My self-appointed role is that of a filter, or more accurately, a translator. I spend hundreds of hours perusing the new techniques and tactics of SEM, SEO, Social media, lead generation, etc. Everything covered in business school, at least this time around, has led to hundreds of hours of free content. Each Webinar yields some great ideas, and maybe 10 minutes of information out of each one hour webinar are truly usable. True, most of the free content ends up being a sales pitch, and they only “give” you about 80% of the goodies for “free,” but if you listen to enough of the freebies and get 80% enough times, it becomes pretty easy to put the whole enchilada together. The 80/20 rule gets turned on its head.
That is at the niche that seems most interesting. I was a sole proprietor for 5 years, had my own “rep” firm. I know what it is like for these small business owners; therefore it is easy for them to work with me. I know what the modern day entrepreneur needs, but is too swamped to do for themselves. It is the old paradox from my days active in the travel industry: The people you need to the help, to save time, don’t have the time to speak with you.
Having worked a few years first, I did business school in the late 80’s. I have now taken a Masters in Internet Marketing in pursuit of the tools I found missing in my aging skill set. I have ended up overwhelmed. Between those organizations and LinkedIn groups probably 20 offers cross my screen for internet marketing webinars and white papers a week. I have listened, read, queried, searched, analyzed, synthesized, reduced, and produced. The latter two are by far the most important to me, and therefore to my clients.
In flipping “retro’s” or companies that employ mostly or only classic marketing tactics, two simple tasks stand out:
- Taking their websites from being libraries to being lead generators.
- Making them easier to find on the web. People who cannot find them have far more difficulty buying from them.
Although there are hundreds of thousands of marketing people, if not millions, who understand social media and at least that many who are active savants in classical marketing, the numbers of people who are actually able to integrate the two are far scarcer.
To have the education and practical experience to recognize what of the “old school” is still working requires more than just a gut feeling. Metrics and tracking for campaigns and projects has grown to the point that some of the ole “ouiji board” cognitions have taken on a more scientific approach.
What still lies uncharted are the things like “brand” advertising and what impact a generic brand recognition piece would have on specific ROI. We take the institutional ads, like “Milk – it does a body good” and try to place a value on it. Such things have always been subjective. We learned over the years the intrinsic value of such things, but could only quantify them with our dart board.
What digital media and dig marketing does is take away any of that ambiguity. Those of us who are still alive that are able to intuit the former, and embrace the latter, are few and far between.
When we were promoting the US soccer team with the logo in the bottom right corner of each ad, that there were great reasons to do so. The space was relatively cheap for the media, the demographic was calculated and the exposure sure to gain us “top of mind” share. What wasn’t known was how to justify that to the bean counters. We argued subjectively and the gurus got out the smoke and mirrors and it was eventually decided that x amount would be devoted to this kind of tribal sacrifice in the name of progress and evangelism, and that was just a necessary evil in the cost of doing business.
This knowledge and the grey art of its employ are by no means any less valid than they ever were. The marketing world is expanding, and it is not a zero sum game. There used to be the feeling that if you sold X then your competitor could only sell 100% – X or Y. Not true now, and arguably not for some time (if ever). Keynesian economics probably died before he did.
It’s not as if the average consumer of these economic times has unlimited disposable income. What they have is an un-imaginable source of opportunities, and therefore demand. This demand fuels the creative juices of the credit card companies and there is no end in sight. The opportunities for the older establishments, whether “mom and pop” or just a corporate travel management firm that has been in business for 28 years, are unlimited.
I, for one, am just happy to be able to have had teen-age daughters at precisely the right time. They informed me 3 years ago that they don’t do email anymore and prefer to be contacted trough FaceBook. Since that time I have gotten my FB account up to a couple of hundred friends, and my more professional platform “LinkedIn” is nearing 400. I thought if I ever got to 100 it would be amazing. In fact it IS truly amazing.
I have been teaching Social Media and LinkedIn classes for a bunch of marketing (and other) executives in a local “networking” forum for the past few months. It is incredible the prejudices and total ignorance that some of our finest minds still harbor when it comes to using these tools. Perhaps I have just been blessed (having ADHD) with enough of a lack of attention span that I think these new tools are just the “Bee’s Knees!”
These new tools are not going to go away. If you don’t, wont, or can’t embrace them – you just might!
Author: Steve Ulrich