The New Rules of Lead Generation: Book Review

April 30, 2013

I was fortunate to receive a copy of “The New Rules of Lead Generation“, by David T. Scott, for review. As I read the book I couldn’t help but notice that the author not only goes straight to the point (which is refreshing), he also shows a good deal of experience illustrating each lead generation tactic with clear examples.

The author, David T. Scott, is the founder and CEO of Marketfish, a data management and lead generation platform. Prior to Marketfish, David served as VP of Marketing for PeopleSoft and Intermec, and also has  Boston Consulting Group and GE in his resume. His solid business background shows that he is not just a “consultant”, “marketing guru” or some “speaker”.

But is this book for you? I hope the following review helps you make up your mind.New Rules of Lead Generation Book

New and Old Rules

First, I’ve got to say that the title left me a bit uncertain. I have read the other David Scott (the one with Meerman in the middle) book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and know that he has started a series of “new rules” books and eBooks. So my first impression was that David T. Scott (or his publisher) was trying to jump on the well known “new rules” title created by another author and take advantage of it.

Leaving the issue of the title aside, the book doesn’t focus only on “new” lead generation tactics like social media and online advertising but instead it gives you a more comprehensive roadmap for implementing a lead generation program at your company using both tried-and-true lead gen tactics like direct mail and cold calling and social media advertising, display advertising, and search engine marketing.

The Basics and More

The book starts off talking about basics of lead generation, how to develop your strategy, and gives an overview of each tactic. The first 5 chapters set up the stage and are great for someone new to marketing or that is interested in getting a better understanding of lead generation. The remaining 11 chapters go deep into each tactic.

Planning Your Strategy

According to David, there are 5 steps to a successful lead generation program:

1. Determine and plan your approach
2. Research and discover your target customer
3. Build your assets
4. Execute your test campaign
5. Measure

And he adds a ‘sixth’ step: Repeat!

Sounds simple and trivial, but unless you and your marketing organization are in sync as to what needs to get done to setup your lead gen program, it will be tough to get good (and measureable) results.

One thing I really liked was that he mentions in several places throughout the book the importance of coordinating your lead generation tactis and testing. He says “You are constantly testing and anlyzing your results to see which lead generation tactic works best for you”. This is important, because you don’t want to go ahead and spend money on certain tactics just because your competitor is doing it or because it is being talked about in the media. Testing is important if you want to improve your lead gen results.

Lead Generation Tactics

The 7 lead generation tactics that the author believes are the most successful ones are:

  • SEM
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Cold Calling
  • Direct Mail
  • Trade Shows

There’s one chapter for each of the tactics. Although you won’t get a lot of deep information on the many ways to use a certain tactic, it will get you up to speed on what exactly each one is and how it is used.

Lead Gen Basics

As I said earlier, this book focuses on the basics of lead generation. Having said that, I think the book is missing a couple of important topics. First, the author presents the reader with the AIDA framework, a model that every marketer should know. It would have been better, however, if he also had introduced the reader to the SiriusDecisions demand waterfall model that is becoming prevalent in larger B2B organizations and a key component in any discussion about lead generation tactics.

Another point I think was not stressed enough in the book is the importance of defining what exactly constitutes a lead and how this seemingly simple concept can be the cause for a great divide between sales and marketing, especially because the book is aimed not at the experienced marketer but the beginner.

Finally, is not until chapter 5 that the author talks about the marketing and sales funnel, discussing the concepts of Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Accepted Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, and Sales Qualified Opportunity. I think that it would have been better to have brought up the funnel earlier in the book to set the stage for how different lead generation tactics should help drive and move leads from one stage to another.

Regardless of these issues, the book is still a good source of information for those starting off in their marketing careers.

For more information about the book, check it out on Amazon and on the book’s website.

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A Content Rules Cheat Sheet

March 15, 2012

Content Rules Book

Edit: The PDF is now back online, link at the end of the post.

Edit: The authors of the book asked me to make a slight change to the PDF byline. Will be uploading the updated version of the Cheat Sheet shortly.

