Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Posted by Cathy Belk
I just returned from the NVCA strategic communicators' meeting in the fabulous Microsoft NERD Center in Boston (Incidentally, NERD stands for Northeast R&D, but they fully embrace the acronym -- love that). It's a do-not-miss event for me because I always leave with a handful of new tools, tricks, or knowledge. This time, it was the session with HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan which rocked my world in all good ways. Here are the 5 things I took from his presentation (with many thanks and all credit to Brian...).
(As a bit of set up, Brian's core belief is that we have been through a seismic marketing transformation in that we have moved from push marketing (content is pushed to people, who have little control over it - think TV advertising) to "get found" marketing (content is available and people find it have the control, or the power, over how other people can find it.)
5. To see what a marketer has "done", just go online. Brian recommended that any portfolio company hiring a director/VP of marketing look at the online presence the person has led or created...whether that be a website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, blog, twitter activity, or other content. Look at it and discuss it together. If that person doesn't have substantive experience that impresses you, the person might still be a very smart, capable marketer, but one with old school skills. Is that what you want?
4. Content is king. Marketers now need to think like publishers. What is the content that you want to make available? Ebooks? White papers? Webinars? Videos? Obviously it's got to fit with what makes sense to your audience, but making it available is what attracts people to you. With nothing to attract people, how will your audience/customers/constituents engage with you?
3. Marketing departments will be changing dramatically. As JumpStart's web presence work has grown, I've noticed a shift in our work, with much more of it in digital communications and distribution (such as video, SEO, blog distribution, etc) relative to even a year ago. Not surprising, says Halligan, who suggested that marketing departments of today and tomorrow would actually be organized differently: 1) people who create "get found" content (e.g. writers, videographers, etc), 2) people who convert those people who have found you into customers, advocates, or brand loyalists, and 3) people who analyze results and push the organization to continuously evolve.
2. Relationships and connections still matter. While in the past relationships and connections were fostered or nurtured in person vs. the current norm of online, the number of people with whom you are connected still matters. In fact, in a world where content distribution is a major objective and it occurs through individuals who control that distribution, perhaps those relationships matter more. As an example, Halligan mentioned that he hired someone who brought with him 20,000 blog followers. Those connecting assets are actually an important part of your resume. Have you thought of hiring someone based on their online connections?
1. Marketing can create your strategic advantage. Warren Buffett said that in business, you strive every day to build a moat around your company that will protect your business from competitors; every day, you work to make that moat wider, deeper and swifter. Halligan notes that if you are doing the things outlined above-- creating connections, strengthening your links to your customers/audience members, and building them aggressively-- you are effectively making a moat that it is almost impossible for your competitors to cross. That's why it's worth doing.
What do you think?
Cathy Belk is the Chief Marketing Officer of JumpStart. She specializes in branding, marketing communications, and business management. She brings 16+ years of experience in a variety of marketing and business roles, but gets her energy from working daily with entrepreneurs and their growing companies.