Recap: LinkedIn for Business Event with Jason
Jue, CMO, Vocus
I serve as the chair for
the Technology Marketing Alliance, a
members-only, local technology group for senior marketers in the region. Every
quarter we bring in amazing speakers to share best practices with our members,
and we've heard from the likes of David Meerman Scott, Pragmatic Marketing, Alan Kelly, Joe Pulizzi,
Last week's event didn't disappoint, as we invited Jason Jue,
CMO for Vocus to share his experience as a power
user of LinkedIn for not only growing his own
professional network, but also for driving leads and sales opportunities in his
current company, Vocus, and previous company, Rackspace.
Some key takeaways:
Accuracy of data: An obvious point, but not always appreciated: LinkedIn is the best repository for accessing accurate names, titles, roles and contact
information for prospects. If you leverage the information in LinkedIn and
manage your connections and the connections of those in your company, you have
a powerful tool to drive leads.
Invest your time: Smart sales people know how to monitor
their prospects and reach out when the time is right. The best sales reps in
his companies are spending up to 70% of their time in LinkedIn. Jason noted
that he didn’t update his profile on LinkedIn right away when he changed
companies. But the minute he did, he found he got an influx of telemarketing
Drive testimonials: He suggests leveraging the “recommendations” section as
a way to showcase customer testimonials without having to go through a possibly
painful process of getting approvals through legal. Suggest to customers to
write a recommendation for the company, which will follow that person wherever
they may go.
Use LinkedIn to Qualify: we talked a lot about “scoring” and qualifying leads:
one member explained how they triangulate within LinkedIn and other company
members to determine who the decision maker truly is. If he got an inbound lead
from IT, for example, the technical decision maker, he was able to figure out
who the business decision maker was and reach out to engage at the same time.
Alignment with sales and marketing: Jason believes its marketing’s job to
help identify prospects, triangulate who the key people are within those
prospects, score them, and ensure that sales people are trained on how to
leverage this powerful tool. By working together, they can better identify, tag
and score accounts to make the most of targeting enterprise businesses.
Participation in groups: He was able to offer incentives, links
to good content, etc., through appropriate LinkedIn Groups for his business,
assuming they weren’t too salesy. It has to be authentic and offer value, but
it’s still a great way to connect.
Research and listening tool: Jason talked about the huge advantage
for marketers to use LinkedIn as a listening source and as a place to conduct
research on what trends are important, what “words” are people using to
describe their problem. He believes it’s overlooked as a premier listening
tool. He believes it may actually be too late to start a group of your own, but
still, great information can come from joining other groups.
Be creative: Jason talked about how he used a avatar
of sorts, to connect his team together so it would increase the access of the
marketing and sales teams to potential prospects. All employees connect into FanatiGuy,
and then it is easier to see who’s connected to whom when doing sales
qualification or lead prospecting.
Lead conversion through advertising: Jason, alongside a couple of members,
talked about the success rates of advertising against certain keywords in
profiles and company names. For example, if your target customer is a
CISO-level person, anyone with that title in their profile could be served the
ad, directing them to an appropriate landing page that you’ve designed. It can
be regionally-based, and as specific as you want it. The members who had
invested in this B2B advertising method talked about higher cost of
acquisition, but experienced significantly higher conversion.
In the end, he noted that while it is suited well for larger
companies given the reach the internal employees can have and leverage, it does
also place smaller companies on a level playing field since they can have
access to all the same information. It’s mostly about mining it correctly,
being diligent about participating and engaging, and getting ahead of the
Thanks Jason for your contribution!
HubSpot’s Brian Halligan gives marketers a good-natured slap in the face
By Bob London, President of London, Ink
Brian Halligan is CEO of HubSpot, and he has biz cred. He’s one of the current “it guys” of the start-up world, and it’s hard to ignore his pitch after you hear how his company is crushing it.
HubSpot, an online software company that “gives (businesses) all the tools you need to make marketing that people will actually love,” has seen revenues grow more than 6,000% since 2007. HubSpot is the second fastest growing software company on the widely admired Inc. 500 list. The company has raised money from, among others, Google Ventures and Salesforce.com.