Edited: In my haste, I neglected to ask permission from the authors to put this cheat sheet together. As per their request I am taking the link down.

I’ve got to admit, I am a big fan of the “Content Rules” book, by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. No, is not groundbreaking or earth-shattering content. Actually, a lot of the stuff you probably are already doing and it kinda seems natural once you read it. But boy, is it actionable. It consolidates a lot of what is out there about content marketing and delivers it in an easy to read format with no gobbledigook or too much fanfare. Yes, I think I like it more than a few other books out there because of the straight-forwardness (is this a word?) of the language the authors use.

While a longer book review is in order, I just wanted to share something I’ve created with you. The book is based on 11 content rules:

  1. Embrace being a publisher
  2. Insight inspires originality
  3. Build momentum
  4. Speak human
  5. Reimagine, don’t recycle
  6. Share or solve, don’t shill
  7. Show, don’t just tell
  8. Do something unexpected
  9. Stoke the campfire
  10. Create wings and roots
  11. Play to your strengths

As you might imagine, each rule alone is not much and anyone can do it. Heck you are probably already doing a handful even without knowing. But, like a good superhero story, when put together they unleash the power of great content creation.

For those of us who read the book and keep coming back to it for additional insights, I have created a “Content Rules Cheat Sheet“. Is basically the list of rules put together nicely in a PDF that you can download, print, and peg to your wall/board/monitor/etc. Use it as a reminder and as a checklist. Give to the new intern to make a few copies and spread around the office and present your team members with a copy printed in nice paper. Click below to view and download it.


The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing

January 17, 2012

Note: This is a guest post by Lior Levin. See Lior’s bio at the end.

The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing is one of ProBlogger’s newest ebooks, written by the Web Marketing Ninja. ProbBlogger was started by Darren Rowse, who wrote the most popular of the ProBlogger products, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
Written specifically for bloggers, this online marketing guide features yet another set of 31 steps intended to help bloggers start making money with their blogs. Many bloggers go years and years without seeing readership increase or any revenue at all. This practical guide is intended to change all of that.For Those Who Want the Next Level

For me, one of the things that separates this guide from the (seemingly) thousands of others is that it’s advanced, while still maintaining the tried and true step-by-step style Problogger is known for. So many products, selling from a dollar to over $100, seem to focus on just one thing: starting a blog. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’re well past the point of starting a blog. Now you want to see it actually DO something for you.

My biggest takeaway is that there is so much more to blogging for profit than great content. Yep, content is King, but even kings have armies, a staff, and a whole bunch of other things in place to make sure everything works out. We spend so much time creating great content that sits and earns nothing because we do not understand basic, but still largely misunderstood business practices. Something that occurred to me was that even SEO and design seem quite small when you take a step back and really look at what you are trying to accomplish – a real money-making business.

Blogging well is a feat all on its own. But once that is mastered, there is the bigger task of turning a blog into a viable business – which it can be.

But trying to figure out exactly how to make money blogging isn’t easy, unfortunately. And there is a lot of trial and error – without some sort of navigational guide. You could end up spinning your wheels, getting burned out, and giving it up altogether. I have personally been down that road more than once with blogging.

Advertising revenue has always been a money-making vehicle, but all too often, only pennies are generated even when a blog has thousands and thousands of visitors per month.Along came the idea of products – and selling them via blogs. Monetizing a blog with products that are developed and sold by the blogger is becoming more and more popular, and one of the best ways to make money blogging. But there is still a lot of confusion around developing products that people want, selling them the right way, for the right price, and to the right group of people.

So in true ProBlogger style, The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing includes practical, step-by-step tips. Rather than just an overview of things you’ve heard before, this guide is based in theory and logic and then followed up by simple things to do to start to see the steps work.

As so many successful bloggers will admit, making money from blogging truly is like building a house, and there are foundational elements and then others that you build on top of them. It’s important to get things in order.

