Note to self: Business video done well – The Disqus 2012 Video

People ask me the all the time: What do you think of video for b2b?
The answer is complicated: I love video content and our market loves video content, but we have a lot to learn.

When creating video content, the rules of content marketing apply.  Time is the price your consumer has to pay to consume your content.  Viewers want to be entertained, learn something new, etc…Just ask yourself the following question: Will your buyers watch it, enjoy it, learn something, and then share it?  If you can answer those questions with: “Yes!” then you win the gold medal.  But keep in mind: If you can answer ONE of those questions with “yes”, the video is worth making. An example of my least favorite video is the faux “customer success” story with scripted answers, obvious coaching, and a background wall that has been used in mall photo shoots.  FYI: those are not watchable, enjoyable, instructive, and I will not share it.  (FYI number #2: I like interview style video as well but natural, real interviews not fake ones) [Read more…]

Creative marketing and the American way: DocuSigning Declaration of Independence campaign

Another episode of the Funnelholic’s endless search for creative fun campaigns brings us to a recent campaign from DocuSign, one of the leaders in the Esignature space. I occasionally email Meagen Eisenberg from DocuSign with crazy marketing ideas for them.  I sent her an idea and she responded with “Check this out” with a link to this Spirit of Liberty campaign.  I loved it so she connected me with Gregor Perotto from their marketing and Voila – a new post is born.

CliffsNotes version of the campaign:

DocuSign teamed up with The Spirit of Liberty Foundation to let Americans electronically sign the Declaration of Independence.  The Spirit of Liberty Foundation is a great cause. Here is their mission from their website:

The Spirit of Liberty Foundation was formed to raise funds and to assist in the restoration and maintenance of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  After the restoration was completed and as a result of 9/11, the Foundation’s mission was changed to enhance the meaning and importance of liberty.

 In 2005 the Foundation’s name was changed to The Spirit of Liberty Foundation to reflect its broader mission – enhancing the meaning of Liberty and to support our Armed Forces, with emphasis on Wounded Warriors, fallen heroes, and their Families.

 Background:

A year ago, DocuSign ran a really cool photo sharing campaign encouraging their customers to send their “interesting stories” on where they’ve DocuSigned. (editor note: This is actually another great campaign idea and the idea that I sent to Meagen.  Not surprisingly I was a year late but hey, great minds think alike)  The campaign unearthed some great stories such as a woman DocuSigning when in labor, another signing from the bathroom in Olive Garden while her daughter used the facilities and more.  The runner-up story in the competition was about an active military man stationed in Afghanistan who “DocuSigned” his mortgage papers from Afghanistan.  According to Gregor, DocuSign has a number of active military personnel handling their affairs around the world. Pretty cool huh?  As a result, The Spirit of Liberty Foundation came to DocuSign to help them with the Declaration of Independence campaign. That is known in hip hop as “game recognize game”

The campaign:

DocuSign and the Spirit of Liberty set up a website SignHistory.org and kicked off the campaign with kiosks at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  Basically, people can put their “John Hancock” next to John Hancock’s.  I love this tagline for a company trying to automate the “John Hancock”.

Here is the flow:

1.       Easy 1-2-3 process to get involved

2.      Once you e-sign, you receive A copy of the Declaration of Independence with your name on it in email

Now, here comes the viral marketing part:

People shared pictures of themselves and other DocuSigning the DOI, including famous politicos like James Carville and Mitt Romney’s 5 sons. (The Funnelholic is not publicly political so both pictures are posted in no particular order)

DocuSign started a Facebook photo album for everyone to share their experiences with friends and family and for DocuSign to share with customers, employees, and future customers.

Everyone appreciates a great campaign so the Twitter-love flowed

I love these types of campaigns.  Here are some of my takeaways:

1.      It’s always great marketing AND very rewarding to align yourself with a cause.

2.      I love how the product experience was integrated into the process. If you have never DocuSigned, you should. Once you do, you will never turn back. I am one of those people – I turn anything I can into electronic signature now.  It’s fast, no fax machines, and an accepted form of signature by even the toughest legal departments.  In other words, DocuSigning the DOI was a gateway drug.  A large number of these folks will be turned on to electronic signatures forever and DocuSign knows this.

