Digital Marketing – What Do I Do First?

Fire Alarm Marketing’s “sweet spot” is small to medium sized B2B hi-tech companies, where we are asked to augment their Marketing activity.  In conversations with these firms, Dick and I are often asked:

“We want to do more with social media and digital marketing.  We know that we are not doing enough.  What should we do first?”

Assuming a well structured and up-to-date web site, our answer to this question is as follows:

  1. Listen.  There are two aspects to listening.  The first is listening to your customers, competitors and industry through tools such as Google Analytics and Trackle.  The second is establishing policies and following them according to what you hear.  For example, should you respond to a negative comment about you that is damaging to your reputation, and who should do it?  Be prepared to dedicate some time to “listening.”
  2. Purchase and install a CRM system.  SalesForce.Com is one of many vendors in this area.  Critical in implementing a CRM system is getting top management and sales management buy-in.  Failure to do both will result in a waste of money.  Generally, an implementation and full utilization takes 6-12 months.  If you have the money and resources, augment the CRM system with a lead tracking system, such as Eloqua or Marketo.  Use the automated CRM system to track your sales process, see what programs are working, and use the information to tune your programs to the target audience.
  3. Blog. Power has shifted from the seller to the buyer.  The buyer is using the Internet to gain information about products and services.  If you are not contributing original content about your industry or products, you will not be noticed.  For a small company, this is often viewed as an onerous task.  If this is the case, rotate the responsibility through management or out-source the content creation.  Either way, blog at least once, if not twice a week. 
  4. Publish a Newsletter. All companies have a data base, starting with their installed base of customers, and growing by potential customers who have “opted-in” either at the website or in response to emails.  Communicate with these people on a regular basis.  For the installed base, this is a way of keeping in touch and perhaps preparing them for an up-sell.  For potential customers, this is a form of nurturing that is required as they move through the acquisition process.  The frequency of the newsletter may vary, from once a month to once a quarter.  Remember to put a compelling topic in the subject line…do not use “Newsletter from Bob” which will probably be picked up by automatic spam filters.
  5. Cultivate the influential bloggers.  Regardless of industry, there are a small number of people who are influential bloggers.  Their reach and influence is disproportionate to their fundamental contributions, but this is the Internet today.  It is important that you cultivate a positive relationship with this small group.  Depending upon the IB’s (Influential Blogger) ego and outlook, this may be as simple as picking up the phone and talking; in other cases it may require sending him samples of your product or inviting him to visit your facility.  Whatever the process, it must be done, as potential customers will find and read these people.  If you are not mentioned positively, or not mentioned at all, you will lose.

The IBs can be found by reviewing the results by provided by Google Analytics and Trackle to your key words.  They should show up quickly.  Once identified, the next step is putting the contact/nurturing process in place.  As a comparison, the IBs should be treated the same way you treat an analyst from Gartner or Forrester.

With the exception of the purchase and implementing the CRM/Automated Lead Generation System, the out-of-pocket cost for these 5 steps is relatively small.   The big “cost” is re-allocating Management and Marketing staff’s time and priorities to focus on these activities.  If they are not goaled and directed to Listen, Blog, Publish Newsletters and Cultivate IBs, then any attempt at “digital” marketing will fail.  And, this has to be part of employees’ full-time job; it cannot be assigned to a summer intern.

How many of these digital marketing activities are you doing?  Are you doing them well?  How do you compare to your competition?  Do you really know?  What do the IBs in your space say?

Related Posts:

  1. Marketing, Babies, Decision Making and Social Networks
  2. Blogs From the Front – III- Social Media and Networks
  3. Social Networking and the Marketing Mix

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RHM  4/29/2010

2 comments to Digital Marketing – What Do I Do First?

  • As I reviewed your blog, specifically step five, I realize that my peer group in the food industry is not out there listening or blogging or even commmitted (as in time vested) to take advantage of the new interactive tools (free) to engage. Sad, but I am committed and as a result I am learning from new people like you & your business partner. Good stuff. Keep blogging.

  • That’s a good point about the power shifting, on the internet it is far more the buyers domain than the sellers, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

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