Last night, while in town to attend the Inc. 500 gala, Halligan spoke at an event sponsored by the Technology Marketing Alliance (on whose board I sit) and FounderCorps at the Deloitte Executive Briefing Center in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Halligan raved about the future of marketing, and he is a stitch: at one point he bent over and mimed the act of shoveling in order to demonstrate how old school marketers (including most of the audience) are just dumping their freshly minted VC investments into a furnace—essentially renting rather than owning their own marketing assets.
What marketers should focus on, according to Halligan, is getting found. How do you get found? Here’s his prescription:
- Have a smart web site that personalizes the experience based on the visitors.
- Create a blog and use it and your site to publish a high volume of content to drive visitors, generate inbound links and improve your SEO.
- Syndicate that content around the web to various high-traffic sites and channels (i.e. SlideShare, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
- Use real words and thoughts instead of business-speak.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Hire young, hungry and cheap digital citizens.
- Measure and analyze everything and refine consistently.
Stephanie Wonderlick of SpeakerBox PR, which put together the event, encapsulated Halligan’s points in this blog post.
Woven into almost every part of his pitch is that the era of money-wasting marketing dinosaurs is over. Marketers need to stop using the traditional marketing playbook, which includes buying lists, spamming them, cold calling your brains out and going to tradeshows.
(By the way, Halligan told us that HubSpot just spent $700,000 to sponsor Salesforce.com’s DreamForce event and that if the ROI doesn’t prove its value they will not do that again.)
In general terms, Halligan is spot on. The typical marketing approach needs to be reinvented. His pitch is reminiscent of the seminal 2008 New Yorker article by Ken Auletta, which chronicled the meeting between Google’s co-founders and Mel Karmazin, an old-line broadcast ad sales guy who was then CEO of Viacom. Here’s part of their exchange:
“You buy a commercial on the Super Bowl, you’re going to pay two and a half million dollars for the spot,” Karmazin told the Google team. “I have no idea if it’s going to work. You pay your money, you take your chances.” To turn this lucrative system over to a mechanized auction posed a serious threat. “I want a salesperson in the process, taking that buyer out for drinks, getting an order he shouldn’t have gotten.”
(Larry) Page and (Sergey) Brin thought Karmazin’s method manipulated emotions and cheated advertisers. Just as egregious, it wasn’t measurable and was therefore inefficient. They were convinced that they could engineer a better system.
Karmazin looked at his Google hosts and proclaimed, only half in jest, “You’re f@%ing with the magic!”
So Halligan and HubSpot are clearly on to something big and game-changing. The cringes and nervous laughs from last night’s audience indicates the type of old vs. new tension that usually precedes a tectonic shift.
But his evangelistic fervor seemed to suggest that the marketing dinosaurs who are doing it all wrong today have only a few short moments left on earth. They need to evolve now. Today. Yesterday. Run out and re-staff your marketing departments with fresh-faced, recently graduated digital natives who shun email, hate rules and love Wilco. Turn them loose on the web and don’t edit them too much, if at all. Stop wasting money on trying to find your audience; let them find you.
This is the right idea, and hopefully the companies that are buying (actually renting) HubSpot’s software will adopt Halligan’s Inbound Marketing strategies to make the software live up to its potential. Then the world can see proof that the vision is taking place now—not in ten years.
But there is the question of timing. How quickly will or should the marketing world evolve. It is already unrecognizable from just five or certainly 15 years ago. How soon and how fully will the HubSpot view of the world take hold?
As the event ended, the over-riding feeling I was left with was one of feeling refreshed. Marketers should appreciate Halligan’s good-natured slap in the face. To dismiss his point is to risk becoming extinct—if not next year then perhaps the year after.
Bob London is President of London, Ink, a marketing and communications consulting firm based in the Washington, DC area. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. His business humor writing, Bobservations, can be seen at www.bob-servations.com and is now a monthly column in SmartCEO DCmagazine (www.smartceo.com).
