Archive for May, 2011

The CMO’s Four Envelopes

May 18th, 2011

There is an old joke about CEOs, this is the CMO version…

A newly hired CMO arrives on the first day to find four numbered envelopes on the desk with a note that says “open in case of emergency” left by the last position holder. Bizarre, but soon forgotten in the hum of the first day and subsequently buried in the piles of stuff over the following months. Those months are a blur of activity, getting up to speed, assessing the team, evaluating the activities, working with the executive team, etc.

After a few more months, the honeymoon period wanes as things start to solidify and the CMO begins to feel the pressure to produce immediate results. Sales have been flagging, sales is complaining, the board is restless, and the CEO is less patient. The CMO remembers the envelopes and finds them buried under stacks of papers on the shelf.  Now, unsure that this point constitutes an emergency, but the CMO remembers the grilling in the last senior management meeting and thinks “now or never”. Upon opening, there is a single line, “Fire the Agency and Rebrand”.

Continue reading “The CMO’s Four Envelopes” »

Marketing is Like Commercial Fishing

May 18th, 2011

We are facing a major challenge in marketing with the over-automation of market communications. Let me explain with an analogy about Commercial Fishing .

 Most marketing organizations don’t feel comfortable deep sea fishing. Too expensive, too resource intensive, and too much risk. They tend to stick closer to shore and troll the bay. It is a lot easier to crisscross the bay with nets and pluck out the fish.  Doesn’t require a real understanding of how fish think or even what bait would be used to lure them. We just pluck out our net and they pop into the net.

 The challenge is that their competitors do the same. When markets are new, there is plenty of fish for everyone. We all go out together in fishing fleets (trade-shows) and there is a collegial atmosphere. Plenty for everyone, why get testy? Except as markets mature, the amount of fish in the bay is reduced and all of a sudden tempers flare, competition becomes more intense, the activity becomes more intense, and the fear creeps in around making sure we can reach out limit. What if we don’t hit our numbers? What if our hold is half-full?
Continue reading “Marketing is Like Commercial Fishing” »

Complexities of Social Target Marketing and Network Selling

May 3rd, 2011

Technical sales and business development seems to be getting harder for sales and marketing organizations. BtoB, industrial, engineering, technology, complexity, R&D, etc . At the end of the day, an organizational sale is a technical buyer, influencer committee, and an economic buyer.

Traditional models of lead generation are struggling to reach and engage with complex organizational sales. More senior executives are screening their access from sales people, tuning out email marketing, and ignoring most other forms of advertising. Trade shows and conferences have been in steady decline well before the recession took hold.

On the other hand, we see a huge upside for social media as a means of targeting and building relationships with complex organizational purchase decision makers and influencer teams. The more complex, technical, price tag all the better.
Continue reading “Complexities of Social Target Marketing and Network Selling” »