Monthly Archives: February 2009

Yes, Jobs and Opportunities

So, while I am not the one who typically writes these blogs – my partner, Tom is, I decided today to step out on the wild side. This current business environment has been non-stop—or so it feels like it to me— gloom and doom. According to a recent Forbes article, 108,123 individuals were laid-off in December of ’08 in companies ranging from the obvious Merrill Lynchs of the world to the Targets and everything in between. That’s one month. Merry Christmas.

However, here on the front-lines of everyday getting by, we’re seeing plenty of companies in search of very specific, special talent. The Raleigh-based imarketingmix site lists a variety of (and yes I am partial to noticing ‘marketing-type’ jobs—imagine that) positions available.

With so much TALENT out there right now, I wonder how any of these slots stay open for more than minutes at a time? And, I fear the requirements for such positions. I can just hear it now: “Well, Mr. Jones, you’d like this product manager position, would you? How many lives have you saved in the last six months, huh?”

One of our clients, InCentric, is in need of technical sales people. Why isn’t there a line busting down their door? Or, maybe now there will be? StrikeIron is seeking a CRM partner marketing manager.

What does it all mean? In this time of great uncertainty the fact still remains that businesses that ‘get it’ will seize the opportunity—whether it’s a direct hire that fits the bill, or a fast-moving partner that gets them where they need to be—quickly. And, what better time than now than to get a miracle-worker, life-saver as the newest team member? Share your thoughts with me. Got a job to publicize? How about a need to fill? Maybe you’re out paving your own way now. Tell us what your doing and how you’re doing it.

Jack

Telling your story for you – the customer success story.

Telling your story for you – the customer success story.

OK—Quick quiz: Where does the technology vendor rank in the credibility pyramid?

1st  2nd 3rd 4th

If you said 4th, you’re dead right. At the top of that pyramid, people trust their own experience, the experience of others like them and media, analysts or objective third parties. This is why the Customer Case Study is so valuable.

Whether you call them Case Studies or Success Stories, these testimonials are an essential part of your marketing mix. Having customers tell your story for you is one of the best ways to get the word out. If you Google customer case study, you’ll find companies such as Dell have entire case study centers. Sun includes its case studies on its Customer Reference Program page, which is the ideal uberstrategy for customer case studies.

Approaching a customer can yield more than just a story. First off, you can obtain a quote, excellent for collateral, presentations and the website. Then there is the quick case—just a few paragraphs that can be placed on the web to entice further exploration. And of course, there’s the full case. This can follow the angles you choose:  A successful partnership, ROI, a competitive advantage.

Create the right mix:

Don’t simply select your biggest or best companies. Look for hooks that will help people relate. Choose industries, choose unique applications and demonstrate the breadth of your products and services.

Include the right things:

  • Sell through the headline and the first two paragraphs
  • Use bullet point summaries
  • Include images
  • Choose a pull-quote to pop off the page

Promote it right

Pitch it to media before publishing it on your site. Link to it from your blog or from your company Facebook page. Reference it in newsletters to customers, and communications with analysts and partners.

Engage a media partner to host it and e-blast promotional materials on it. They can drive traffic to a registration page that captures their contact information. This can cost thousands, but can deliver hundreds of leads. Did you make a video or podcast? Host in from your site and put it out on Youtube. This video from Summit’s customer Mi-Corporation only references a customer, but aptly shows the power of the technology backed by the customer’s savings.

Summit can show you how a customer case study can play a role from PR to sales support, to partner recruitment, to internal morale boosting. Tell us how you approach customer case studies. We’ll show you how to leverage them even further.

Marketing: What to do now?

You may have noticed that Superbowl XLIII (sounds like plus-sized clothing) featured ads that acknowledge our current tough economic time. All cynicism aside, I feel it’s smart to acknowledge that A) The Truth We See Around Us is indeed The Truth; and B) Consumers aren’t stupid.

We’re in a neato paradox right now: We are pulling back from an orgy of spending but being told we need to spend to keep the economy going. “Save!” is what the money advisor types say, and “Spend” is what everyone in government hopes and prays that we’ll do.

OK. So that’s the consumer world.

In the business world, especially in high ticket sales of technology and services, we’ve seen a tightening for quite a while. We’re in reality world, where it sucks just a little more everyday. Except, maybe not. This February’s Gartner 2009 Marketing Spending and Priorities conference call claims spending is being maintained, and even increased, especially online. (Disclaimer: the call is for Gartner subscribers only.)

Summit’s opinion is that you should spend AND save.

Inventory is cheap for marketing vehicles. Look at your latest favorite journal—it weighs 20% less not because of a lack of editorial content. Nope. Thin books are the result of less advertising. Inventory is cheap elsewhere too, from newsletter sponsorships, to conference and trade shows, to targeted direct marketing via media properties. Your message now can go further because the clutter quotient is down. It’s “Let’s make a deal time”—unless you’re marketing in the white hot green space. Except for, say, Dwell Magazine. Their book is full of ads for delicious green consumery stuff.

This lack of clamor means you should take a little time to review your marketing mix and find the right slots to put your message out there. And talk to your customers. Heck, we’ll even help you.

Look to develop new content to increase your thought leadership profile. That, in turn, could be a hook for a newsletter, a white paper or an editorial piece. And these, tied back to your web site, increase your search engine optimization.

It’s a new year. Give your plan a new look. And tell us, in this cut-throat, cut-back market, what are YOU doing to stand out? [polldaddy poll=1337777]