I have found that, when it comes to marketing
automation platforms, if a user/marketer sees an interesting (potentially
powerful) capability, they assume it is a benefit.
For example, just because a marketer knows I was on his software
company’s web site yesterday and visited the pricing page, is it a
benefit to me to get an email from him or a sales person saying,
Bob, I noticed you were on our pricing page yesterday. Can I answer any
questions for you?”
No, of course this isn’t a benefit to me,
yet that is exactly what happened.
Whether the email I received was automated (which
would be a big policy mistake) or one-off (poor judgement), it was not a value
add to me, in fact, it was a big turnoff. Yet the sales person or marketer
assumed that because he/she had the capability, they should use it.
There is a really interesting footnote to this
story: the software company in the anecdote above is a top 3
provider of marketing automation software. So much for using their own best
Bob London is President of London,
Ink, a marketing and communications consulting firm based in the Washington,
DC area. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bob London
The lessons learned from my 9-year tenure at MCI–2 in sales, 7 in advertising/marketing–are many.
As an aside, I recently had the pleasure of explaining what MCI was to a Gen-Y (or perhaps Gen-Z or AAA or whatever comes next) business professional who had never heard of the company–and perhaps had never used a landline.
One of my favorite MCI lessons, which I still use with clients today, was “management by press release.” I call it the “Headline Test.” When developing a new product, offer, line of business, start-up company, or even refining an existing offering, try writing the press release FIRST. This process will force you to take a market-focused view at the beginning of the product development cycle, which achieves several important benefits:
- Requires you to crisply articulate the market problem you are solving, which I call the Customer Elevator Rant (i.e. “To address the rising challenge of XXXXXX in the XXXXX marketplace, NewCo today announced…”)
- Forces you to think about and define the high level messaging and distill it into succinct language (i.e. the headline, subhead and lead paragraph). (i.e. NewCo today announced the first XXXXXX product that delivers XXXXXX”)
- Enables you to clarify the positioning of the product or business vs. competitors, substitutes and alternatives in the marketplace. (i.e. “Unlike other products, NewCo’s solution enables…”)
- Perhaps most importantly, the Headline Test is a tool for eliciting feedback and, ultimately, gaining consensus among the executive team–based on their understanding of the market, research, customer interviews, etc.–before the major investments are made in product development.
Of course, the Headline Test doesn’t in an of itself validate a new product or business idea. But when you sit down to write your press release, if it “writes itself,” then the product or business has a good starting point: some intuitive appeal and the ability to be quickly understood by the target audience.
I’ve used the Headline Test in client engagements many times over the years, and it has achieved the above benefits every time. Clients have appreciated the test as an exercise that helps them refine their initiative.
Next time you’re starting the process of launching a new business or product, don’t wait until you’re ready to launch to write the press release. Try the Headline Test at the beginning. It shouldn’t take more than an hour; if it does, you might have to revisit the core value proposition and positioning.
Bob London is President of London, Ink, a marketing and communications consulting firm based in the Washington, DC area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by: Katie | May 24, 2011
| 3 comments
By Bob London, President, London,
Alliance (TMA) Board Member
Somewhere in the dark recesses of my basement, there is a
box that attests to the enduring appeal of Steve Johnson’s message. The box
contains several binders and files of notes that my wife kept after one of
Steve’s Pragmatic Marketing training sessions—more than ten years ago.
Whatever’s in this box, it is apparently valuable enough to survive nine
consecutive spring cleanings—far outlasting a bunch of old stuffed animals (our
kids’), a pallet of unopened wedding gifts (ours) and an extremely rare
Microsoft Zune mp3 player.
As further proof of the loyalty that Steve and the Pragmatic
Marketing Framework (see Figure 1) generates, most of the people at
today’s Technology Marketing Alliance (TMA) meeting had already heard him speak
or attended his training on at least one other occasion. They were back for
more and Steve did not disappoint.