Features and Freebies

The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing includes 31 chapters of blog and business building insight, including chapters such as

  • Understand the competition
  • Conduct the “three second” test
  • Understand your monetization options (how you make money)
  • Organize and plan products
  • Survey your customers
  • Know when to stop marketing

The guide also includes “more than 21 documents, templates, worksheets, and examples to help you put the Ninja’s advice into practice immediately.” These include the all-important things like examples of good, effective sales pages, and email templates. They are huge time savers and also put the steps into perspective.

Read more about The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing here, including a complete list of chapters and information about the authors.

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing advisor for a shipment company that offers Pre shipment inspections, and who also advises for the Tel Aviv University’s department of ma in security.


Inbound Marketing Analytics 101

December 14, 2011

HubSpot does it again, taking content that is not necessarily new or revolutionary and putting it in a nicely formatted eBook that makes reading it a pleasure.

With “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics“, you get an overview of what to measure and why. Especially useful for small companies and those who are just starting out with their marketing programs and need some help identifying key metrics, the eBook is packed with good advice.

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Analytics eBook

Inbound Marketing Analytics Overview

In the eBook you will see metrics for the following marketing tactics:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Lead Nurturing & Marketing Automation
  • Your Website & Landing Pages
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Search
  • Business Blogging

The benefits of analyzing your marketing performance according to HubSpot are:

1. Identify what’s working.
2. Identify what’s not working.
3. Identify ways to improve.
4. Implement more of the tactics that work to improve marketing performance

Agreed!

Get your free copy of the “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics” eBook.

Introduction to Marketing Analytics eBook


How Viral Marketing Can Kill You

July 13, 2011

Flu Shots Sign picture from Confluence! by smilla4 @ FlickrViral Marketing, or the spread of ideas (also called Word of Mouth Marketing) is usually thought of as a good thing. You create a video or a campaign and everyone starts talking about it. You go home happy and maybe even get a promotion. But sometimes the “viral” element more closely resembles the bad kind, the on that kicks you in the teeth and puts you out in bed for a week.

Scott Stratton, author of “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” tells in his book a personal account of how a viral marketing campaign went wrong. It is the best example I’ve seen so far of a)someone owning to his mistakes, and b)a marketing idea backfiring really bad.

The Start of a Good Idea

As Scott tells in his book, he was into motivational speaking and decided to put out a short video (this was in 2004, way before YouTube became the default video sharing site) in his website. It was really a rotating slide show with background music and some inspiring text on top, nothing fancy but was well done. You can watch it at www.thetimemovie.com.

His intent was to get people to watch the video, and contact him for a speaking engagement. Did he get what he wanted? Well, yes and no. He did get over 4 million views (yes, 4 million!) but… things didn’t necessarily work according to plan. Here’s why.

Breaking the Bank

After creating and uploading the video to his server, which was just a regular ISP that hosted his site, Scott emailed a couple hundred people from his list about it. Emails started coming back saying they were getting a “Page not found” error. Oops, what’s wrong? Well, his server had a monthly bandwidth limit, meaning only a certain number of hits to the page and downloads were allowed based on the plan he had at the time. That meant people were going to his site and because he had already exceeded his monthly allotted bandwidth, the server was denying visitors the video!

As he called the ISP and asked them to remove the bandwidth limit, the video went back online and people starting watching it. In droves. He got a $1,400 bill (a bit more than the typical $9 per month he had before the video went up) due to the hundreds of thousands hits he was getting on his video page. And that was just for that last week of the month! Ouch!

Engaging Viewers

Having put up a landing page to capture people’s email addresses was a good idea, but a friend pointed out that it was too confusing, there was just too much about him on the page and no clear call to action. With a quick redesign, he increased conversion from 8% to 24% and started amassing 4,000 new emails per day that he would later use for his newsletter.

Trying to avoid even more expenses (the scar left from the monthly hosting bill was still visible) Scott then decided against using an ESP (email service provider) and went ahead to email his newly acquired list using Outlook Express. Yup, not the full featured MS Outlook businesses use via an Exchange server, but the stripped down consumer version that used to come free with every new MS Office installation.

The process was simple, but time consuming. He would download the new emails captured by the landing page (19 hours downloads) and manually cut and paste each one into the email client. Out of frustration he deleted 140,000 email addresses. In the first couple weeks.

