Do you have heart for your customer? – Social selling meets Marketing Automation

Social selling is quick becoming the ultimate buzz word. Cultivating a relationship with your would-be prospects through social media is critical in today’s business economy. Social selling is creating a whole new realm of possibility for sales reps the world over. But what happens when marketers catch on to this buzz? What if we could take social listening a step further and actually do triggered marketing from this listening?

Well, the technology is there. However, far too few companies are actuating this technology to relate to their public audiences. The reality is that even utilizing all the features and benefits of true marketing automation are only done by a handful. Most companies are lucky to have a few nurtures, webinars and some abandon cart campaigns. What if, we could bypass the hype and truly use this social listening to intersect with marketing automation strategies and create a full-circle conversation with potential clients?

Well, we can. But, it takes the right technology all talking to each other. Unfortunately, many companies are dealing with disparate systems that miss the mark. Ideally, your social media listening should trigger an automated campaign based on subject matter. Ideally, you could take a specific targeted group of listeners and drop them into a focus group that created an exchange of ideas that fuels further development of all businesses engaged.

What if, you could take the social listening and transform that into actionable steps into a funnel campaign? What if that funnel campaign could result in one-to-one communciation between the sales rep and the potential client offering such value that the client would have an allegiance unlike any other?

It is possible. It takes commitment. It takes candor. It takes complete integration of systems. It takes an excellent content strategy. It takes the right people. Ultimately, it takes a heart for the customer like never before. Do you have heart?


Veterans Thriving!

As a modern marketer who was once an Airman First Class in the United States Air Force, today has special meaning. When I served in the armed forces, I thought my life was an open canvas. A canvas to be painted with experiences, life and love. Today, I know that without that time of service, training and respect for authority, I would not be the person I am.

As everyone thanks our service members for their support today, I reflect a little differently. I thank the armed services for what they taught me. I thank the Air Force for sharing with me experiences I would have never imagined I could experience. The Air Force showed me what it was to give, to serve, to persevere through it all. I did things I, quite frankly, didn’t want to do. I learned things I had no interest in. Through it all, I learned to be thankful. I learned to team with my fellow service members and learn what it means to do whatever it takes to make it work. I had fellow service members whom I loved. I had fellow service members who died. I grieved greatly. I had fellow service members who I still remember today and often wonder what happened to them.

So today, I give thanks for the people who I stood beside in service. I give thanks for the opportunity to know the people who died in service next to me during the very first Desert Storm. I give thanks for the opportunity to do something for my country that others can’t even imagine. I give thanks as this service has transformed my entire life.

Thanks to a country where my service matters, my contribution matters and I know we live a different life because of that service. Today, I and my entire family are thriving. I have been through the fire personally and professionally and have come out on top because of my perseverance. I have tenacity and self-confidence that allows me to tread into waters unknown and know that I can come out successful–with marketing automation, this is a particularly useful trait.

So today, I give thanks. I salute all those who came before me and all those who come after me. I salute human kind.


The Detective & The Marketer

Marketing has evolved. We are now one part technologist. One part creative genius. One part analyst. Oh, and by the way, one part detective. How you say?

Let’s look at one case that illustrates this point very well.

One of my telecom clients emailed me today with concerns about their system. They felt their system was failing, the emails were going to spam and the links weren’t working. Where to start? See the detective at work already. It begins with rigorous testing. We tested everything. Everything was working on our end. So then what? We can’t very easily go back to the client and say there is no problem. Of course not. So we dig deeper as would a detective on the trail of a hot case.

We reviewed the system. The API calls were in fact happening. Screen shot taken.

The emails were not going to spam in our case. Another screen shot and some teaching on why emails go to spam. Next we went to Litmus to dive into the issue further. This was seeming to be a case of mis-matched expectations.

Lastly, the links not working. This was there proprietary website that seemed to be failing. The links were PURL links with customized user id’s. These worked for some and not for others. We checked the database and it should work. Thus, there seemed to be a break in on the web site rendering the PURL. We are diving into this now with their web team, so stay tuned for more as we uncover the case of the mis-matched expectations.

See, part technologist, part creative, part analyst and part detective.


Get your Social On!

We always hear about increasing our social networks, steering away from B2B and B2C and embracing Human 2 Human programs. But what about our social network within our own companies? How do we network with our peers, other departments and leadership to ensure our marketing automation vision of best in class gets done?

Once inside the organization, it is imperative that we grow our social networks within as we do out and about. For example, at one company I am working with I have had the distinct pleasure of working with some of the brightest minds in the industry. To do this, it means I get up from my desk in my office, move out into the organization and have one on one conversations face-to-face. Why? Why bother expending all that energy when I could just send an email?

Three reasons really.

1. Creating lasting relationships. The ability to cement in the minds of your peers and leadership ideas that can transform an organization. This ability to connect eye-to-eye cannot be done in an email.

2. Velocity of change. You can increase the velocity of change management by creating solid relationships founded upon mutual trust and respect. It doesn’t mean you will always see the same vision, however, it does mean that when the time comes for healthy debate you will be heard.

3. People still want to feel heard. Emails are great and very efficient. Heck, they work. But, never underestimate the ability to get things done in a pinch when you people you work with feel you care. Taking a little time to connect can win huge rewards in the end.

Remember, we are all still human. So whether it’s your social network online or your social network within your building, treat them how you would want to be treated and watch the transformation happen. Increase velocity. Effect Change. Be Inspired.


