• Hindsight Will be 2020

    What the Future of Digital Marketing Will Not Look Like.

    2016 marks an important temporal tipping point for marketing and marketers alike. We have stepped over the proverbial line in the sand from whence there is no return. We now stand closer to a brand new decade than the beginnings of our current one.

    In four short years, 2020 will be upon us; a year, a decade, sure to be riddled with hindsight memes and vision related metaphors from those that would consider themselves the insightful ones.

    Early indications would lead us to believe that 2020 just may be a data-marketers dream, bringing true innovation into the light of day, weaving itself into the fabric of mainstream marketing.

    Technologies such as virtual and augmented reality will seemingly become an engagement playground for marketers and gamers alike. The internet of things promises the proliferation of smart devices and rich data collection points across virtually every aspect of our lives. A washing machine that knows when to order detergent. A refrigerator that alerts you when milk expiration is imminent, or whether the quantity of eggs on hand is insufficient to prepare the omelet in the recipe you just bookmarked on your phone. Imagine now your appliance asking permission to order these products, (which may or may not be delivered by drone), making them available at the exact time you need them.

    Mobile devices and wearables will take giant leaps forward and continue to become invaluable dictators of location infused discounts and deals. If Uber has a say, we may just be hopping into self-driving taxis on the streets of NY, LA and other major metro areas. Self-driving taxis would give marketers the opportunity to present targeted marketing messages to riders based on their pick up and drop off locations, as well as personal preferences gleaned from data on their mobile devices and digital behavior profiles.

    With such exciting marketing opportunities on a fast approaching horizon, it’s easy to get left behind in the dust of the bandwagon.  What if you already feel you’ve been left behind? Well my friend, today is your lucky day (if sarcasm had a font, this would be it); Comcast Spotlight has written an article specifically for you!

    Comcast Spotlight recently published an article in Smart CEO titled, “Why Targeted Digital Marketing is the Wave of the Future.” (read full article here). I’m not surprised by the notion that an enterprise level marketing machine such as this mainstream media provider sees “targeted digital marketing” as a wave to be caught somewhere off in the distance.

    Traditional media outlets seemingly continue to struggle with digital marketing, as they stumble in their quest to understand a digital consumer. Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, you have marketers indoctrinated early into a target rich digital ecosystem. Digital Marketers who have been espousing digital marketing’s enhanced targeting benefits for nearly two decades.

    The article starts out by making the reader aware of how the steep adoption of mobile devices has led to television viewing being relegated to large sporting and high profile events. The article goes on to state, “the decline in traditional television viewing is making it hard for marketers to find audiences.” Let’s stop right there. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, if you’re marketing requires you to find and place vague messages in front of large quantities of unqualified, untargeted people, then possibly, you’ve been hurt by this decline.

    Digital marketing outlets such as search engines, social media, online video, email and other such services, have made it very easy to identify a targeted audience for just about any product or service. Not only that, you can even target a prospect’s exact time of need. Imagine that! Only being in front of people that need what you offer – sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, snake oil, smoke and mirrors, dare I say HOOEY!

    The Comcast article may lead one to believe target marketing is something off in the distance when in fact, the real reason to look ahead is because it’s passed you by.

    Targeted Digital Marketing is not the future—it’s the then, the was, the now, and the always will be.  Days of traditional media slapping the moniker “digital” across anything accessed over the Internet, and going on to espouse vanity metrics such as impressions, page views and viewership as the win, are long over. Success metrics that account specifically for conversions and sales—those are the metrics that now rule the day for present day marketers.

    I can tell you one thing for certain, “Targeted Digital Marketing” is not some new marketing messiah. For those marketers who live their lives facing forward, adopting early, scanning the horizon for the next thing—we leave scrawled in the walls of “target digital marketing” a hearty “we were here,” to be found by the laggards that follow—when and if they ever catch up.

    The future is a funny thing.  No one can tell you for certain what the future holds. Certain technologies that feed a larger marketing machine seem imminent, but none are a guaranteed bet. If you truly desire a glimpse into the future, all you need do is look inside a hotel minibar. You can see what a Diet Pepsi will cost in 2035.