After also playing with free open source scripts to help get the email addresses imported into his email client, and not being able to do so, Scott caved in and went with Aweber, an email service provider which made the job of getting emails and sending out newsletters much easier.

Successful Failure?

There are those who would love to win the lottery, and those who actually play it. That’s what this next episode of his viral marketing gone wrong reminds me of. Scott was trying to get speaking engagements and created a great video that went viral. The problem is that he never actually believed, or was prepared, for the number of speaker kits he received. Back in ’04 when you wanted to screen someone prior to offering an speaking engagement, you would ask for  a “speaker kit”, which consisted of a resume, pictures, and tape reel showing snippets of that person actually giving a talk.

So after two weeks of the movie going live, 50 requests came in. How many speaker kits did Scott have prepared for the eventuality? Zero. And he was personally doing every speaker kit himself (printing, making copies, punching holes, and mailing). About 785 speaker requests came in before he was able to work out a good process to fulfill them properly. Requests for one of his “Relaxation on Demand” CDs were so many he had to refund people’s money because he couldn’t have burned the CD’s (yes, he was doing it himself) on time… and people complained they just wanted the product!

So, in the end was it all a waste? I wouldn’t say so, since Scott was able to book over $100,000 in new business but he definitely lost some potential business. The worst that could have happened I guess is if his reputation had been ruined because of that, which didn’t happen.

A Viral Marketing Lesson

“Please learn from my pain” – Scott Stratten

What can we learn from Scott’s mistakes?

  • Define success: what do you consider success? How will you be able to tell whether your viral marketing campaign was successful? Define metrics that you’ll use to make sure you haven’t wasted your time or money.
  • Be prepared for the traffic: can your website, call center, sales reps, and other relevant operations handle the potential surge in traffic? Sure, today you have YouTube to host videos but make sure you have all pieces in place before you start the viral engine. You don’t want it to break as the user is clicking your “buy now” button or similar.
  • Collect and Engage: make sure you have a way to collect information from those interested in learning more about your products or services, and have a process that will make collecting such information easy on you. Tweak your landing page, and test different versions. Also have a plan for following up and keeping up the interest and dialogue.
  • Plan for the success, and for the failure: be prepared, and react fast. Whether your success is bigger than anticipated or the idea failed miserably, know how you will handle it and make sure your team (if you have one) is ready.

Failure stories abound on the Internet, I just had not seen such a detailed account of “I screwed up” from someone like Scott. For more info on his book, check out the link below.

P.S.: If you’re in San Francisco you should come to the San Francisco Marketing Book Club where we’ll be discussing UnMarketing during our upcoming meeting.

Amazon Link to UnMarketing

UnMarketing Book cover


Killer Presentations

May 26, 2011

As marketers is our job to create meaningful content that will help influence sales. You will eventually find yourself not only writing copy for an eBook, whitepaper or email campaign but also having to create and deliver presentations. That’s where you can shine. Let me explain.

The Suckiness Factor

Most presentations suck. That’s a fact of life and I think that there are people with genetic predisposition to put together boring presentations. No matter how hard they try, people will not be enticed  by new bullet colors and the almost funny jokes.

Think back to the past few presentations you’ve attended. Either from other departments in your company or even delivered via webinar. Now score them according to the “suckiness factor” below:

  • Zero: Outstanding presentation, didn’t feel the time go by.
  • One: Good presentation, I’ve learned something today.
  • Two: Meh, I’ve seen better.
  • Three: What time is it? Wake me up when it’s over.
  • Four: Ugh! All those bullet points are giving me headaches.
  • Five: Stop! Please make it stop! I can’t take it anymore!
This won’t make you feel better but at least you now have something to do during those presentations.

Creating Quality Presentations

The goal of understanding which presentations suck and why, is so that you can avoid the same mistakes when creating yours. Whether you will deliver them yourself or you are creating them for a sales pitch, a demo, conference, or any other event the important thing is to make sure your presentation won’t suck!