3.      Electronic signatures are a viral product. Viral products mean every person or organization you bring on will bring others with them.  Let me give two personal examples.  I am working on paperwork with my bank.  My contact sends me a bunch of paperwork which I DocuSign and send back to her via DocuSign. She has to sign on to counter sign.  She is now onboarded into the app.  Example 2:  I use DocuSign when I sell. I sent a contract to a client via DocuSign.  Next phone call I spend 20 minutes with the contact telling me how she loves the product and wants to invest.  Viral.

4.      Fun, out-of-the-box experiences become viral.  DocuSign will add more social sharing features as the campaign progresses, but what they found was people were sharing their experiences such as sharing pictures anyway.  Everyone asks me “How do I encourage my people to share my content?”  The answer: “Affect them”.  In this campaign, mission accomplished.

Kudos to DocuSign. I hope this spurs some great ideas for you next campaign.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Mechanics of the Outbound B2B Campaign

I present a webinar with Mark Feldman of Netprospex titled “You Bought a List, Now What?” that over the years has been one of the more popular presentations we have done together, as 1000s of people typically sign up. We are doing it again on Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET).  I have made some updates to the webinar and have new rantings on the topic (thus prompting me to write this post).

First, allow me to get on my soapbox. What we are talking about is outbound vs. inbound, or push vs. pull. The vast majority of chatter in the marketing blogosphere is about content marketing, earned media, inbound marketing, and so forth; in other words, everyone is advocating for pull. One of my good friends Adam Needles basically called outbound email “stupid s#!*” in our Focus Roundtable together. I am a gigantic advocate for pull marketing as well. I believe in the tenets of inbound marketing. Hey, who doesn’t want someone to walk into their store? But it’s just not realistic all the time. Sometimes you need to put out the sandwich board and entice people to come into the store, and if it works, why wouldn’t you do it all the time?

Random thoughts on why the Outbound b2b campaign lives on:

  1. You have to go outbound for targeted prospects. If you are trying to reach a particular buying persona, you have to push/outbound. If you want to wait for content to get you the leads you need to feed the beast, you will be sitting on the unemployment line. This does not mean you don’t create remarkable content and develop long-term trusted content relationships with prospects. It means you figure out whom you want to talk to and reach out to them via phone, email, and so forth so you can get to them today instead of tomorrow.
  2. You don’t have time. A blog post or even months of blog posts won’t yield the number of conversations you need to fill the pipeline. I get bummed when I hear the startup VP of Marketing talk about his/her plan for content marketing over the next nine months, and it doesn’t include generating leads now. It’s not their fault; they read the blog posts and are doing the right thing.  The problem is, if you don’t have a plan for near-term pipeline, you’re in trouble.
  3. Sales reps are doing it right now instead of waiting for you. I asked one of my favorite sales experts Tibor Shanto what topics resonate most with sales folks and he said “prospecting.” In other words, sales needs leads. Actually, I did a webinar awhile back with Jill Konrath, and she said the same thing: “What sales needs right now is leads.” So, marketing: Is our answer to write some more blog posts and get more tweets? No, it’s to drive pipeline, and that necessitates action.
  4. You can do both (push/pull). Until the content marketing machine can drive the numbers you need from the right people, you have to do something. In most cases, that means outbound or paid media.  But do both; the long-term win of having a content marketing/nurturing strategy is the right thing to do.

In my preso, I try to break the essentials for successful outbound activity into simple components:

  • Planning: It sounds simple, but people just buy names and don’t flesh out what they want to do next.
  • Persona building: Determine “who” you want to target, understand what makes them tick, and then the message works for them.
  • Content/offers: Content marketing is a big deal in the outbound campaigns. What you offer people is extremely important. This should be driven by buyer personas (for examples, an executive may want one thing whereas managers may want another).
  • Multi-channel targeting: Successful outbound requires a mix of different ways to reach out to the prospect. The most common and most successful is a combination of phone and email. This also includes nurturing and social media.
  • Metrics and optimization: This should be standard operating procedure in this day and age, but it isn’t, so I have to remind you.  Figure out what you need to know and make your programs better.

If you have time, join us here for “You Bought a List, Now What?” on Wednesday and Thursday of this week 11 a.m. PT (2 pm ET).