  • How Average Marketing Kills Your Business

    A Bitrix24 interview with Digital Marketing author, Larry Bailin

    Larry Bailin is one of the top rated Internet marketing and professional motivational business speaker, CEO of Single Throw Internet Marketing, best-selling author, and entrepreneur.

    1. What is the biggest online marketing mistake that companies make?

    Accepting average. Average digital marketing is the norm because it has become accepted. Digital marketing is treated as something done once the tick mark is placed in the box. We check it off, and consider it complete. Average starts by fooling yourself into believing that the metrics of the platform or tool are more important than the reason you set out to market in the first place, to get customers.

    Likes are not customers, tweets are not customers, clicks and impressions are not customers. They are not customers until they buy something. You need to break fr om the status quo and understand that showing up in Google is not success, likes are not the goal, and these things are the starting point, not the finish line.

    We coined a term at my marketing company (Single Throw), “NOMAM” No More Average Marketing. NOMAM is more than a trademarked tagline, it’s a mantra that we live everyday across every project. Average won’t win, never has, never will.

    2. What is the single most impactful thing companies can do to attract more clients?

    Develop a TRUE sales mindset. Show customers, no, prove to customers that buying from you has more value than buying from the competition or not buying at all. Businesses tend to forget that the message is what matters in marketing, it’s what the clients connect with. Would you buy from you?

    Read the messages, tweets, posts, pages on your website as if you were a customer and ask yourself, does this persuade me to take action? Am I influenced to make contact and learn more? Do I know what I’m supposed to do next? Customers search for the problem, not the solution, am I making it clear to my constituents that I am the one to solve their problem.

    The reality is that for all the bells and whistles we label as online marketing, most just end up adding to the noise and not cutting through it.

    3. You wrote a book six years ago (great name, by the way). Unlike other professional speakers, especially in the internet marketing arena, there has been no follow ups or a brand extension series or even update, as far as I know, and this looks like a conscious decision. Care to elaborate?

    In 2007 I wrote Mommy, Where Do Customers Come From? In 2010 I wrote the second edition. You’re right, there has been a conscious decision not to write another online marketing book, the reason being, aside from a few dated references, the book holds true. Content contained between the covers is still relevant.

    I chose to deal with the way in which fundamentals of customer attraction and conversion (sales) intertwines with marketing in a connected world. Those fundamentals still apply and always will. I have not written another book because I would just be writing it to write it, as you mentioned, to further my brand, not help businesses succeed. My brand is doing just fine. I’m hired frequently to speak and am still considered an authority in my space.

    I am working on another book titled, “Sales Solves All”, as the title eludes too, it’s more about how the act of selling, the skill of persuasion can solve all the woes a company has. A business that can throw money at a problem, has no problem. I will touch on effective ways to interject sales methodologies into the marketing platforms of the day, however, I have been taking my time as I want this title to be as timeless as the last. I expect a release date sometime in 2016.

    4. Marketers like to say that technology is just a tool. You did too, in several interviews. But technology (think AdWords or Facebook or even email before that) can significantly change marketing landscape. Are there any emerging disruptive technologies or tools that are on your radar?

    One of my favorite right now is Re-Marketing / Re-Targeting. There are few things that give us a second chance at a first impression. Although re-marketing is not new, the way it engages with consumers is greatly improved from the past. Re-marketing in social is powerful, allowing for specific interest targeting and couple that with Google’s massive ad network and you’ve got a winner.

    The problem with re-marketing is that the execution of the technology is usually poor, at best it’s average. Very little thought is being put into the sales aspects, the engagement nuances needed to properly benefit from this powerful tool and that’s a huge miss.

    Here’s an example of a large brand doing average remarketing. I buy a lot of golf equipment from GolfSmith and the other day, I went on their website, found and purchased a Callaway wedge. Not 5 minutes later, I’m on a news site and an ad for the same wedge appears. Later that day, the same ad for the same wedge is displayed to me on Facebook and this goes on for about 2 weeks. I already purchased the item. Why pay to market to a closed deal? Even if I don’t click the ad (why would I), it’s annoying and makes me think the brand does not care about me.

