Archive for October, 2013

Marketing is like Football

Marketing is like football. (Note: this is American football I’m talking about; not FIFA football). At least, football before the spread or Air Raid offenses of Texas Tech and Oregon became so popular.

Back in the days when a game in which an NCAA quarterback passed for over 300 yards was a memorable occasion (now that threshold is 500+), there was a saying that you ran to set up the pass.

By gaining yards successfully on the ground, you forced the defense to pinch in to increase its chances of stopping the next running play. Linebackers would play closer to the defensive linemen. Safeties and corners would play shallower so they could be closer to the running backs if they were successful getting past the line of scrimmage to the level of the linebackers (the so-called second level). Once the defense begins playing closer to the line of scrimmage, it provides more space to throw the ball. That’s how a successful ground game increases the chances of success through the air.

What’s Marketing Got to Do With Football?

Instead of running to set up the pass, your marketing helps to set up sales. It’s something far too many companies overlook. Without marketing, you can sell. Sure you can. But a sales process unsupported by a marketing program will be longer, more difficult, more expensive, require more skilled sales personnel, and most likely produce far less.

Market then Sell
You can play football and hardly ever pass. Some teams try that. And you can try to sell your product, service, or app without marketing. Some companies do that. They cold call and pitch and push prospects without having invested anything in marketing. Neither scenario is optimized for success.

You need marketing to sell. You need to shape the opinions of others before you engage in one-to-one sales contact. You need a good website. You need customer testimonials. You need to demonstrate whatever you’re selling. You need to present your product to people whose problems you can solve. You need to find customers and nurture them into interested prospects (often referred to as a Marketing Qualified Lead). You need to produce sales tools for the sales force. You need to produce FAQs and reseller kits if you use a channel. All of this is marketing.

Marketing is Like Football
Good marketing makes sales so much easier. Just as an effective ground game makes passing yards easier to come-by. Those teams that pass way more than run? Well, Texas Tech has probably led the nation in passing for at least ten years and has never won anything of note.

Lead Gen Gone Wild at Tech Target

Business media publisher TechTarget is a great example of how marketers can get the wrong idea when someone opts-in to their offer. It’s a great example of Lead Gen Gone Wild.

No One Does Spam Like TechTarget
Here’s the deal. TechTarget is a pretty big online media publisher. According to its Wikipedia entry, “TechTarget.com is an online IT media related firm. It runs various online review sites, such as TechnologyGuide.com.”

It publishes a lot of niche content sites on subjects like IT security and compliance.
I registered two weeks ago at one of the Tech Target sites, because I wanted to read a compliance white paper. If you’re in business or IT marketing, you’ve probably done this dozens of times.

The White Paper is one of the most common lead generation tactics you can do in B2B marketing. The sequence for the vendor goes like this: create and promote content, promote offer, take registrations, then use email marketing (less commonly telesales) to follow-up and develop and qualify leads. The end-user experience is this: You provide your name and contact info, download some kind of PDF, and expect to receive some email follow-up.

What was different this time was the consequence of opting-in.

Lead Gen Gone Wild: Here’s the Proof
I used my Yahoo! email address when I registered. A week after downloading my white paper, this is what my in-box looked like. Can you say spam?

Tech Target Spam

Just Because Your Terms of Services Say You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Ten emails!

Yes, I know there are preferences and subscription options but why put the onus on the consumer to struggle under the weight and responsibility of having to uncheck a bunch of boxes I never checked in the first place. Yes, I know there’s a Terms of Service agreement I probably agreed to, but Tech Target’s lead gen team needs to understand that just because they can spam me and inundate my in-box doesn’t mean they should.

Here’s what TechTarget needs to understand about lead generation, permission marketing and email marketing. Take. It. Slowly.

Opting-in to one or two newsletters doesn’t automatically mean I’m opting into everything else your company produces in the category. Ten emails in one day? Excuse my French “but après la registration, la deluge.” I may have opted in, but I certainly didn’t do it consciously.

If you produce a lot more media, as TechTarget does, don’t take it for granted that I want to receive it.

What am I left with? Not a lot of warm and fuzzies for TechTarget. It’s been like watching a friend go on a date on a Friday with someone, fall madly for them, and smother them with attention (flowers, chocolates, texts, and Dallas Cowboy tickets) at work all day Monday.

TechTarget would be better off growing the relationship and using some data mining (open rates, for example?) to introduce me to other content, rather than giving me the digital publishing/media version of foie gras force feeding. TechTarget’s spam assault just left a bad taste in my mouth.