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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, 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.

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  1. Excellent post Aaron.
    I'm just starting my own business and have been trying to wrap my head around how to practically implement a social media strategy that provides value. I am particularly indebted to Chris Brogan who has freely shared his wisdom and insight to all those interested in Human Business. His tweet led me to your blog.

    Perhaps I'm being a bit naive but I see social media as an opportunity to recapture what biz must have been like in small communities prior to our current age of high mobility. There, folks would be plugged in to a community and would actually know the folks they wanted as customers. They would identify needs and opportunities to help easily, because they actually interacted with them. With virtual communities we also have that same level of contact, perhaps better. No more dialing strangers for dollars; rather getting to know where we can help and if it is of mutual benefit a business relationship will follow. That mutual benefit may be referring a prospect to someone else.

  2. AS Drew said above, I'm here because Chris provided the sign post pointing here. I'm also new to the Social Network and as it appears blogging or atleast this blog is a new venture for you. As a 50 year old I'm as excited about this "new" thing in my life as I've ever been. I hope to "launch" mine in the next few weeks. Perhaps we will cross paths again and share stories, encouragement, tips, ideas, dreams, ...

    Be blessed my new friend.

  3. Drew,
    Thank you for your comments. This must be an exciting time for you starting your new business. Without knowing the particulars, I would throw caution to the wind when implementing a strategy. It can be particularly overwhelming if you try to do everything all at once. The word you used was practically, keep that in mind. Have a vision, understand what future state will look like, and be practical! Just remember this is version 1 of many to come...

    With regards to the second half of your comments, there is a lot of "noise" when embracing social media as a platform. What I mean by that is that it is easy to get caught up in followers, networks, blogs, friend requests... etc, etc, etc. Keep the "noise" to a minimum. Set goals. Short term goals that keep you disciplined. For example Instead of following as many people as you can with your Twitter account, use Advanced Twitter Searchto find 5 quality people to follow each day.
    Don't be a stranger. Keep me posted!

  4. Jim_G! Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to ask questions and share your journey with us. Either here or @aaronmandelbaum