Content for lead generation or to get media coverage?

Lee Odden in Online Marketing Blog has a interesting view on content for the right audience.
Content can be for lead generation, but also for industry analysts, journalists and bloggers.

Content for lead generation

The lead generation content is a direct approach to get visitors that buy.
This is the most commonly use of content and SEO.
That’s straight forward.

Content for getting media coverage

Whereas the second is indirect: getting interest from people in the media, who will hopefully broadcast your information further than your reach.
This is not evident as it is a multiple stage process – involving several people in case of a journalist:
1) The journalist or blogger needs to find your content
2) He need to pay attention and find it interesting enough
3) He needs to write about it
4a) A blogger can decide to post it whenever he wants.
4b) A journalist needs to get approved by the editor: one decision maker (or hurdle) more

Steven Jobs of Apple is good at this: getting media coverage.
He saves Apple millions of advertising whenever he announces a new product or service.

Media coverage valuation

Although writing content for getting media coverage is less used, good media coverage can have the same value as an advertising campaign.
Example:
The Time Magazine Rates for 4-color ad space:
Page $ 255,840
Spread $ 511,680
$51 per 1,000 potential viewers.
The valuations of media coverage can be from $2,000 to $20,000.
Thus getting bloggers and journalists to visit, read and then write about your products, solutions or company has a high value.

What has the highest value?
- Lead generation
- Media coverage
You need to evaluate this for your company.

Is your content being read by the right audience?

In order to know if your content is getting the right audience, you need to know who is reading your articles, web pages and blog posts.
You need to identify and to measure.
That can only be achieved by knowing who is visiting your website.
You cannot ask people to let you know. A web service is that reveals the company names of the visitors is required.
This will allow you to categorize your visitors:
- Residential Internet surfers: they still can be a journalist or blogger at home
- Companies in Media
- Companies not in Media – can be potential customers, financial institutions, …
Once you can categorize you can count.
Not only count the number of visits or the number of unique visitors by company, but also the pages visited and the duration of page views.

Still remains the problem of journalists using their home Internet connection.
If you would be able to generate a comment or an email reply from them, the changes of identifying the journalist of blogger at home increase significantly.

Such a web service is provided by LEADSExplorer.

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Advertising decrease due to credit crunch or search engines?

Recession always brings decrease in advertising

In the current recession there is the typical reaction by the decrease in spending on advertising.
Tim Bradshaw of The Financial Times reports on the warning from ITV (UK television) concerning the 20% less September advertising bookings, whereas BSkyB in the same market expects a decline of 7-8 per cent in advertising revenue.
Apparently the credit crunch is causing budgets to be pulled.

Although this is B2C advertising, the same is also happening in B2B advertising.

Credit crunch or a long term change?

The question is this due to the credit crunch that budgets are pulled?
Or is there a long term change going on?

Credit crunch as advertising decrease?
If it is the credit crunch then there are several possible reasons:
- Advertising doesn’t really work as Ducan Brown of Influencer50 suggests.
   If advertising would be effective, one would net cut on something that brings revenue
- Cutting in an external expense like advertising is less painful than cutting costs internal as said by Tim Anderson
- Expenses with an uncertain or difficult to measure return are being cut.
   As the effectiveness of advertising is hard to measure, eliminating can easily be justified.

Search engines: the reason for long term advertising decrease?

However if there is a long term change going on, the problems for the advertising market will stretch long beyond the credit crunch era.
The change can be due to the Internet and the search engines:
- People and business use search engines to quickly and effectively find information.
- We live in the on demand era of now. Thus information needs to be on demand too.
   Clicking on advertising is occasional and not when required.
   Whereas searching on Google is at the moment the need is there.
- Advertising is not on demand – certainly printed advertising.
- Timing of the occurrence of the demand and the advertising publication is likely to be out of synch.

Blurred by the credit crunch?

Thus the question is:
Is our vision currently blurred by the credit crunch and a long term change is happening in advertising?
Is advertising getting ruled out by on demand inquiries and obtaining immediate information?

The change: Search engines turning the Internet into a 24×7 trade show

In any case there is a change going on as the search engines have turned the Internet in a 24 x 7 worldwide trade show. Compared to 5 years ago, people do use the Internet much more, thus advertising should have become less effective in relation to the total number of leads generated.

Answers we would like to hear from you:

- Why did you or your company place advertisements previously?
   Advertising for getting leads or for other reasons like: image, supporting initiatives, getting reviewed?
- Do you still place the same amount of advertisements?
   Same – More – Less – Stopped
- What brings the most leads or inquiries?
   Telephone, email, post, fax, trade shows, webinars, or conferences?
- What is the main origin of their inquiries?
   Advertising, Internet search, Internet reference (website), email campaign, direct mailing, …

Tell us about these matters in your company or your experience.

