lastly, you offered advice that your friend did not even know to ask about. It was a “Eureka” moment for your friend and it elicited an emotional reaction in the form of gratitude. From a content marketing perspective, this last piece is often the most difficult to achieve. The point is not that your prospect is actually going to become truly emotional.
Rather, you are trying to share information that demonstrates your willingness as a company to be very open with your sales prospects and obtain permission to begin a conversation. Today’s buyers are more informed than ever before in history, so a whitepaper touting features and benefits is not going to be effective. As a company, you are demonstrating a willingness to share truly valuable business information in a non promotional fashion.
Excerpted from the Industry Briefing on the "Psychology of Content Marketing."
From The Edenfield Group, Author: Ken Carson, Principal Technology Analyst
Content marketing is not new. Before it was called content marketing, many people referred to it as “education-based marketing.” The only thing that is new is the number of channels available for promoting and engaging people with educational, engaging and informative content. I’m referring of course to social media.
Since education-based marketing, sorry, content marketing is a time tested marketing strategy, I thought it might be interesting to analyze why it is so effective.
Imagine that you are the CEO of a company that sells a technically sophisticated B2B solution. You’re speaking to a good friend and he tells you he is very interested in purchasing a solution for his company that is virtually identical to the solution you sell. You offer to buy dinner and answer all his questions about this very sophisticated solution.
Since you are an astute business person, you begin the conversation by asking a lot of questions about the business problems your friend is attempting to solve by implementing this solution.
You ask what concerns he has about the current business issues he is dealing with, his concerns about a new solution.
Once you have a complete and comprehensive understanding of your friend’s business issues, current problems, workflow issues and all of his personal and professional concerns (note well I said personal concerns) you are now prepared to offer some very informed and insightful advice. You now offer that advice on a point by point basis. You re-state every concern he has articulated and tailor your advice to thoroughly address each concern.
Once you have addressed all of his concerns, you now address issues, concerns and technical problems that your friend has not even thought to ask because he was not aware of them. However, you know everything about your solution and have seen every issue that can possibly arise.
Your friend is immensely grateful for this crucial advice that he never even knew to ask about. He is now acutely aware that without this knowledge it could well have spelled disaster for his project and perhaps even his career. Your friend is so grateful he gets a bit choked up in his effusive expressions of gratitude.What just happened here? You just executed a perfect content marketing program.
Excerpted from the original Industry Briefing by The Edenfield Group
Saturday, March 3, 2012
This is not original, I got this from a post somewhere..but links are from the source
Technology and social networking have clearly changed the way we communicate. If you use social media and online networking to increase your sales and grow your business, there’s good news. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Success leaves clues.
1. Share good content without selling. Become a trusted resource for people who need your expertise. Check out Tamar Weinberg. She’s a top-notch example of an insightful writer and resource. Hint: When posting a link, don’t lead people to a landing page for your book, webinar, e-zine or CD series. If you want to “hawk stuff,” go to your local flea market.
2. Write to express, not to impress. Whether it’s a bylined article, blog or newsletter, just be yourself. Friends, followers and connections will appreciate your authenticity, style and candor. Read a few posts from Seth Godin. Big words and industry jargon can quickly confuse readers and/or viewers. Hint: People will not check a thesaurus or dictionary; they will simply hit delete and move on. Keep their attention.
3. Understand that “The Art of Twitter Lies in the Retweet.” Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is right on target with these words. Hint: Be sure your Tweets and links are compelling enough that others are eager to share your message.
4. Position yourself to succeed. That’s the message of Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “The Thank You Economy” Hint: Gary always touts his willingness early on to respond to blog comments and e-mails personally. This shows you are respectful, caring, accessible, engaging and real. First impressions count.
5. Weave in your personality. Sure it’s business, but you don’t want to be a social media sleeping pill. Avoid dry and boring messages, posts and links. Hint: Successful leaders are charismatic communicators—in person and online. Chris Guillebeau’s blog, The Art of Non-Comformity, captures the essence of his personality.
6. Post when you have something to say. Others will appreciate your “editorial judgment” and your consideration of their time. Hint: You wouldn’t call someone on the phone if you didn’t have something to share or discuss. It’s the same with social networking. Mack Collier is living this concept.
7. Pass along solid information. Business leaders can set aside their egos and share resources, apps, articles, blogs and links with others without compromising their own credibility. No one expects you to know everything. Jason Better is a terrific example. Hint: Be generous in the spirit of helping others to grow their business and succeed.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Posted: 17 Feb 2012 07:54 AM PST
David Ogilvy is one of the most quoted advertising professionals and a legend in the space. So it was neat to see Lists of Note pull up an internal memo sent to all employees of his advertising agency in 1982.
As we’re clearly fans of writing tips we thought we’d share David’s memo with you for some Friday inspiration:
The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.
Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing*. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
Read the rest here, great classic article
Thursday, February 16, 2012
I founded The Edenfield Group in 2004 and we have always been about what I used to call education-based marketing. Back then, the concept was straightforward. If you provided your prospects with valuable information, with no marketing hype, they would, in short order, come to view your company as a trusted advisor and when they were ready to purchase, and assuming you kept an on-going sales dialogue, your company would be the first one they called.
Fast forward to 2011 and the tools we now have at our disposal are far more powerful and less expensive. The market has also changed dramatically. Executive level decision makers are insanely busy. Budgets are highly scrutinized and so marketing communication with prospects has to be laser targeted and incredibly relevant to them.
Add to that the fact that salespeople are no longer gatekeepers of information, Google is. So organic search, not PPC, is really much more important than ever. There have been studies that show that business people, like everyone else, have learned to tune out advertising and they place more value and credibility on organic search results. So we created a package of services to address all of these issues simultaneously. Highly relevant information, low cost execution, pin point delivery through email and high visibility organic search. Education-based marketing is now thought leadership. Our on-going sales dialogue is now drip or nurture marketing primarily via email. Through organic search, Google validates our trusted advisor, or thought leadership status.
I've been perfecting this particular technique for 4 years now and I've written over 200 articles and technical briefings since I started the company. I've been published in Business Week, dozens of major newspapers as well as a ton of industry specific trades, like Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry magazine.
In terms of my professional background, I'm not an agency or PR guy. I've been the VP of Sales and VP of marketing for software and technology consulting firms for more than 20 years. I've been the VP of Marketing for a 1.2 Billion dollar, global consulting firm and I've also taken two software start-ups to significant liquidity events. So I'm a technical marketing guy at heart. I love writing about interesting technology.
And since each of my clients have different marketing objectives ranging from seeding a market and creating a buzz for a new product to maximizing awareness of a major marketing initiative, I can write in many different styles. Some examples include what I call a market trends style, which highlights how my client's product or service either fits or drives those trends. The interview style is particularly effective because many people find them much easier to read.
They can scan the questions and read only the information that's of interest to them, rather than a narrative where they have to read through the whole piece to find those nuggets of information they really want to know about. The writing style has to match the marketing objective.