Digital Marketing: Alignment
Digital Marketing: Alignment
In a spiritual continuation of our discussion on the promise of using the internet to deliver tailored messages to interested consumers, we talk about the big thing that's missing from the whole picture. Alignment. As a growing IT firm, we see alignment everyday. Our friends, family, and referral network is currently our main source of business (thank you!) Point being we are not at the point where we are reaching out and expanding our business through cold calling, and building new relationships ourselves.
CL Simplex Business Development
Our philosophy behind business development is earning trust and building on that trust over the course of multiple projects. It may sound obvious, but it actually means something a little different from what we see as the more typical approach. Our approach means being available to take calls, troubleshoot, and going above and beyond. We go above and beyond so we can win new business and make more money. We often trade short-term gains for long term stability and returning, happy relationships. Alignment is a big part of our success - we need to do business with organizations that are on a similar trajectory and have similar philosophies.
Digital Marketing Cold Calls
We once got approached to be a sponsor for a digital marketing event in Vancouver. While we were discovered via some market research (likely automated) and we were sent an automated marketing letter (hello, INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEING...) there was poor alignment. We sent a reply to this person (who is a growing star in the Vancouver tech/business community) and didn't even hear back from them! Can't wait for next year's cold call. Alignment appears to us to be the holy grail of digital marketing, which existing tools have yet to capture. In other words, the robots aren't smarter than people...yet.
Broad vs. Focused Business Development
People are well trained in tuning out broad stroke/shotgun marketing efforts. I make an effort to mute commercials and block ads any chance I get. That being said, I would be intrigued by something that I need/want (yet I want privacy!) Organizations need to be smarter about how they target individuals online - rather new business in general. Even with "big data" and huge stockpiles of consumer information, market alignment is still a massive issue as data itself is meaningless without a footing in reality.
Tools Don't Deliver Business Alignment
Marketing appears to have shot itself in the foot. Marketing tools have oversold their abilities and promised these magic cranks where data goes in and money comes out. Money comes from trusted business relationships, now and ever. A bad cold call is a bad cold call - even if you use a venture capital backed, deep learning, SAAS email sales tool. In the face of increasingly arcane/automated tools and echo chambers, effective marketers must be able to spot alignment themselves and deliver a genuine message to prospects.
When All You Have is a Shotgun - Everything Looks Like a Lead
Fun story - our spam folders are chock full of "Hey bro - looking to touch base" messages which seem normal at first, but then you get about 5 a day from the same "person." Firms looking for explosive growth have completely abandoned what actually works (establishing connections) for something that in theory could work great (the old shotgun marketing approach but now a robot holds the shotgun.)
The Last Mile Problem
Using tools to filter/find prospects is fine. In fact, you need to these days. Automated tools can deliver excellent results, but marketers need to be willing to solve the "last mile problem" by putting in old fashioned work to find alignment. These tools need to be focused around finding potential clients/vendors and then give humans the opportunity to build relationships.
Put People Back in the Process
At the very least, some organizations have onboarding teams, but at this point alignment is already established (or lost.) I get the theory behind these mass marketing email tools. The second you get a bite, a human takes over and builds the relationship. That being said, if you send me 20 "hey dude, just following up again hope I'm not bothering you bro" messages from your marketing robot I'm not going to bite. What really bites is that these firms have put themselves in a bad position where they have taken investor funds promising to be the next facebook of data backup tools (for example), and in order to meet explosive growth, they have to resort to robots for their business development (and trust me the second we can replace Adam with a robot he is OUT OF HERE!)
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