    There are a lot of great marketing tools out there but none of them will get the job done if you’re going to use them in an average fashion.

    5. Social is no longer just for customers. Companies are starting to use social collaboration platforms, private social networks, work chat, social task management, etc. inside their organizations to make faster and better decisions. Which of those tools in your experience work best for marketing teams?

    That question can really only have a purely subjective answer. Best is a funny word because it’s subjective and can be defined by many variables. What’s best for me may not be for someone else. I think more important than the tool used, is just using one in the first place. My company benefits from collaboration software, it allows us to share ideas that lead to innovation. We use multiple tools and have gone through a few that we’re not a fit or we just plain grew out of. What we used when we were 10 people no longer works now that we’re 40+.

    More so than trying to determine the best internal social tool to use, take time to ensure everyone using it knows why they are using it in the first place. Innovation is the lifeblood, the fuel that grows an organization. Social tools can spark innovation. Create rules and measurements that give you the data that will lead to innovation. Just having the tool won’t be good enough to make the effort worthwhile.

    See the original interview by Bitrix24 

  • Sorry, Google Says We’re Closed

    Getting local search right, needs to be at the top of your priority list.

    When I started my career in 1994, my motivation was to help local businesses take their show on the road; go national, even global, and break free from their geographic confines. After all, that was the promise of the Internet back in the day. It made the playing field level because you could now take your business global and compete with the big guys. We all boarded the train for a brave new digital world leaving local far behind…or so we thought.

    Fast forward twenty years and everyone is clamoring about local. Local search, local check-in, shop local, be local, buy local. If digital marketing were Jan Brady she’d exclaim, local, local, local!

    So is this local craze just Internet hype, or is it as important as everyone’s making it out to be? To answer this question, we have to look at the company arguably responsible for pushing this local snowball over the hill– Google.

    Google released Google Maps February 8, 2005, and for close to a decade, has spent a great deal of time, energy and capital emblazoning a local ecosystem. In 2006, Google added business listings to maps and in the years that followed, there would be a cascade of local enhancements: street view, business reviews, expanded business listings, Zagat data integration, user edited business listings, Google+ Local (now just Google+), the local Carousel and now self driving cars .

    Google Local SEOPerform a Google search for just about anything and take a good look at the results. In most cases, at least 60% of the search results returned by Google have some sort of local intent. No matter your woe, folly or ailment, Google appears to believe that localized information plays a requisite role in finding gratification.

    Google isn’t the only one trying to make the world a smaller place. In the early 2000’s, we began to see internet connected PDA’s become more common. Palm, Windows and Blackberry were all working to put data in the palms of our hands. By the mid 2000’s, we watched in astonishment as some of the very first smartphones hit the scene and surged into the mainstream. Add social media to the mix and you had a local trifecta that in short order became the fuel, oxygen and spark that lit a global, local explosion.

    Technological momentum is not the only factor in the local equation. Naturally occurring influences play a large role in consumer consciousness. Acts of nature such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and fires are all followed with a flurry of “Buy Local / Shop Local / Support Local” campaigns. Local becomes emotional, a responsibility, a pseudo badge of honor that in most cases does something incredible, it trumps price.

    Local has become such a critical element in the never-ending strives we make to enter the consciousness of the consumer, that global brands like Geico® are immodestly leveraging the power and feeling of familiarity offered by a local relationship. We’ve seen the brand’s Gecko mascot hoofing it across the Brooklyn Bridge, making jokes about the Seattle Space Needle, piloting a boat in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and even doing a somewhat uncomfortable Philly Cheesesteak Shuffle.

    Clearly there is enough evidence to conclude, hype is not at play here. A shift needs to be made from reluctant bystander to willing participant. If you have a business of any size or type, getting local right needs to go to the top of your priorities list.

    Consider this, 52% of online consumers have visited closed businesses as a result of inaccurate info listed in local search. Even more disturbing are the statistics surrounding companies that are open for business (or so they think) and have incorrect or inconstant local data. 73% of consumers lose trust in a businesswhose online listings show inaccurate information. 67% say they lose trust if they get lost attempting to walk or drive to a business because of faulty listings.Improper local listings can also impede Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, acting as a barrier to achieving coveted search listings.