The Big 4 Digital Marketing Faux Pas

Social media and the world of digital marketing have stirred quite a buzz around what you should and should not do. A plethora of articles exist on what to do and what not to do. Today it is all about SEO, or tomorrow it’s all about Linked In and Twitter. Another day, we are told it is all about posting consistently but not too much? Ads work. Then, they don’t. Email marketing is hot, then it’s a dinosaur. Amongst all the clatter of the holidays, digital marketing has had the same sort of background noise as a Black Friday shopping event. Through it all, there are four things you really should never do regardless of the medium you choose.

Never, Ever Make these Faux Pas Your Own.

1. Post whatever is on your mind. Digital marketing is easy to post and get seen. However, frivolous posts that don’t hold meaning are about as effective as walking down the street yelling about your business. It is still important with digital marketing to get into the world of your customer and focus on posts that are meaningful to THEM, not you. What kind of information and content is important to them, not you. Did I mention focus on content that the CUSTOMER WANTS?

2. Ridiculous offers. Seriously, I see more of these on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter than I can count? Think about your clientele and ensure your offers are aligned with their buying process. Simply posting an offer on one of these great social media sites doesn’t guarantee success. Remember, marketing must still be strategic. Right offer, Right vehicle, Right Timing.

3. Slap it till it sticks…Seriously, this day and age of shoving money into SEM to see what sticks is a bygone era. Today, there are options to be much more strategic. Today, you can geo target, you can focus on industry, you can even segment by subject. Why in the world then, do I still see SEM agencies using clients’ funds with $40k a month with no segmentation? Or, worse yet, they set up SEM campaigns routing to 404 pages because nobody has thought about testing???

4. Testing is CRITICAL. Digital marketing is set up by humans. Thus, the need for testing. Test EVERYTHING. Test the flow from marketing automation system into CRM. Test the email rendering. Test the offers and ensure the clicks move the lead through to the CRM. Ensure the right campaign is on the lead. Ensure the lead gets routed to the right sales team member. Ensure if there is a download offer, it is EASY for the customer to get. I know these sound simplistic, but, go out there and try a few campaigns and you will quickly see the value of testing.

Avoid each faux pas above and you will be miles ahead of your competition. I have seen fortune 500 companies make the same mistakes above only to realize that after the fact. Take the time to set things up right and the results will be dramatic. Happy hunting.


Eng8ged Leadership

What is eng8ged leadership? How does it look different from ordinary leaders? Eng8ged Leadership takes ordinary leaders and makes them extraordinary. There are many great leaders in the world today. There are also many poor leaders. What makes this difference? And, how can the great leaders get better? Regardless of where you plot yourself on the leadership pendulum, one thing is certain, we can always get better. Take these eight tips and see if they might help.

You are an Eng8ged Leader if:

1. You lead by example.

2. You have deep industry knowledge in the field you are leading.

3. You hold people accountable.

4. You are not afraid of the tough conversations.

5. You will defend your team for what’s ethical and right.

6. You are willing to get your hands dirty when the going gets tough.

7. You hold an inspired vision for the team and keep them informed of it.

8. You choose to be great as an example to your team.

There are many other characteristics of what makes an En8ged Leader, but these eight seem to be the most prominent. There are many great leaders, few with all eight characteristics. Some of the great leaders that have taught me include Jack Welch, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen and many others. Inspire others to greatness by leading from an inspired place. Never, ever think you are above learning, growing and thriving. These traits keep the mind fresh and keep us all on our toes.

Be an example. Be Eng8ged.


Leading in Chaos

Maintaining equilibrium in a state of constant chaos is sometimes challenging. Even for the most level-headed of managers, maintaining decorum and a sense of pride during turbulent times can put a manager’s skills to the test. So then, how do we as leaders display a sense of commitment and balance inside the chaos?

Try these four tips:

1. Center: Find a way to center yourself even at work. One of my first mentors was an amazing CEO. During highly stressful times he taught me to take a walk. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Feel the sun on your skin. Allow yourself to get quiet. With each step I realized the chatter in my head. Through this technique I was able to quiet the chatter and get back to what was really important. So, if you see me walking in the parking lot, don’t worry. I am just finding my center.

2. Mindfulness: We have all heard this word thrown about in recent years about being mindful. But, its not just about being mindful, it’s also leveraging discernment and knowing what you will take personally and what you won’t. For example, someone at work says that piece of work is horrible. Do you take this personal? Well, you can. But really, if you are clear about who you are in the world, a better answer is NO. Simply, ask questions to discover what it is the client or your boss really wanted. Oftentimes, situations like this are either a lack of listening or missed expectations. Either one can be fixed, so why take it on. Using mindfulness and discernment are essential to maintaining balance.

3. Believe: Believe in possibility. If you really want to maintain balance through chaos, know that each situation or event is an opportunity to either grow or discover things you have yet to know. Either way, there can be good even in tough conversations. Know that if you focus on what’s possible, then the good will follow.

4. Candor: Be honest with people. If you screw it up, admit it. If your team has issues, state it. Don’t sugarcoat things. This does not help people. This doesn’t mean you become a raging lunatic telling everyone how bad they are. Rather, you have frank conversations with the intent to support people in achieving their greater good. Realize that people want to do the right thing, but sometimes people need a little support. Help them to grow or go, whichever they choose will be the right choice. Be there for the team and be honest.

These four tips allow leaders to maintain their identity amidst the chaos. Knowing our value as leaders is very important but never, take your position for granted. If we, as leaders, start each day with gratitude and know we give it our all, our teams will follow in step. Also, the perceived chaos won’t seem nearly as chaotic.