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The objective of the Virtual Coffee Blog, is to create a discussion platform where we can explore marketing 2.0 and share our experiences

Saturday, January 22, 2011

3 Ways to Create Demand In Less Than 140 Characters

Our window of opportunity to generate demand is literally shrinking.

It is estimated that 78% of smartphone users chose to access their email through that medium.
Twitter gives us 140 characters.
Facebook gives us 420 characters in a status update.

In order to create demand and generate leads, we have our name, our subject, and the first sentence to get our message across.

Here are 3 simple steps to an effective 140 character demand generation strategy:

1. Segment your database - There is no way that the same 140 character message could be used when engaging with all of your leads. Segment your leads, and create messages accordingly.

2. Run A/B Tests - There are all sorts of tools to track your messages. bit.ly is a great tool that will shrink the URL you are using as content(In order to save on characters) and will provide you with key statistics. The statistics will help you run 2 messages at the same time, chart the results, determine a winner and do it again.

3. Establish credibility - It takes roughly 7 impressions to engage a prospect. Just because you aren't receiving the responses you are looking for, don't give up.

Think of it as being on stage...
Someone is always watching you, so make sure they see what you want them to.


View Aaron Mandelbaum's profile on LinkedIn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is "Old School" still winning???

When you want to use "new school", and you encounter "old school", what happens?

We are learning new ways to develop business, improve our lead generation strategy, and increase demand. The problem is that not everyone is ready for our efforts.

As part of the grind today, I was participating in my email marketing strategy. I was sending emails to Vp's of Sales in an effort to conduct a best practices discussion. An opportunity for executives of major sales operations to exchange ideas, ask questions, and if nothing else, extend networks.

Today, I happened upon one fella in particular I would like to share with you. And would love your feedback on...

Picture this:
Mid 50's, 17 year tenure at his place of employment, VP of Sales in the Mid West, 27 contacts in his LinkedIn network.

His response to my email request was:

"I would be delighted to speak and share my industry leading sales best practices for a flat fee of $20m. Fifty-percent due prior to the conversation, fifty-percent after. Otherwise, don't have time."

The same amount of time it took him to write that crafty response was the same amount of time it would have taken him to pick up the phone and speak with another VP of Sales in the United States, running a sales organization that does over $100m in annual revenue. You think that would have been a better use of his time?

My question is two fold:

1. How do we convince "old school" that "new school" is time well spent?

2. What do you do when you encounter opposition like this? Give up, isn't an option...


Saturday, December 25, 2010

B2B Demand Generation; Raise Your Hand!

Demand generation, is the focus of targeted marketing programs, which attempt to drive awareness and interest in a company's products and or services.

As a B2B company, we are a solution to a perceived problem.  Some sort of compelling event has recently mandated a need for change and the search is on for a better more effective solution.  Although a change is understood to be needed, the opportunities for solutions could be infinite.

The guy in this ad was able to find a match for a service and talent that he possessed, with someone that found it useful.  Volkswagen might not have known they needed a pen twirling salesman to do their newest commercials, but he made them "raise their hand", and say, "we want you".


How do we create a demand for the pen twirling solution that we possess?  And when your potential client says to you, "well this company does the same thing for less money", are you going to be able to show them that you can twirl two pens?

There are multiple steps required when building a solid demand gen process:
  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Preference
  • Intent
I have included a Demand Generation Best Practices  outline that was provided by Jesse Noyes and our wonderful friends at Eloqua.

2011, the year of Marketing 2.0, Sales 2.0 and everything that is one giant step more fantastic than it once was.  The Demand Generation Best Practices is a great place to start.  In the upcoming series of blogs I will go through each of the four steps mentioned above that support a strong demand generation initiative and tie in those best practices supplied by Jesse Noyes


Monday, December 20, 2010

Marketing 2.0 or Inception?

The theme for Marketing 2.0 in 2011 should be, "Inception"

As we find ourselves full speed ahead in Marketing 2.0, buying processes are changing.  Decision makers are doing more of the leg work themselves and there is less use of the vendor's expertise. As one white paper stated, we are experiencing a "continuing and irreversible shift in information power from the vendor to the consumer.” 

These are the suggested remedies from the article, for the perceived shift in power:
1. Recognize Your Ideal Customers
2. Identify Key Catalysts for Change
3. Learn How to Navigate the BuyerSphere
4. Sell the Way Your Prospects Want to Buy
5. Make a Compelling Case for Change

My question is, why not simply go to the source of the ideas? Their inception.

Our marketing initiatives need to be well thought out, multi level, multi dimensional plans, that ultimately will suggest our solution in the same place a solution is being sought.

We do this through several steps:
1. Establish Credibility
-Twitter, LinkedIn
2. Create Content
-Blogs, White Papers, You Tube
3. Listen and Participate
-Create a Listening Station, Join Groups
4. Advertise
-Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click advertising (A great place to start Google Adwords For Dummies)

The decision maker of today is doing her own research, and engaging in the buying process far later than ever before. We have the opportunity to make our ideas her own, at the point of inception.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Social Media for Beginners

I was reviewing my copy of the Social Media Playbook(A beginners guide to everything social!) that was so generously put together by some great people at Eloqua. (Jess3 and Joe Chernov @jchernov) (If you aren't familiar with Eloqua or their work, definitely check them out.)
And, as advertised, I would like to share with you my learnings from the presentation, but I recommend you still take a look at the Social Media Playbook yourself:


· Continue to engage consistently and authentically while adding strategic thinking and planning to your companies effectiveness

· The most important first step in social media is to listen before speak

· Recognize others, cite sources in blogs, reference contributors

· If you are supporting your own company’s information with SM platforms be sure that Twitter/Linkedin Bio’s reflect the employment.

