What can Obama teach us b2b marketers? I was recently in a debate with a friend about Obama's marketing efforts. He had read an article about how the campaign was based on three simple tenants: Simplicity, Consistency and Relevance. I started exploring how the same three guidelines can be applied to marketing, especially as it pertains to demand generation. The examples I used were Cold Calling and Blog Marketing.
Blog Marketing - Writing a blog for business purposes isn't just a process of putting thoughts on the internet. It's about branding, educating the market, and thought leadership. It's about delivering messages that inspire conversation and allows readers to inform themselves and if interested, engage.
- Don't overwhelm a blog topic. Keep it simple. Provide basic information to open the knowledge share, provide links to other information, and keep it short enough that someone can scan it and/or absorb it at the pace they desire. Whitepapers and analyst reports are for lengthy detail.
- Be consistent about delivering content and messaging and presence. There is nothing worse than following someone's blog for months and then seeing it go blank for weeks. Or to see the shift from "Web 2.0" to "Social Media" overnight. Stay consistent, or at least emerge and grow with consistency.
- Stay on topic and be relevant. Stick with what you know. It is debatable whether a blogger should build some level of personal brand with off-topic content. But maybe put a relevant twist to it. For example, I'm passionate about Family and living a Green lifestyle, so I tie it into a post here and there, such as this article on Market Research, or this one on Father's Day.
Cold Calling - delivering a message to someone in a cold call is a process. Many people misunderstand the process of a cold call and lose the attention of the prospect. The same three pillars apply.
- First, it's not that the lead is cold, it's that you are catching the prospect "cold". You can take control of the call at that point. How do you take control? You only have 30 seconds to keep them from hanging up. Keep your opening simple. Enough said.
- The next 30 seconds allow you to continue to the real pitch. So make that 30 seconds relevant to what a prospect wants to hear. If you are calling to tell a CTO how your security software will help comply with Sarbanes Oxley, say that along with why they would want to continue the call. Don't bother with "How are you today?" (do you really care?) or "We're a leader in security software" (do they believe you?). Imagine Barack opening with "I'm the candidate everyone is voting for" (not interested?).
- Lastly, if you've gotten this far, then have the conversation, and stay consistent with your objective. If you are calling a C-level executive to set an appointment, then keep coming back to the appointment. If you are calling to invite the prospect to an event, keep inviting them. Don't waste time on the phone telling them how good the event will be. Just give them relevant info, consistently remind them why you are calling (appointment or invite) and let them decide. Barack didn't sell us, he informed us and we made decisions.
The world has changed. Buyers view the buying process in a different way. They are more sophisticated. They make decisions differently. They listen to their peers and the industry more than they used to. Help them through this process by giving them what they need and want. They will reach out to you, and they will be receptive.