    Akin to the adage of a tree falling in the woods, in our local first world, are you really open for business if Google says you’re closed?

    The fact is that consumers have taken up arms and those arms have hands with fingers, fingers that once again, are doing the walking. This time, they’re not walking across yellow books, but rather glass screens and keyboards to find, well, everything. The question is, are they finding you?

    Written by Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker Larry Bailin

    Source(s): Placeable Survey, April 2014, Infogroup Survey, September 25, 2013, Single Throw Research June 16, 2014

  • A Sales Objection in Disguise

    Sales objections take many forms. Some objections, such as, “it’s too expensive” are easy to spot, while others cleverly masquerade as progress.

    One such objection is, “Can you send me some references?”

    That can’t be a sales objection? That has to be forward momentum – right? My prospect is asking for validation of my company’s expertise. This sounds like a reasonable request.

    Make no mistake, this is an objection, and an infinitely insidious one at that. What makes this objection deeply troublesome is that it fools the salesperson into thinking they are moving forward, that progress is being made. Hearty handshakes and high fives all around, the prospect wants to check our references! That can only mean one thing…Next stop, dotted lineville, closed-town, commission junction.

    Anything that stalls the process is an objection. Any reason to not say “yes” right now, is an objection. If you look at it any other way, you relinquish control over the outcome. Before you know it, what you mistakenly perceived as a non-objection, becomes, “No, I have not called your references yet, I’ve been so busy, give me a call in a few weeks.” or, “Your references have not called me back. When they get back to me I’ll call you.”

    Why don’t sales people see the reference ask as an objection? Sales people, even good ones, often substitute opinions for facts and emotions for analysis. Asking for references is seen as a positive thing, a happy occurrence, because it’s not perceived as a natural ending, it’s not NO.

    Because asking for references is not a definitive NO, it lulls you into a false sense of hope until it stabs your deal in the forehead while smiling and eating a sandwich.

    The best way to handle any objection is to take what I call, the “Skynet” approach. We take deliberate steps to prevent the prospect (Sarah Conner) from ever giving birth to the objection (John Connor) because it’ll grow up to lead the resistance against our sale!

    I don’t get asked for references. That’s not bravado, I deliberately take steps to obliterate objections from the prospect’s mind.

    1. I become my own reference. You’re only as expert as you appear and I exude a high level of expertise. My knowledge and confidence makes people want to work with me. I tell relatable stories in such a way, my prospects can feel my words. I tell them things they have not heard elsewhere and make them think differently about my services. When I’m done presenting, they should be trying to figure out how to work with me as quickly as possible, not ways to stall the process. My prospect feels as if they are infinitely worse off (and they are) with every passing day that they are not my customer.
    2. I ask them for references (in theory). I make the assertion that I’d be willing to work with them once we have determined that they are as good a fit for me, as I am for them. I say things such as, “We’re hired when companies like yours are being beaten, and you are being beaten. We help companies in your position win, but not all companies that want to win, have the mindset to do what it takes to win. So let’s discuss whether or not our success philosophies are in alignment before we move forward.” – Now who’s selling who?
    3. I explain the process of how we’re going to work together. 1. Meeting. 2. Determine if it makes sense for us to go to a proposal stage. 3. Review proposal, align our thinking and move forward. There is nothing in the process stating we will provide references for review.

    I want to check your references, is an objection that will rear its ugly head when prospects have not seen appropriate value in the sales person, the service or the company. As professional sales people, we have to act on the assumption that everything our prospects say and do, correlates directly to our actions.

    So let’s say despite our best efforts, the reference objection comes up – now what?

    This is no time to be timid, don’t be put on your heels. Act surprised (not alarmed), confused as if the question created an imbalance in your brain. Why they would even ask for such a silly thing as references; in front of God and everyone, just astonishes you.