· Less than 11% of all US Internet users visit twitter, with 5%-7% of those actually participating in the platform

· The shelf life of tweets in terms of impact ranges from a few hours to a few minutes

· As you grow, be selective of the number of people that you follow… Stay around 1,000

· Tweets can be 140 characters but try to limit to 100-120 so that if someone wants to retweet it there is room for a comment or personalization by the retweeter

· Reciprocity is the currency of the web

· Don’t be afraid to show personality

· Too much corporate promotion can lead followers to tune you out

· Almost all sites that assign account holders a twitter score place a high value on activity level

· 90% about others 10% about you

· Participate in existing conversations by using established hash tags

· Your organization should also be sure to comment on industry related topics

· Hootsuite-Can schedule tweets to go out on specific date and time… Can manage multiple twitter accounts

· Twubs-Allows you to save capture and archive hash tag based discussions


· Internet users spend more time on Facebook than Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia, and Amazon COMBINED…

· Spike in web traffic due to shared FB links

· FB has yet to offer metrics similar to Google analytics, which would enable Page administrators to gain a deeper understanding of their page’s fans and visitors.


· Your blog should ideally be the hub of your company’s content creation wheel by providing relevant commentary and news that positions you as an insider in your particular industry

· Support colleagues, tweet about it, share a link

· The more diverse, expert and useful your posts are, the greater your chances are to increase leads

· Follow up with a lead with a link to a colleague’s blog as a suggestion to further the relationship

· Build relationships with influencers and leads

· Follow competitors Blogs


· 60 million registered users

· The platform allows you to identify the types of connections that your connections have and to see how far away the people you want to get to are.

· Have the potential to rank well for your name in search results


· Google rewards multimedia content with a higher search rank


· The most important reference site on the internet

· 5th most visited website in the US and 6th in the world

Content marketing or inbound marketing, increasingly is becoming a lead generation discipline. Sirius Decisions predicts that by 2015 more than 75% of leads will be sourced by inbound channels

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Field of Dreams

I was perusing my listening station this morning.  Reading blogs that were identified by my google reader account as pertinent to the keywords which I had chosen.  I came across one that was a very interesting read, discussing the presumptive notion, and the cliche parallel, between the classic movie, "Field of Dreams" and sales strategies.  

The original contention was that the age old quote, "If you build it, they will come" which was spoken by a ghostly sounding voice coming from the cornfields of Iowa, to baseball fanatic Ray Kinsella(Kevin Costner), is what sales people believe, or have believed.  Otherwise translated to, if you build the right product it will sell itself.

Through many references, the resulting contrarian view stated by the writer was, that you must also prove value for them to come.

So the secret to sales is build something, prove value and voila, they'll appear!

Lead generation could very well be the easiest it has ever been right now, and yet major corporations continue to struggle with the amount of MQL's(marketing qualified leads) they are fed from their marketing initiatives.  The ability to generate more leads has been an age old problem, and I am not contesting that the problem will evaporate.  Quite the opposite. The need for qualified leads has never been greater, with companies rebounding from dips in annual revenue, budget cuts, and hiring freezes.  It is a race to capture these leads.  

We are experiencing a marketing perfect storm right before our eyes.  
1.  Decision makers are searching for solutions in the same forums that you and I access each day.
2.  Not only do we access them, but we have permission to access them.  We can follow on twitter, we can be friends on facebook, we can be part of their network on Linkedin.  
3.  The only thing these opportunities cost us is time.  

If you could spend 5-10 hours of each week, branding your company, positioning your product or service as a solution, and being in the forum, discussion, or google search, that people are looking for solutions, then you have just found the eye of the storm.

This doesn't happen overnight, but with some concerted effort, each and every one of us can brand ourselves and our companies to get our message out without going door to door, or sending out direct mail.  

Whoever embraces social media now as a platform for branding and lead generation will be ahead in the race to grab market share for the next decade and beyond.  The ROI will not be measured in terms of dollars and cents.  Not this year anyway.  The cycle length is long, but this is about being front of mind when someone needs you to solve their problem.

The most memorable and equally forgotten quote of the movie spoken by Terence Mann(James Earl Jones) was, "They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack."  

If you build it, provide value, AND find the people looking for peace, they will come.

search twitter for #virtualcoffee


Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the first day...

I stayed away from social media as long as I could.  I avoided facebook much longer than most and  twitter was without question a no no.  The narcissistic connotation that I had formed around the mediums, deterred my interest for quite sometime.  It wasn't until I began exploring the social media scene as a means to brand myself, and to develop business, did I truly embrace the idea.

Now you are either saying, ya, thats what I want to do, or, huh??

I have found that when most get involved, including myself, there are many friends, co workers, and colleagues who's knowledge far exceeds ours on simple questions like what is a re-tweet?  We might be reluctant to jump in because the sea is so wide and so deep.  But with anything else there is always a place to start.  There is always a way to ship it and fix it.

My first piece of unsolicited advice would be, determine what it is that you are trying to achieve.  
My friend emailed me today, and thanked me for turning him on to Twitter.  He was ready to use it for work.  He was ready because he knew what his objectives were.  Aaron, how do I obtain a larger following?  How do I brand myself to become the go to Real Estate professional?  Those were his questions.  That is where we start....

What are you trying to achieve through social media?

Search #virtualcoffee on twitter