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How is your B2B blog: Results or waste? Dull or Entertain?

Hype 2006 for B2B blogging

During the hype in 2006, many B2B businesses started corporate B2B blogging.
In 2007 their early enthusiasm went away, due to the low number of readers and the effort it takes.
Thus one after the other gave up: the number of B2B blogs has decreased significantly.
Currently marketers admit that blogging is failing to deliver the expected results.

Forrester Research B2B blog survey

A survey has been done by Forrester Research of 198 B2B marketing professionals in firms ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion and blogs from 90 Fortune 500 and high technology companies.

- Most corporate blogs are dull and don’t stimulate discussion
- Only 74% of B2B blogs receive a minimum of commentary or track backs
- 56% of blogs examined simply regurgitate company news or executive views
- Not establishing thought leadership with deep, specific knowledge of a particular topic.

According to Laura Ramos following blog strategies could produce community marketing value:
- Start a conversation, don’t be a conversation spoiler
- Write entertaining, easy to digest and to use blog content
- Connecting the dots between events and community involvement
- Get thought leaders invited, however coach them on community etiquette

Maybe B2B companies should give blogging a second change.

The LEADSExplorer Blog

Our experience:
1) The blog posts do not always draw the right audience
As we can identify the companies visiting/reading the blog, we know if they could be potential customers or not.
In many cases they are not.

2) Many people read the blog post
However they leave the website without being interested in other pages of our LEADSExplorer solution.

3) Spam comments
90% of all received comments are spam

4) Advertising comments
35% of comments posted are advertising.
Still a minority of these “comment-adverters” takes the effort to relate to the blog post.

5) Real blog comments
Some people write comments without obvious advertising purposes.

Keep blogging or not?

Are you still blogging for your company?
- If so let us know. What are your experiences?
- If not, why did you stop? Could you consider to start over again? What would you change?

In any case this post has missed to be entertaining.
Let’s hope it starts a conversation:
How do you do with your B2B blog?

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Can web services startups do without a VC?

No great startup month

Apparently there are no interesting startups this summer month (of 2008) as Scobleizer “complains” in his blog post.

This view is shared and explained by Rafe Needleman of CNET in his remarks:
1) There are 2 important events coming up (DemoFall and TechCrunch50), that restrict entrepreneurs from launching.
These events holds the best companies in PR hell, as they can’t talk to the press if they want a shot at being on stage at either of these events (which does bring PR and venture capital attention).

2) Developing and launching a web service has become more accessible than before at a much lover cost.

3) VC’s are putting money in solutions that are expensive to build as the low budget startups don’t need them and avoid them. These high investment risks will not necessarily bring a good return.
Expensive solutions like renewable energy, transportation, health care.

4) As it is easier to get funding for bad ideas, there is less pressure to define great products.

VC’s becoming obsolete for web services?

Maybe web service startups are no longer interested in VC’s for different reasons:
- The Internet can open access to wide audience without high marketing expenses.
- Viral marketing can work in some cases.
- Content rules on the Internet: that can be written with much effort by the founders or by spending VC money.
- In B2B to marketing costs are less than in B2C.
Maybe VC’s are becoming obsolete for web services and web things?

What is the added value of a VC in web services?

Can a VC bring:
- Marketing: Leads?
- Sales: customers? Probably not or very limited (their other investment companies)
- Technology access? Maybe, maybe not.
- Customer support? Not.
- Management experience access and advice? Probably.
- Operational experience? Yes for the non-technical operations
- General & Administration? Yes, but these functions you hire externally.
- Overhead? VC can create additional overhead.

How about your startup?

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The Buyer knows more than the Sales rep.

Craving knowledge by the probable purchaser

In these days where information on companies, products and solutions is available by just launching a query or is being brought at your attention by a web service, the days are over of the Salesman knowing more than the probable purchaser.

The buyer is interested in his problem, thus has investigated and evaluated many possibilities and options provided by the market, specifically concerning his problem.
Thus in a short amount of time the buyer becomes an expert in this particular field of solutions. He becomes very knowledgeable by craving knowledge on the Internet.

Sales rep. lagging behind

The Salesman however has a several solutions or products able to solve a multitude of problems – sometimes even in different fields of business.
His knowledge will be lesser than that of the lead who has been investigating the Internet and the competitors.

Formerly a Salesman could get away and get the contract signed with a good sounding explication as knowledge was:
- Hard to obtain.
- The Sales rep. was one of the main sources

However, in the era of the Internet he has to be careful whatever he tells, as the buyer could already know about it.
So times have changed. Sales rep. needs to adapt new technology.

