26 March 2010

Being Snarky and Not Having An Original Idea

Over the past few months, I have had many moments of contemplation on certain marketing tactics that some organizations have elected to use to entice/entertain/gain audience views and demand generation. Some have been through social media outlets, some through website design/language/tactics, and some have been in classic email blasts. Often, I've been left with a nasty taste in mouth upon viewing.....

At the same time, I've been working with my colleagues to continue on the momentum that we've started - and I've decided to "pledge" that my efforts will not fall into these camps of demand gen that I've seen way too often recently:

  • Being snarky, petty, underhanded in tactics (buying competitors terms in AdWords come to mind).
  • Having not one bloomin' original idea.
  • Not willing to try and fail - and stopping there.
I will pledge to be:
  • Cheeky
  • Provocative
  • Fun and Funny (hopefully)
  • Smart
  • A listener, not just a talker
For the KISS Question, what do you pledge to do as a marketer?

19 March 2010

Showing Your True Colors - Demand Gen Style

In sales and marketing, we often struggle with trying to communicate a unified voice to our audience - namely, we call the same things the same names, we try to use the corporate fonts, and in the case of events, you'll see the waves of blue-shirted soldiers lined up in corporate booths waiting to all sound alike to you (as a consumer). There is power in having a brand identity that is easily recognizable - think of the Apple artwork of the reverse silhouettes from their iPod campaigns, or Pepsi's use of the classic royal blue in its logo and packaging.

However, there should be a limit to this in person-to-person interactions.

How many times have you received an email from person X and the same email from person Y at some later date? If you are speaking with different people from the same company at an event, can they explain the concepts and technology differently - or does it all sound scripted?

As a former manager of a business development team, I matched personalities and behaviors with territories that they covered....because at days end, people like to buy from people like themselves. My fast talking, to-the-point (but very nice) rep covered the northeast corridor - because if you try to send anyone else in to sell to a New Yorker, you let me know how that goes. I paired my best listener and somewhat reserved personality with the South territory since she could get any harried IT Director to speak to her for an hour just because she listened and did not come across as brassy to a Texan.

Organizations should be concerned about their brand (case in point the Nestle Twitter debacle of this week) but never lose sight of the individuality that exists and what collectively makes the company's humanity factor greater and often more powerful to their buying audience. If you have "standard" emails, encourage a level of personalization that your reps can add their own stamp to - a phrase that they will most likely echo on a phone conversation will make that email "click" with that prospect. If you run webinars, inject personality and difference amongst your speakers, emcees, and panelists.

In tradeshows, go with the corporate shirts if you must - but allow funky jewelry, different options in some part of the attire, or heck, let them show a tattoo on their forearm! I had a memorable experience at a show a few years ago when a prospect that I had been trying to speak with the entire conference saw me start to break down my booth (it was the end of the show and he was wandering around) and he came over. Since the show floor had supposedly closed, I had run to the ladies room and changed out of my "tradeshow uniform" and as a result, some of my tats were showing.

He recognized me - and was interested in learning about what one of my tats translated to (they are in Gaelic). Slightly flustered, dusty and holding a banner stand case, we started talking. And kept talking. Out of all the leads from that show, he was the knockout. Now - maybe he was busy the whole show and didn't have time to speak to the other 10 people during three days.

But just maybe, he chose to speak with me because I was no longer a faceless, voiceless member of that company...instead, I was a real person who could still discuss the "company brand" but do so while not encased in a corporate shell.

So to quote my girl Cyndi Lauper:

I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

The KISS Question is "how have you let your true colors show in demand generation?"

11 March 2010

Using Fear (Badly)

Tonight, I saw a familiar company use blatant fear to instill more fear in the mind of their clients - for the sole purpose of selling more software. I remember the days of early Sox compliance that had "everyone going to jail and paying astronomical fines" - did some go to jail? Sure. But so did Little Wayne (recently). Does that make a compelling reason to spend a lot of money - without seeing the upfront ROI? Umm, no.

You may sell some seats because of fear. You may not. Those are the two options.

But you will sell long-standing relationship if you can be a partner to your client and help them achieve their business goals.

Business is Personal. Ask American Express business card users - they've been sold on the fact that AMEX will be there for them, no matter what. AMEX does not care if they are purchasing plane tickets, office supplies, or customer dinners. The mandate is that they will be there for that business user.

So instead of creating slick videos that cause more fear, how about picking up the phone and talking to your clients - and figuring out what they actually need?

Today's KISS question is: which company have you received the best customer/sales interactions from?