I have a hard cold truth for marketers: we are no longer in complete control of driving the lead funnel!
As recently as a couple of years ago, marketers were. The lead funnel was driven by our pushing messages out to our target audiences. We controlled the message, the media, and the timing. Social media has changed the dynamics. People are finding out about our companies and products before they even get on our radar screen. Some sources even estimate that 90% of the customer’s buying process takes place without the aid of a sales rep! This has huge implications for our marcom mix.
The upshot: we must help our companies become “findable” in a marketing landscape we no longer control.
Being “findable” is not just about having a decent website. It’s about having relevant, meaningful content available that addresses the topics buyers are interested in. And, it’s about having this content posted in places where buyers look. In fact, we shouldn’t be talking about social media as if it were another marketing silo. Instead, we should focus on “content marketing” — providing information and experiences that buyers are looking for. More than that, we can better establish and nurture a dialog with a prospect if we think about how to provide meaningful content that can be:
Captured = easy-to-read content posted in a friendly format that can be cut-n-pasted and downloaded, and . . .
Stored = easy to tag, sort, and file in electronic or printed format
Forwarded = easy to pass-along and share with others, both formally (i.e. cut-n-pasted into a presentation) and informally (i.e. sharing a link via Twitter)
Repurposed = content that can be annotated and adapted by the reader to fit their unique decision-making process
Including Social Media in a Marketing Blueprint
Integrating social media in the marcom mix
Today’s lead gen programs can produce higher ROI if they combine elements of both traditional “push” marketing (where you control the message) and “pull” marketing (where we offer information on non-corporate sites and we listen to and monitor the discussion around us). The example shown in the above illustration is based on a real marketing blueprint being executed today by a local hi-tech company.
There’s more to the story, of course. But this gives you a flavor on how and where social media is being used to complement traditional outbound marketing activities. How will all this play out? I’ll let you know when the campaign concludes in November!
How are you using social media? I’d love to hear your stories.