I felt that Todd Defren of PR Squared raised an interesting question about marketing tactics by the Commotion Group that I decided to post my thoughts here instead of lumping into my weekly articles. Briefly, the Commotion Group posts “fake comments” to videos to create a sense of controversy, while deleting any negative comments.
Frankly, there’s no argument here. Today’s social media values authenticity highly. The Blair Witch Project was a game. Because it was the first to leverage the Internet in an unique marketing campaign (ploy?), people took it as truth. According to Todd’s post, one of the original producers commented:
While we were building out the (Blair Witch) website and the community, we always knew we were walking a line, but we decided we were not going to try and hoax people outright. The regular members of the Blair Witch community … knew it was a work of fiction … We were not trying to fool anyone …
What the Commotion Group is doing is creating a false impression to dupe viewers into believing that the content is something worthwhile viewing. It isn’t.
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The Blog Bubble? – R. Scott Raynovich of Light Reading has an interesting post on Internet Revolution. Raynovich believes that there will be a crash in blogs in terms of how one can make money and continue drawing an audience. If he’s correct, then those blogs that provide truly interesting content and insight will continue to stay above the noise. I think we may also see the rise of more blog-lomerates (blogging conglomerates) list GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and others.
What Millennials Don’t Know – Advertising Age highlights ten marketing myths and their implications for marketers. Sorry Mellennials, the world doesn’t revolve around you!
Hallelujah – The Truth About PR “Relationships” – I read a few PR agency blogs and inmedia is one of the best. In a recent post, inmedia highlight the myth about media relationships resulting in media coverage. As the post concludes: Bottom line: The only thing that has any currency in a newsroom, the only thing any journalist cares about, is the news value of the story. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t understand the news business
Marketing In is Better Than Out – Brian Hulligan of HubSpot wrote this interesting post about how company websites can become better “hubs” for industry information. In this way, your prospective customers can better find you on search engines, blogs and social networks.
Spammers Get Sneaky – I had paid scant attention to what seems to be a security hole in WordPress. Wired highlighted a recent sneak attack on Al Gore’s website. I’m assuming this doesn’t impact the freely hosted WordPress, right?
Consumer Stats for Pitching – MediaPost’s Online Spin blog summarized some interesting data points that were published in Time magazine. Great fodder for those 2008 pitches or for those guys prepping for CES already!
More SEO Tips for Press Releases – Lee Odden of Online Marketing Blog has some useful tips for press release optimization. Lee has advice from some of the leading press release wires. Also check out my previous post about how to select keywords for your press release.
Oh My – You Can Be Fired for CARING Too Much – I’ve just started reading Alec Saunders’ blog. Alec usually covers VoIP and VON related issues, but occasionally brings up issues in his native Canada. This recent post about a customer service rep who is concerned about being fired because she spends time with customers. Sorry Sears, you’re getting the “I Hate Customers” award.
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Here is this week’s of interesting articles. Have a great Thanksgiving. Yum Yum, I can taste them giblets now! =) You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed:
The Power of 150… or Not? – Mack Collier of Viral Garden brings up a good point of how AdAge is leveraging the Power of 150 list. Maybe it’s a case of another company not understanding the full power of social media?
<What do Tulip History and Web 2.0 Have in Common? – Check out this humorous history lesson from mrontemp blog. Thankfully, I don’t like flowers – my lucky husband!
Going Deep into the Blogosphere – David Meerman Scott highlights an interesting site – DeepBlog.com – for finding popular blogs in certain niches.
Astroturf Can Burn Baby – John Blossom of Shore Communications writes about PR agencies still working their way around social media. He highlights the issue of “astroturfing” – pretending to be a satisfied customer when posting online. My perspective – learning about social media is no longer an excuse for doing one’s homework and understanding the rules of the road.
Lessons on Customer Service – Jeremiah of Web Strategy put up an amusing post about his experience with Real, Delta Airlines and PeopleSoft. Sometimes, it’s good to pay attention to what is being said about your brand online. Kudos to Real for responding so quickly. Now only if Jeremiah can help me with Citibank’s stupid emails – read my rants here, here and here. Jeremiah also retells a story about his Uncle Ted’s experience working with prospects. You never know who will become your best customers.
