The future of marketing
As a technologist who works closely with technical sales teams and product marketing teams I found this talk by Larry Weber very interesting. The talk; titled “The Rise of Unpaid Media” describes the marketing approaches that will be successful in the near term future, a world that’s very different from the information starved world that many of us grew up in. Today customers have access to very rich information sources, and are less and less influenced by carefully crafted sales and marketing messages as they gain direct access to developers, integrators and existing customers, so called consumer-generated media. They are also increasingly looking for a richer engagement with their suppliers and the community of customers. There is a lot to think about in this talk, it rambles a bit towards the end, but its definitely worth the investment.
To complement this talk it’s also interesting to check out this article by Guy Kawasaki where he lists the top 12 lies of Marketers, quite a few of these relate to over hyping the new media approaches that Larry describes in his talk, so they are a useful counter balance. At the end of the day I am a pretty strong believer that the combination of information overload and attention deficit disorder amount most of our target customers means it will be difficult to get any message across to anyone, however I am equally impressed by Jonathan Schwartz who talks very eloquently about the need to establish communication with customers based on authenticity and openness.
So after listening to all of the above and reading a lot more; which marketing approaches do I believe in:
- If you can, establish a relationship with your customers that’s based on an ongoing engagement in a value enhancing community
- Help your customers make sound decisions by providing open and honest information and let your community comment on and supplement that information
- Allow your customers direct access to product specialists, architects and engineers through blogs, *casts, wiki’s and other community engagement mechanisms
- Focus on helping customers to understand business challenges and identify opportunities and surface information about your products in that context, rather than as the primary purpose of the communication
- Establish and demonstrate your capabilities by a combination of existing reference customers (who are active in your community) or by actually using and integrating the products your are trying to sell, either in production or in integration labs that give customers confidence that your capabilities are not just straight out of a text book.