Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Made in America"

I heard something funny the other night.

I was walking through Wal Mart while my wife was looking for some flowers/shrubs to plant at our house.  I was going to look at a magazine and heard a man talking to his mother (I assumed) and they had picked up a copy of Sam Walton's "Made in America."  Sarcastically, they said to each other, "Ha, made in China is more like it."  Like they were pissed off.

Hey, McFly, you're shopping at WAL MART!

It's funny how people can criticize business practices but have no problem taking advantage of cheap prices.

It's like all these celebrities complaining about "big business" and republicans and rich people and singing their sob stories about the poor throughout the world and how we need to take care of people and it's all the republicans' fault.  Guess what.  Maybe if you didn't make $20 million to act in a damn movie (and many times not a very good one!) some of that money would be around.

Or the complaints about tax cuts.  Hey, you don't have to take the cut.  Send all your money to the government if they will use it so much more wisely.

Sorry...got off on a rant.  I just get so frustrated when people take advantage of a company's/country's benefits and criticize the methods.  Do they do everything perfect?  Of course not.  But don't vilify them on one hand and turn around and benefit from what they provide.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Ever since I read this post by Tom Asacker, I've been thinking about the roles of sales and marketing.

I've been rolling around in my head the roles of each and how they can work together.  I think that a bit of the problem can be seen in Tom's post.  Too often, marketers and sales people see each other as...well, not the enemy, but pretty close.  One blames the other and then everyone loses. 

The reality is, neither would be worth much without the other. 

If it was left to marketing...everyone would have lots of information, but few would buy.  If it were left only to sales...people would probably buy things they don't know much about.

In my organization, I'm the marketer and the salesman.  Now, I don't necessarily recommend this either, but I think that these two key business functions need to see each other as allies and work together to achieve the goals of both.  It's up to marketers to identify and forward qualified leads and up to sales to take into account the work that was necessary to get those leads and act accordingly.

I think that the successful organizations going forward are the ones that are able to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Selling the Invisible...Literally

So, as the saga continues, I am being told to convert from focusing on marketing to sales...even though we've had shoddy marketing efforts at best due to the view of marketing around here.

One of the markets we're targeting is contractors for asbestos inspections, mold assessments and other environmental services associated with construction. 

Here's the problem.

What do I sell?  Basically, we want them to call us when they have an issue, but we just have to wait until that situation presents itself...so that's marketing.  How do I sell the, "Call us if you need anything."

I would love to offer information, white papers, tips, etc to these people so when they do have an issue, they call.  But, the owners are scared to give away information because, "That's what we want them to pay us for."  In addition, they just say, "No one will read that."

So, why don't we offer something they will read?

It's frustrating to have marketing seen as "send out a letter," or even worse, "send a mass email."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Just Can't Get This Out Of My Head

I know I've touched on this before, but I just can't get this concept of using blogging as an advertising strategy.

What do I mean?

I mean the new billboards/radio ads for AT&T that try to use blogging as a message in their ads for why to use their internet service.  They just don't get it!

Every time I hear/see one of these, I laugh and at the same time wonder how they can miss the boat so badly. 

Blogging is not just another "message delivery tool."  Blogging is community.  Blogging is a conversation.  Blogging is the ability to talk and share ideas with someone halfway around the world while I'm supposed to be working!

Seriously.  I went to the AT&T site and haven't found a "read our blog" section.  Sure, some topics are tough to blog about (my employer's for example.  Want to talk asbestos?) but that means you have to get creative.

It's funny to watch the people who subscribe to the "traditional" form of marketing scratching and scraping for the "good old days" in their mind.

I Agree...and I'm Guilty

I completely agree with this post.

I have a tendency to look up to other professionals that are doing what I wish I could do.  Now, I want to learn so much from them and try to be successful like them...but I sometimes end up trying to do it THEIR way, rather than using their experience and blending it with MY way. 

I am realizing more and more that while the "experts" can give me a lot of great tips, it's up to me to apply them and make them my own.  My struggle is trying to do that.  Trying to have to confidence to try what has worked for them...even if it fails.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's Next?

In looking at Firefox extensions, something popped into my head.

There are MANY tools for commenting on websites and searching other people's comments, etc.  Why haven't these tools caught on more and why hasn't one come to the forefront like some of the blogging tools?

It seems like the next logical step to me. It turns virtually any site into a blog in the sense that you can comment on other people's opinions.  When do you think these tools will catch on (or have they and I missed it?) and is there one you think will take the lead?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Information Please!

Well, I haven't posted for a while, but that's ok because no one's reading anyway! But, at least someday people will be able to look back at the archives and say, "Ah, so that's where the downhill slide began!"

Anyway, I was reading through some quotes and came across this one by Tom Peters.
"An informed colleague (customer, vendor) is a far less anxious one."

This is what I'm up against right now. I am trying to convince the powers that be of the importance of educating our customers and prospects. I'm trying to illustrate the benefit of giving away information. They are just focused on what we can get out of the people, not what we can give to them.

There is so much benefit to educating people.

They learn what they need to do.
They value the information and you in kind.
They see you as an expert.

So, why is it such a difficult chore to convince them of how important this is?