Both could/should investigate

If the customer has become more knowledgeable about products, solutions and vendor companies at the same time the Salesman can be better informed about the company of the potential customer.
- The Internet as a data source concerning the company, market, management and the contact.
- The website visit data gives insight to the Sales rep. about what the visitors of this company have been doing.

These are part of the functionalities provided by LEADExplorer for the Sales rep. in order to be better prepared.

Thus both parties can have enhanced their knowledge using technology.

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The carrot versus the journey – about life and selling

School: the first carrot

At the start of school they tell you:
Do well in school en then you will be have a great future ahead of you.
So you work hard until you finish school.

Work: more carrots

After finishing school:
You go to work and they promise you work hard and you will have a big career.
So you work hard and the carrot gets bigger and bigger.

Some people never catch the carrot, others do.
Those who obtained the carrot or ‘arrived at the top’ should question themselves:
- Are they happy or better off after all these years of working?
- What’s next as there is no more carrot? (retirement?)

The journey is more important

Maybe life is about the journey, not about running after the ever changing and growing carrot that hangs ever further away.

This writing was inspired by this video made by FurryCarlos Production (Trey Parker and Matt Stone – South Park), who have brought to life the teachings of philosopher Alan Watts, telling about life by comparing Music and Life.

It is not the last note of the music, but the entire music composition.
It is the journey of life that is important.
Enjoy the journey, you will enjoy life.

Sales and the journey

If you are in Sales, look beyond the carrots: the next closing, your commission or becoming the VP of Sales in order to enjoy life.
The joy is in the Sales process.
Enjoy your sales life by the many different people you meet. Think and enjoy about the chance to learn to know many different people in many countries. This makes your journey more interesting and richer compared to most other people.
It is a completely different journey than having a “nine to five job”, within the same office or production environment with the same people for many years.
Being in Sales is not just about the carrot or the next carrot.

The journey between leads and closing of sales

Don’t forget: although the journey is to be enjoyed, the closing is required to keep the journey going on. As well as finding new leads for the next closing of sales.

Tell us about your journey between lead generation and closing.

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Viral marketing in B2B requires emotion too! (Watch videos)

Viral marketing can be very powerful but you need to get it right which is only possible by involving emotion. People on pass on viral messages, when they are connected emotionally.

Maki on DoshDosh.com references a study of 2007 by the Indiana University that defines 6 types of emotion that can work:
1 Surprise: the first emotion
2 Joy for life enhancement products
3 Sadness for immediate response
4 Anger for immediate reaction to perceived injustices
5 Fear for products or solutions that solve the fear-causing problem
6 Disgust for young males

Would viral marketing also work in B2B?

Is there emotion in B2B?
Probably as B2B Marketing is about people.
People buy, not companies.
The decision makers are people too, thus the same rule of emotion applies.

With the abundance of information and content, your viral campaign needs to be remarked in order to be passed on. There is nothing better than emotion.

Emotion: Surprise

Google Maps, Earth and Apps were all surprises as they came for free.
Although this seems to be aimed mainly at consumers, actually Google sells to business: their advertising.

The breakup is remarkable:

One wouldn’t expect this was from Microsoft, which was a part of the surprise of this “Sex in the City” type of video.

Emotion: Joy

SAP started their tagline in 2000: “Enjoy SAP“.
However we don’t know if anyone ever enjoyed SAP, besides the consultants.
And it didn’t go viral.

Still joy will exist within B2B, like the joy of paying less for more with every purchase.

Or the joy of having your small business:

By Mastercard

Emotion: Sadness

Probably less applicable, but could happen when a good product is no longer supported. This would work against the decision made by your company.
This one has a sad feeling (by the music) and is funny at the same time.

From Epuron

Emotion: Anger

Smaller companies have used this in the role of the underdog
Like Apple against IBM:

This was long before videos could spread over the Internet. Still everybody spoke about the “Big Brother” video.

Emotion: Fear

Fear is everywhere in B2B: from security to continuity
Fear is probably the most present in B2B

From TrendMicro

Emotion: Disgust

People are disgusted about spam, but that could also work against your viral campaign.
If you known one in this category please tell us about.

No emotion: but a strong message

This seems to work too, but less evident to pass on to others.

This sad sounding video, has a clear statement you will remember:

Form http://nomoreabandonedcarts.com/ by Verisign.

Just nice graphics, but compelling to their target:

By NetQoS.

What about your B2B campaign?

Would you be able to set up a viral campaign based upon surprise, joy, sadness, anger or disgust?

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