Steve is perhaps the leading authority on the myriad
pitfalls of product management and marketing and definitely the most engaging
and entertaining communicator on the subject. Which is a big reason why,
according to its web site, Pragmatic Marketing is “The World's Most Popular
Product Management and Marketing Training.”
Amidst the funny, forehead-slapping insights on
sales/marketing/product management behaviors, here are some quick takeaways
from Steve Johnson’s TMA presentation today:
· It’s just as important to define who isn’t a
prospective buyer as who is—to avoid wasting time with markets that have poor
· As a rule, you can’t have a leadership position
in 14 vertical markets if you only have one customer in each market.
· In most companies, any marketing success is
accidental. Unfortunately this isn’t repeatable since you don’t know what
generated the success.
· To underscore the last point, according to
Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, if they’re successful in the current quarter, its
because they made the right calls 18 months ago.
For more wisdom, please visit Pragmatic Marketing at www.pragmaticmarketing.com and
follow Steve Johnson on Twitter at @sjohnson717.
And to make sure you don’t miss the next great B2B marketing
education/networking event, visit TMA at www.technologymarketingalliance.com
Washington, D.C.-based Executive-Level
Marketing Organization Plans for Growth in Programming and Membership
McLEAN, Va. – The Technology
Marketing Alliance (TMA),
the definitive invitation-only
forum for the top B2B and B2G technology marketers in the Washington, D.C.
area, is pleased to announce a new board of advisors for
2011-2012. The TMA board volunteers its time to the community of senior-level
technology marketers, and contributes valuable insight into speaker selection,
membership development and promotion.
“Marketers are increasingly seeing their role
evolve and change in this business climate,” says Elizabeth Shea, TMA chair and
CEO of SpeakerBox
more emphasis on lead generation, new communication strategies, compelling
positioning, online engagement, etc, our members benefit from the best
practices of other members and the TMA community.”
Members of the 2011-2012 TMA Board of
· Scott Cary,
Chief Marketing Officer, Spectrum K12 School Solutions
· Pamela Casale, Director of Marketing Global Cloud Computing and Software,
Computer Sciences Corporation
· Peter Jacobs, VP/Director of Marketing,
Alion Science and Technology
· Warren Jones, Vice
President of Marketing, Enterworks
· Bob London, President, London, Ink LLC
· Gary McNeil, Vice President of Marketing, Parature
· Robert Morton, Senior VP Global
· Jen Norman, Managing
Associate, Korn/Ferry International
· Michael Ortner, President,
· Brian Reed, Chief
Marketing Officer, BoxTone
· Elizabeth Shea, President
and CEO, SpeakerBox Communications
TMA holds quarterly programs,
supplemented by periodic Webinars, roundtable discussions and social events.
Past seminar topics have included Customer Message Management with Tim
Riesterer, CMO and SVP of strategic consulting and product, Corporate Visions;
Make Your Software Pricing Model Work Harder – So You Don’t Have To with Jim
Geisman, principal and founder, Software Pricing Partners; and Digital Body
Language – Learning a New Approach for Better, Faster Lead Gen in the Online
World with Steven Woods, co-founder and CTO, Eloqua. All of
the TMA events provide open forums and continuing education for the executive-level
a member of TMA has been extremely beneficial to my work at BoxTone and as an
advisor to early stage technology companies through ReedCMOAdvisory," says
Brian Reed, chief marketing office at BoxTone. "Not only do the programs
and speakers provide insight and knowledge on important industry topics, but
the networking opportunities are some of the most valuable I have been a part of.
Being part of the technology marketing community helps us understand the
nuances of the industry and enables us to share best practices."
About Technology Marketing Alliance
The Technology Marketing Alliance is the definitive invitation-only
forum for the top B2B and B2G technology marketers in the Washington, D.C.
area. Its members consist of vice presidents and C-level marketers who are
shaping the region's technology brands. As an invite-only group, TMA membership
is subject to review by the board of advisors to ensure that everyone involved
is there for one reason only—to develop a forum for idea exchange and
continuing education. For more
www.technologymarketingalliance.com or follow TMA on Twitter @TMA_DC.