Direct Marketing and SPAM: If you are not an approved IP address, you can’t message to this server

June 8th, 2011 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

Email email email Its amazing how many BtoB marketing communications, direct marketing,and demand generation firms claim that they do social marketing as well as the 50 other things that they drop on their list of “specialities”; “We do SEO, website building, marketing automation, demand generation, telemarketing, lead qualification, marketing analytics, web content development, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING.”

Ok, after reading 50 of these websites, I am not even sure what social media marketing is…. I gather that they think it is Linkedin, Twitter, and throw in Facebook for good measure. Oh, throw in videos, blogging, podcasts, and webinars to be safe… Oh, also throw in our standard suite of services and something about ROI. Then let’s connect to everyone like crazy on twitter and make sure that we blog on a regular basis, show up to a bunch of marketing events, and put out a couple of press releases.

In truth, most of them don’t really know how to create inbound lead generation from social marketing. It isn’t easy, actually in many ways much harder than traditional marketing. It is a lot easier to load up a database, create a newsletter, and watch the “opens” rate and the hits to the websites. Oh, and add the ubiquitous, connect to us on (pick your platform) widget at the bottom next to the “do not contact” link.

But the reality is that “presence” is not the same as marketing. The same way that “connection” is not “relationship” or “inquiry” is not a “qualified lead.” Just because you spew it onto the web doesn’t mean that it is effective. Buyers are smarter than that. Think about yourself and something that you purchased lately. You did your homework, ignored the self-promotion crap and went directly to the peer and expert reviews that actually helped you make a buying decision.

The reality is that if you don’t know where you are going, it is hard to get there. Really bad paraphrasing, but it is true in social. There is so much noise and so much junk out there that buyers are developing a “bunker mentality” towards marketing. Just because you can click a button and hit 100,000 people doesn’t make it attractive to me as a buyer. In fact, you are probably the 10th spam message that I have received today alone.

I know folks who won’t answer their phone and delete work vociemail messages. If you don’t know their cellphone or email address, they won’t talk to you. It is kinda like the network security model that says if you aren’t an approved IP address, you can’t message to this server.

Social Target Marketing is about understanding the buyers motivations, anticipating the decision making path, identifying the trusted influencers along the way, figuring out where they will switch from research to shopping, and making your company the easiest solution to do business with. They are developing a very defined purchase path and anything that is outside of it is blocked as SPAM. This is the only way that they can deal with the volume of extraneous messages that are hitting them.

I had a client who said I want to target Fortune 500 CIOs. I’m like “really?” Who doesn’t in Technology? Their gatekeepers have gatekeepers. You can’t reach them by phone, email is screened by assistants, calendars managed, even internal employees have to go through procedures to reach them as they are in meetings most of the day. Most even hide their Linkedin accounts. Could you imagine if they openend themselves up for contact by every vendor, potential job candidate, partner, customer, etc?

My questions is what’s in it for them? Why should they spend time with you versus everything else going on in their lives? It is the difference between Opportunity Value versus Opportunity Costs. Value has to be higher than costs; the costs being attention, time, rejection, financial, risks, etc.

Now, we found a group of influencers who were involved in the decision making process upstream to their offering’s decision to our align our client’s offering as an adjunct to that earlier decision. We then built a value add for the influencers to encourage them to make introductions indirectly into the decision making process.

I use the shooting pool analogy for Target Marketing within Complex Sales; you can do the rock ‘em model of randomly hitting the cue ball as hard as possible and letting the balls fly, you can bank off another ball, or do what professionals do (which is calculate your shot, leverage geometry and angles, bank off the sides, and control your shot) to set up the next shot and play defense.

In that case, we banked it off one of the sides and another ball. In the case of the Social Executive Council, we have about a third of the members are CIOs or direct reports to them. We built a linkedin group, but created a compelling engagement that CIOs would want to participate as it added direct value to their organizations in an area that they are really interested and concerned about. We then leveraged their peer networks to allow word-of-mouth invitations to participate. CIOs will leave their bunkers for the right reason and with assurances that they won’t be harrassed.

The point is that social requires that level of understanding of motivation and behaviors that other forms of direct marketing don’t; hence why these firms still apply the same broadcast messaging models over social and measure success based upon awareness. Same reason why they tell you that “ROI can’t be measured in social” or should be about presence.

In our world, social should be measured as to the quality of leads and cost of acquisition, as well as, managed in the same processes as other lead management channels. For us, social isn’t an afterthought or a check box, but our core business. We think that you have to have that level of professional dedication to get the caliber of results our clients demand.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at www.socialgastronomy.com/blog. For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/rosenhaft or contact him directly at mrosenhaft@socialgastronomy.com.

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