Our beloved b-to-b marketing climate changed over the past couple of years. And it started with the economic storm–bad things happened, and then bad things continued to happen.
I saw three significant events occur that created a natural disaster somewhat akin to a Cat. 4 hurricane:
1) The economy brought massive reductions in staff, especially marketing.
2) The wave of social media increased marketing departments’ tasks, leaving us with more to do and more to learn. But, we weren’t asked NOT to do any of the other aspects of marketing, demand gen, PR, etc. So not only did we have to learn something new, we needed to implement and leverage it while it was emerging and evolving (i.e. no good roadmap of best practices, etc.).
3) Partners and vendors trimmed marketing co-op budgets, which restricted marketing’s efforts to absorb and implement the increased workload through outsourcing, which is probably how we would have addressed the problem in #2 in the first place.
Less overall marketing dollars and less headcount + more workload = OMG I better find a better way.
So, after having this thought process, and realizing that I am still getting a lot of stuff done (although I take more work home these days), I thought about the few things that I had done successfully to counteract these bad events:
-In the book, “Zilch,” by Nancy Lublin, the author implores for-profit companies to behave more like not-for-profit companies in that we need to make “everyone do everything.” She refers to CEOs stuffing gift bags for events and office managers proofreading PSA announcements. So I tried to do more of that–you wouldn’t believe what a great proofreader our event coordinator is, and how well our receptionist can phrase a follow up letter to respondents from a customer survey. Besides that, we’ve tapped our in-house experts to write blogs for us, so I now have writers as well. Video? The VP of Sales’ office works great as a set for expert interviews and our in-house graphic designer happens to be a video whiz.
-I used the social media apps to be more effective. That’s not super easy, as there are like, thousands of them. Some I use are TweetDeck, to measure your Twitter online mentions, Google Alert to measure yours and others mentions, and Cotweet, to allow you to control your company master Twitter account but let others in. A new one we just demo’ed is GaggleAmp, which takes your social media program and makes is real easy for you to get your employees to use their followers/fans/friends to post all of the company stuff to, exponentially increasing the amount of your online reach. Worth a look. And instead of producing that resource draining monthly company newsletter for partners, we get them all to join a LinkedIn group and post content there. Cost=FREE.
-I also use online content hosting sites as a way to turn up the volume. I find sites like BlogNotions that act as libraries for blogs and they draw the crowds for us. We posted a blog article written several months ago by one of our in-house technology high frequency trading experts to a financial traders’ site at: The High Frequency Trading Review and in 24 hours he had 500 reads. With our old co-op funding from item #3 above, we might have paid $10k for an event that would draw one tenth of that number and pray that everyone came. Today, without as much funding at our disposal, this tactic cost us a fraction of that, and shows an exponentially better ROI. That’s the beauty of syndication. Use it.
There’s hope for us all, a lot of work to be done and plenty of marketing jobs to be had. That’s good news: you’ll be able to pay your mortgage, tuition, car insurance and still eat three times a day. I will leave you with this comforting statistic published recently that says the demand for marketers is at a four year high. At least you’ll have some shelter from the storm.