The first thing you should do is watch Garr Reynolds explaining how to create great presentations at this Google Talk recorded session (video embedded below).

After you’ve watched the video above, go buy his book, Presentation Zen. It’s an easy read that can take your current presentation and improve it 10x. I’m not kidding.


Flip the Funnel Book Review

October 13, 2010

At the San Francisco Marketing Book Club meeting last week we discussed “Flip the Funnel: How to use existing customers to gain new ones“, by Joseph Jaffe. 

What’s the verdict?  Buy the book. OK, now the explanations and caveats.

First, the book talks about the essential function of customer service and how to leverage it with today’s current technologies, including (of course) social media. If you haven’t read much about customer service or if marketing isn’t your background, then the book will be a good starting point. For those that have some experience and background on the topic of excellence in customer service and have read one of the many classic books out there, then a lot of it will be just a review of what has already been said.

My biggest disappointed was that the author used mostly well known examples to illustrate his points. JetBlue, Domino’s, United Airlines, Zappos, and others are cases that we marketers already know. I would have liked to see other companies that he has worked with and are not so obvious and how they implemented his recommendations or how they have failed to recognize the importance of “flipping the funnel”. But then, maybe I’m not the target market for this book.

The other thing to be aware is that Mr. Jaffe is a bit verbose. If you have listened to his podcasts or seen his videos, then you know what I’m talking about. I felt like skipping a few pages just so I could get right to the point. Others may be ok with his style, but it just made it much harder for me to make progress. You should read an excerpt or check it out at the local bookstore to see if you like how he writes before buying the book.

But don’t be fooled, there are some really good ideas in the book:

Where is the money going?

Early in the book he makes the case that we’re spending money on the wrong side of the funnel. “Shouldn’t we be spending money against qualified prospective buyers versus shots in the dark at bagging a random stranger?”. He continues saying “The marketing funnel produces customers – but then does nothing with them.”

How right he is! Why is it we spend all that money and effort into getting people interested just to forget about them once we get the purchase order? There’s gold to be mined in existing customers and the book treats this as the new mantra for marketing. In Jaffe’s words “Keeping, cultivating, and nurturing existing customers and establishing unbreakable bonds with them”.

Segment and Treat Customers Differently

Although the methodology varies based on your industry and whether you are a B2B or B2C company, the big picture is clear. “The more opportunities we give our customers to engage us (as opposed to us engaging them), the more likely they’ll be able to do just that”, and I completely agree. According to Jaffe, we should segment customers into “walkers”, “talkers”, and “hybrid”, and deploy distinct approaches for each one. His new “flipped funnel” approach to doing that is called A.D.I.A (Acknowledgement, Dialogue, Incentivization, and Activation).

The Customer Experience

The whole point of the “new” flipped funnel approach is to create this unique “customer experience”, which means giving customers ways in which they can interact with the brand, and we can interact back with them. Sure, this is not new, but he suggests that “companies need to have an intensive, omnipresent approach to dealing with their customers”. Does this sound like your company? I know, everyone talks about how important the customer is, etc but very few companies really put the necessary resources behind that. The payback, he argues, is that “customers will pay a premium for higher perceived value”, and such value is likely to be how customers are treated. Customer service becomes your product, or better yet, the differentiator between your product and your competitor’s.

Social Media Still Not Treated Seriously

Where I think the book falls short is on the implementation side. It talks about companies having to deploy capabilities across every single customer touchpoint, connecting the dots between the physical and virtual world and giving customer service the strategic value it deserves, but there’s not much in terms of HOW companies are doing that. Although, if the research from MS&L mentioned in the book is correct (one third of companies are not incorporating social media in marketing efforts, and of 63% that were, a full two-thirds had not made changes to products or marketing based on customer feedback), then the problem is actually there aren’t many good examples to follow. Are we entering a new world, travelling a path very few have survived? We’ll see.

 

In sum, if you’ve already read a few books on the subject, you’re not going to gain anything new but for the novice or uninitiated this book may be just what you need to get your company on the right track to flipping the funnel and gaining new customers.


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