And When Negative is a Positive – Marketing Pilgrim provides an interesting perspective on the power of negative reviews. They demonstrate that your customers care enough to write a negative review and can even provide good competitive intelligence on competitors.
PR’s New Tools – This article comes courtesy of the Marketing Profs Daily Fix. Looks at how multimedia can enhance your PR program. All good advice – so who’s going to do all of this work! =)
SMRs for New PR? – Lena West of InfoWorld highlights the pros and cons of the social media release. And in her wise words, “And remember, no amount of ‘social media-ization’ can make a news release exciting. A crappy news release is still a crappy news release.”
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Here is this week’s of interesting articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues:
Dell Pulling Out All the Stops – According to Now Is Gone, Dell is taking social media/conversation a step further with the launch of Dell Shares – an investment relations related blog. Maybe transparency and conversation is currency for this economy. Hmmm, consider buying some Dell stock.
Digging It – Pro Net Advertising provides some simple tips for creating an interesting digg title. I haven’t tried venturing onto Digg yet, so if you have other helpful hints, let me know. When New Best Practices are Old - CK brings up a good point about a recent B2B marketing best practices report that was just published. From her perspective, these reports merely add to the echo chamber of what is believed to improve a product launch, versus truly unveiling best practices on what is happening around us. She plans to unveil her top ten best practices shortly.
Ninja Tracking Skills – I just started reading Distilled and they’re providing me with some interesting tricks for tracking web traffic. Very nifty indeed. So where’s my num chucks and stars…
What Does Language Say About You? – Lois Kelly posted an interesting article on the IAOC Blog. Lois points out how our writing reflects who we are. She analyzed writing from three different CEO blogs and brought up some interesting points.
Socializing Within the Enterprise - Read/Write Web has an interesting article about the use of social networking within the enterprise. This article raises what tools can/should be used in the enterprise and when. Personally, just more ways to have information overload =)
Brand Consumer for the Fan-sumer - Jeremiah Owyang does a great breakdown on MySpace and Facebook. This raises interesting questions for the brand marketer in each of us.
Search and Ye Will Find – First, congrats to Tom Pick for being named one of the top marketing blogs to watch. His article about how to truly leverage SEM is just an example of his approach to B2B marketing. Congrats again Tom!
Our goal as PR professionals is to determine how our efforts impact the company’s objectives. There are lots of ways that PR is measured with regard to brand building and thought leadership. Since working in-house, I’m getting a glimpse of how PR directly impacts my organization’s sales lead generation initiative and overall sales cycle.
The crude PowerPoint representation (to left)provides a rudimentary look at the sales cycle and how PR fits into this process. This is based partially on my personal PR experience, and some insights drawn from reading MarketingSherpa’s recent report and other sources.
Simply put, there are four steps from identifying sales prospects to closing a sale with this prospect:
- Prospect: This is your target audience. These are the pool of people that you’re trying to reach and educate about your product, service or solutions.
- Lead: This is when you are able to get the contact information from your target audience. This includes completing a contact me form on your website, buying a list of names, dropping a business card at a tradeshow, and other ways.
- Qualified Lead: Even if that person proactively came to your website and requested more information, you want to confirm that the person is truly interested in considering your company. You “qualify” the lead based on what the lead wants to do and if your company can provide what she is looking for.
- Sales: Through all this effort, the ultimate goal is to finalize the sale and secure a signed contract.
There are several ways that PR fits into this process, from building awareness to influencing the sales process. Here is how some PR tactics can be leveraged throughout each phase of the sales cycle:
- Prospects – build and maintain awareness: When preparing to consider a technology solution, prospects research information on the available companies and technologies. Being able to “touch” this prospect through multiple channels is key. Media coverage, research papers, trade show presence, speaking opportunities and blogs are a good way to reach this audience.
- Leads – educate: Once a prospect becomes a lead, education is important to move the prospect to the next stage. Webinars, podcasts, and videos (not the viral type) are ways to educate your leads, while creating a personal connection with your company.
- Qualified Sales Leads – influence peer and industry: A qualified lead is someone who is in the midst of weighing different options. In addition to education, this person will look to peers and industry experts to validate her decision to move forward with you or a competitor. At this stage, social media provides a level of community validation, with customers and analysts providing third party validation for your solutions.
