Posts Tagged ‘webinars’

Listen for the action, test the speak

by Guy Ralfe on October 8, 2009

 Coordinate ActionHave you noticed how people come out of meetings and they question if someone that they were meeting with understood them or was telling the truth? I hear this often after meetings around negotiation when trying to find common ground or negotiating the way forward on projects. Our “bullshit” senses are triggered when we notice an inconsistency between what is spoken and what is done.

In business today people seem to be busier than ever before. With technology so many more interactions take place on a daily basis than at a lifetime ago. People find themselves in many situations daily where people are making requests and offers to them. Due thought is not always given to each request and the committed response is often based on a mood or a perceived ‘right’ answer just to move on to the next interaction. What people are not doing is thinking about the consequences of these spoken answers. How much time, effort and trust it costs each time the requester and recipient leave with different interpretations and then perform inconsistently with each others’ expectations.

Michel de Montaigne wrote over 400 years ago –

The true mirror of our discourse is the course of our lives.

What we really believe and think at the time is truly expressed in the actions we perform afterward. The good news from this is that humans have been consistent at this for well over 400 years so we can count on it continuing into the future and it will be worth our efforts to improve our skills in this regard, as it will greatly increase the efficiency with which we can execute projects and negotiate agreements aligned with both parties concerns.

Recently I was in a conversation where a client was very dissatisfied about a particular product delivery and they wanted to quit the development project. The supplier also liked the idea of quitting as the fixed price scope had crept out of sight and costs were at three times anticipated with an open punch list still to be contended with. As both parties were about to close and agree to walk away the supplier mentioned that they could have the components uninstalled in an hour, to which the client suddenly gasped out “why do you want to do that?”. While this startled the supplier it quickly became apparent that the spoken commitment by the client was very different from the actions that would have taken place had the conversation ended before the suppliers declaration of action.

This conversation ended well because the supplier declared the consequential action of the request, which avoided what would have been a very tense, and likely costly situation had the supplier just acted as he thought he had agreed.

Here are 5 tips to try in future engagements to build trust, coordination and efficiency:

  • Listen more – the more people speak the more consistent they will speak in terms of their true concerns
  • Repeat the request – when making a request ask the person you have made the request to, to tell you what they heard and/or what actions they plan to take.
  • Ask more questions – about the importance, value, action to be taken from the counterparts perspective
  • Always make an assessment of the moods – lookout for moods of resigned, despair, indifference, overwhelmed
  • Check-in informally – truths are often revealed in different settings and surroundings

There is a lot of posturing and politics in the marketplace, but one thing you can be certain of is that people act for what they truly care about. You don’t see people doing anything they do not care for. So always listen for the action.

Branding – Don’t get caught in the hype!

by Laura Lowell on October 7, 2009

hypeSo…you have an exciting strategy; your messages are relevant and consistently integrated throughout your brand and all customer touch points.  Now you need an actionable marketing plan that delivers your message to your customers in ways that will increase the chance that they will pay attention, and ultimately buy whatever it is that you’re selling.

There is a lot of talk about the latest new trend (Twitter, vlogs or who-knows-what’s-next) and the coolest new technology.  However, these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This point bears repeating…these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This is the kind of thing that sounds so simple – it is common sense.  Unfortunately, it isn’t commonly practiced.

It is critical to the success of your brand that you identify customer-preferred communication vehicles and prioritize those above things that are “really hot” at the moment.  While they may be the latest fad, they might not generate the results you want.

Different marketing tools are good at doing different things – think screwdrivers and hammers.  This is, again, why it is so important to know what your goals and objectives are so that you can select the right tools for the job.  The right balance between online and offline marketing vehicles ensures that you are reaching your target customers in a variety of ways which will improve your overall results – whether they are to increase awareness or to generate demand.

For example, if you are a start-up just launching your company, you need to generate awareness that you exist. PR is a very cost-effective tool to do this.  You also need a website to explain what the company does.  To get the ball rolling you might launch an email and/or direct mail campaign with an introductory offer so that customers connect their business problem with your company.  If you are a small company trying to generate demand, a combination of webinars and SEO with speaking engagements and telemarketing could prove to be very effective at generating quality leads.  It is important to focus on the quality of the lead rather than the volume generated as the conversion rates tend to be much higher.

It is easy to get excited about the latest technology and cool marketing techniques.  Be careful, and remember that the end result is to achieve the business objectives – which is typically to sell more of your stuff.  This means you don’t need to do everything, but you need to strategically select a few key vehicles and do them exceptionally well.

Online and Offline Tactics for Lead Generation:  Ranked as % Very Effective at generating Quality Leads

Online Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Offline  Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Webinars

45

Speaking engagements at trade events

49

Searh engine optimization

44

Telemarketing for lead qualification

46

Paid search ads

34

In-person seminars/roadshows

44

Solo emails to house list

29

PR

35

White paper syndication service

28

Telemarketing for lead generation (cold       calling)

28

Online ads (industry specific)

20

Winning/publicizing awards

24

Offers in your email newsletter

18

Trade shows booths/marketing

24

Offers in 3rd party newsletters

13

Print newsletters

18

Online Ads (general business sites)

12

Direct (postal) mail

16

Solo emails to 3rd party lists

9

Print ads (industry specific)

11

TV and/or radio ads

8

Print ads (general business)

5

Source:  Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide 2006, MarketingSherpa, 2006