    “Of course I could get you references, but I’m a bit confused as to how they would help. I’m sure you’ve already researched us online. You know we’ve been in business for many years. You’ve seen our impressive client list. I also know you didn’t find a single bad review from anyone we’ve ever worked with, and considering how easy and common it is for people to flame you on the Internet, I know that must have made you feel good about us, I’m pretty proud of it myself.”

    So my question to you is, what will one of my happy clients be able to tell you that you don’t already know? Did I not answer or address something? Is there a concern I’m unaware of? I’m not trying to be elusive, I’m not used to being asked this question. The people that that are serious, the people I’m in front of, have already done their homework. Is there something that concerns you about my services or my company that you’re looking for a reference to address?”

    Now we’re having the conversation that I want to have!
    I’m forcing them to give me the real objections, not this rudimentary “I need other people to tell me what to do” sales 101 crap. Let me dig into the important truths of the situation, the barriers that are sucking the forward momentum out of my sale.

    I’ve taken the wheel back and I’m now steering this ship, because that’s the only way both myself and my prospect, will get the wins that we both want.

  • The Internet Doesn’t Need Your Content

    Content marketing is all the rage these days.

    Agencies and PR firms alike, all touting the power of content as if it were the last great hope of mankind.

    Content is the big fix to obliterate all your digital marketing woes (or at least that’s what we’re being led to believe). SEO issues—content. Social media challenges—content. Website conversion stressing you out? Well there’s your problem! You’re not creating enough content.

    Sure content is king, but content for the sake of content, well, how does that serve the kingdom?

    Case in point, an ingenious company that has invented a device to help people young and old learn to play guitar chords. The product is ChordBuddy and it is quite brilliant, so much so that it garnered a six-digit investment from Shark, Robert Herjavec on the hit ABC show, Shark Tank. This investment came only after four of the five sharks fought to invest.

    As brilliant as the product is, if ChordBuddy can’t attract those looking for an easy way to play guitar, sharks or no sharks, they’ll end up swimming with the fishes.

    Since appearing on Shark Tank, ChordBuddy has been working with a few agencies trying to get digital marketing right.  No surprise the advice they were given was, “you need to create content.” The content strategy being proposed focused on creating generic guitar topics—caring for a guitar, how to replace a guitar string and so on. Some topics were more musician specific—how to hone your musical ear, how to be a songwriter, etc. Over 60 pages of content was created around general guitar and musical topics.

    Lots of content, most about guitars, the product is related to guitars—what’s the problem?

    …Here’s the problem.

    Let’s for now, gloss over the fact that none of the content tied the topic to the need for the product at all.

    For the topic: “Caring for your acoustic guitar,” Google returns an onslaught of 1.8 million website results, 2.4 million videos and hundreds of thousands of products that claim to forevermore solve the problem. It does not seem as if the Internet will see one more piece of guitar care content as a glorious triumph for the subject. Those in need are not screaming in contempt while they struggle to find answers to their guitar care woes.

    Companies that have earned page one position in the guitar care sector are doing a fine job. Product leaders such as Martin and Gibson, mixed in with authorities like WikiHow, Guitar Magazine and Rolling Stone. Companies you would expect to provide trusted content on such a topic…are. Is the plan to displace these titans with a mere 300 words of generic content? Not much of a plan if you ask me.

    There are a plethora of topics that relate more closely to the ChordBuddy value proposition and can educate without beating someone over the head with sales rhetoric.

    Topics such as: “Easiest musical instrument to learn,” will not only target the right person, but positioning in search is obtainable, and you could argue that ChordBuddy makes an instrument previously difficult to learn, much easier. For someone like me, a musical neophyte that would struggle to play the tambourine, sounds like it would be a great read.

    Just keep adding content—more content—more, more, more!  I’m sorry, this strategy (I use that term lightly) that so many are affirming as a gateway to the promise land, lacks the specificity required to succeed.

    Some of those pedaling the virtues of content creation have gone astray. There simply must be more thought put into not just creating content, but content that is needed, has a chance of ranking well in search and connects with the right customer. These are essential ingredients to make good content into great content.

    As marketers, if we’re going to move the revenue needle, we can no longer do anything unless it means something. Content cannot and should not exist if only for contents sake.