Close Sales – build community: I remember hearing that it’s easier to build business with a happy customer then trying to find new business to replace an unhappy one. Building a community helps you to hear about issues and respond to your customers, while building evangelists for your business.
In the end, each stage builds upon one another. One PR tactic, such as a feature article, may have more influence than another for a sale. However, developing a PR strategy that captures a prospect/lead at multiple points throughout the sales cycle, will have a stronger impact on that company’s business in the long run.
The more I understand PR’s role to drive this process, the better I can identify the channels by which to focus my attention on. And hopefully, identify the metrics that truly matter for underscoring PR’s impact.
As people who have read my blog, I have a bone to pick with Citibank regarding their email marketing tactics and, in my opinion, poor customer service (see here and here). I still don’t understand how they are voted one of the best.
Mack Collier at The Viral Garden wrote about Dell’s turnaround in the social medium. If only Citibank could follow suit.
Simple ways to provide better service and participate:
Monitor and respond to any posts about Citibank
Respond to snail mail letters with a letter, email or phone call
Provide an unsubscribe service for those who have cancelled accounts (FYI – I was required to change my profile settings to stop the emails which I can’t do since I cancelled my
- Allow your customer service representatives to automatically cancel email notices instead of quoting a 30 day period for stopping correspondence. Obviously, this didn’t work either. Didn’t you know that email is NOT snail mail? An ability to go into a database and delete my email shouldn’t be so complicated.So I’m officially starting my Citibank Watch. How many days before I 1) hear back from Citibank and/or 2) get them to stop sending me useless email messages I can’t unsubscribe from.
Here are the dates:- # of days since my first letter to Citibank: 90 Days
# of days since writing to William R. Rhodes, CEO of Citibank: 29 Days
I’ll try to do an automatic clock. If you know of a simple code that I can add, please send me an email.
WOW! Who would’ve thought a $15 billion valuation for Facebook? I figured so many people are blogging about this that there’s no need to include in this weeks digest. Here’s your Weekly Digest:
It’s the Positive that Counts. NOT!David Meerman Scott writes an interesting post about the power “negative” headlines to drive traffic on your website. Who knew, my glass half-empty perspective may actually help drive traffic! =) Where’s My Abacus? Accurate Online CountLouise Story of the New York Times highlights the frustration of web visitor counts – those reported by ComScore versus the online property itself. Would this issue be less relevant if we moved to a cost-per-click or action model versus cost per impression model? Probably not. People want to be able to say that have the largest slice of eyeballs.
Know When to Fold ‘em…I’m an avid player of Texas Hold ‘em, so this post from Distilled caught my eye. Tom highlights how Absolute Poker’s slow response to cheating allegations is impacting their reputation. Take this piece of advice, when you have pocket Aces, don’t assume that slow playing is the best strategy!
Measure Twice, Cut OnceA key point in construction is making sure you have the right measurement before acting. KD Paine summarizes 10 pieces of website measurements you should consider for your PR and marketing efforts.
It’s a BBS. Not It’s a ForumWow – it’s interesting how some things come full circle. If you remember the term BBS, then you might find this article from Dee Barizo of netbusiness eerily familiar. She highlights the benefits of participating in niche forums for driving website traffic.
When Social Goes EnterpriseThis sucks. I just learned from paidcontent.org that CrispyNews was acquired by Salesforce.com earlier this year. Good thing, the PR group will still remain. Bad part, no new groups will be opened by non-corporate users. Granted, the RSS feed for the group seemed inconsistent at best.
Another Reason Not to StealFor those Apple employees trying to get $100 rebates off a free phone, Apple acted swiftly and decisively. Seth Rodin writes that over 800 Apple employees were fired for stealing. Personally, this was the best thing Apple could do. Demonstrates a strong sense of ethics that is sorely lacking from our society.
Brian Carroll writes the B2B Lead Generation blog and posted an interesting point about doing less may drive more results for sales lead generation efforts. Though Brian is writing this from a lead generation prospective, I wonder how much transfer to the media field? Imagine dissecting my pitch process to determine what yields better results with reporters and bloggers. Interesting thought indeed for me to consider.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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