I was a social media dinosaur, and you are too!

by David Johnson on March 15, 2010

If you are a marketing or sales executive over 40 (maybe even 35) and you’re oblivious to the seismic changes that are taking place in the learn, shop, buy and advocacy development process, you are a dinosaur.

Not too long ago, I was feeling pretty good about my understanding of the marketing and sales process. As a sales rep, manager and executive in the software industry, I have always been a huge advocate of “client-centric” solutions-oriented and value-based selling methodologies. And at Dendrite, we led the way in the development and deployment of campaigns that fully integrated marketing and sales activities for many of the top-20 pharmaceutical brands, improving both the physician and consumer experience, thus increasing brand loyalty and brand revenue growth. With these experiences under my belt, I really felt like I was ahead of the curve as compared to my peer group.

However, it was not until I met a young CEO of a boutique ad agency that I realized I was a dinosaur, not near extinction, but clearly off the evolutionary path. Here’s how the self-actualization process went down:

I was introduced to John through a mutual friend who I went on a golf trip with to Scotland. I first met him a little over a year ago. After some initial bonding during our first meeting, I explained my perspective on integrated marketing and sales, and how when done effectively can dramatically shorten sales cycles and drive top-line revenue growth…a little bit of chest beating, like I know what the hell I’m talking about, as an authority – lol. There were many B2B concepts I brought forward that he was unaware of, like targeting and segmentation strategies, new demand generation strategies, and advanced sales methodologies to name a few.

However, then he began to ask a series of questions. How are you helping your clients…

… leverage social media in their marketing strategies to expand reach to specific target clients?

… sales teams leverage social media to acquire new relationships and/or manage existing relationships?

…use social media as an alternative to poorly performing email and out-bound telemarketing campaigns?

…develop brand advocates?

…amplify the reach of their brand advocates to promote their brand?

…client engage their brand detractors both on-line and off-line?

… managing the syndication of user-generated content created by the social-sphere?

etc…

Not only did I not have an answer for any of the questions, I didn’t understand the questions…can you say deer in the headlights. Like last week’s post, this was another one of those “ah-ha moments”. However, this time, like all generations before me, I was letting innovation pass me by…but not for long.

Since this initial meeting I’ve pretty much dedicated every weekend to getting under the hood of social media to understand its potential impact on B2C, B2B and P2P marketing and sales. Again, I’m not a geek; I just want to understand how social media can be used in multi-channel marketing campaigns to improve sales, change behaviors or move the needle on some other tangible goal.

As a result of my one-year journey (that has ruined my golf game), I have developed a good understanding of the ginormous breadth of the social media landscape, encompassing: blogging, social networks, mobile, social mobilization strategies (get people to do stuff), video, Internet TV, Internet radio, gaming, automated syndication and tracking, widgets, bots, analytics, RSS feeds, geo-location services, sentiment tracking and analysis, influencer analysis, interactive loyalty…and the list goes on and on and on. In fact, there are so many options and permutations in social-media; I think it’s safe to say that it alone has increased the complexity of the marketer’s job by orders of magnitude (this is the topic of my next post). Of course, I’m sure the pretenders who scream, “I can tell you everything you need to know about social-media in 3 webinars for 3 easy payments” would argue the point.

This blog represents some tangible evidence of my personal education, and has proven to be an excellent example of what’s possible albeit on a very small scale (for now). More importantly, I can now answer the questions that were posed to me a little over a year ago, and I am completely jazzed at the potential social media has to offer.

Before I address the questions, let me summarize how my blog works:

First, I bought the URL www.davidrichardjohnson.com. Then I opened a hosting account on GoDaddy to host www.davidrichardjohnson.com. I created the blog in WordPress using the Thesis Template from DIYthemes www.diythemes.com.

I configured the blog so that every time a new post is made, the blog is automatically syndicated (pushed) to 6 sites. I use a trackback widget to get comment notifications, and I have widgets for SEO (search engine optimization), and two analytics widgets that provide a lot of really good information (I know who you are – lol). I could moderate the blog (erase unwanted comments) if I chose to, but for now I’m going to live on the wild side. I can also automatically syndicate all new comments to targeted groups or all sites, but I have not turned that feature on yet. Net-net, I have one dashboard where I control everything and monitor all activity…pretty powerful stuff!

Here’s what it looks like on paper:

Integrated Multi-Channel Blog

So back to the questions…

The short answer to all of the questions is that just like what can be done with my blog, it is possible for any person, company or brand to control the social media communication process by proactively shaping messaging, identifying influencers and monitoring activity. However, before you can begin this process you need to know what’s possible so you can set a new strategic course. My recommendation is that if you want to control your own destiny as it relates to economically and effectively reaching your target audiences through social media…don’t listen to the pretenders! I would suggest you first begin by trying to improve your understanding of what’s possible. Trust me, it’s worth it. The adoption curve for social media is increasing at an exponential rate and the millennials will soon be in control, and they prefer social media channels. If you don’t want to follow my path and get a little dirty, watch the videos I’ve posted, read my blog posts and take a look at my reading list (I will add the reading list within the next 24 hours).

Have a great day!

David

A few pictures from Scotland, don’t think I didn’t take a lot of crap for the pink shirt…

Royal Troon

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Anne March 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Great post Dave–you also need to check out CRUSH IT by Gary Vanyerchuk–he turned basic wine knowledge thru video and SM into an empire–you can also fan him up on Facebook–he has great ideas
MA

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Big Boy March 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Davie, I like the pink shirt!

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