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Confession: I Am a Marketing Automation Fanboy

OK, after all that mid-life crisis talk about moving beyond marketing, here I am with a marketing automation post. Oh well. David Raab gave me a sneak peek at his new marketing automation study and subsequent tool. Initially, I was hesitant to write about what David shared with me since I don’t pimp, and I just made a big, melodramatic case for The Funnelholic to move beyond marketing. But I decided, what the hell? I am who I am, so bring the marketing automation tool on!

Truth be told, I am an unabashed fanboy of marketing automation. I am also an unabashed fanboy of the word “fanboy.” I primarily use it as an insult, so note my self-deprecating sense of humor remains intact. I love the concept of marketing automation. Marketing automation is the bomb. (For all my older readers, that is a good thing.)

We just asked a question on the benefits of marketing automation on Focus. There is great stuff there, but for me it’s pretty simple: Every part of the organization has an automated platform to run on and to optimize their business. Finance, sales, supply chain, HR – everyone but marketing. Frankly it was embarrassing. Yes, there are flaws with marketing automation, but there are flaws with ERP and CRM systems. This is about having a platform to manage, organize and measure. You may think this is backward, but failed marketing automation implementations are good for the business. It has spawned guys like Carlos Hidalgo, who is focused on helping marketing organizations lay the groundwork for a process that happens to be managed by marketing automation. That is good for the marketing department.

In my job leading the Focus Experts Network, I am meeting a lot of independent analysts. Technology guys like Michael Krigsman, Richard Stiennon, Bob Egan are go-to thought leaders for end users and vendors who need to understand their respective technology landscapes. Marketing automation doesn’t have many of these folks, but David Raab is one of them. David, along with Adam Needles and Carlos Hidalgo, wrote the awesome Focus Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, and when we needed an Expert to talk about making the marketing automation decision in an upcoming webinar, we chose David. Most marketers I talk to know they need something if they don’t have it. The next step will be to figure out the right fit for their organization, as there are a lot of vendors. And for that, I think David’s vendor selection application is a must-have for buyers in the consideration phase, and the price makes it a no-brainer.

Because, yes, I want you to buy marketing automation. Full disclosure: It does nothing for me. Seriously, I own no stock, nor am I an analyst, nor does Focus benefit at all. I want this for you, not for me. That, my friends, is what fanboys do. Viva marketing automation!

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape: 5 Tips to Help Marketing Deal with Sales

Last week, I went to Silverpop’s B2B Marketing University.  As I have blogged before, I don’t write about conferences unless I can write about something interesting. This event was awesome — the content was great (not your typical BS), 180 people were in the audience, and the questions were engaging. I was having writer’s block going into the event, and I left with three posts (coming soon). Props to Silverpop.

OK, so during Malcolm Friedberg’s presentation, someone in the audience asked for advice on how to handles sales. (The actual question is not important, but it had something to do with convincing sales to let marketing nurture instead of passing the leads to them directly.) Anyway, I was sitting there thinking that, here we have Malcolm on stage talking about marketing automation processes, etc., and one of the questions that comes up is the age-old issue of the sales-marketing divide. Boom. Funnelholic blog post.

One thing I have noticed as Marketing 2.0 continues to gather steam is that all of us in the marketing blogosphere can act like dealing with sales is easy because we are all in marketing-dominated companies. But in the real world, sales is the powerful and dangerous entity. That’s not an insult. That’s reality. Sales is on the front line — they are type-A, aggressive, unforgiving folks. It’s rare to find a place where marketing is in the catbird’s seat.

If you don’t have sales on board, however, you will have NO ROI. So act, don’t complain.

So, here is how you know you have a problem with sales:

  • Sales tells you that you suck — Do I need to explain?
  • Sales ignores you completely — Sales is a “you are either helping me or in the way” type of crew, so if they view you as being in the way (fairly or not), prepare to be ignored.
  • Sales tells everyone you suck, but not to your face — It’s amazing how many sales leaders are passive-aggressive, but I see it all the time. Which leads to …
  • Sales is really nice to you: Beware of smiling sales management.

Here is how you tell you have a good relationship:

  • When leads don’t convert, they look into what they can do about it. Good.
  • They ask for more of your leads. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Here are 5 things you should do to foster a healthy sales-marketing relationship:

1. Have a meeting: I know this sounds obvious, but here is my point. If things are bad, then have a meeting. If you are starting the relationship, have a meeting. In the meeting, tell sales the following:

  • MARKETING will create an infrastructure (nurturing, phone) to pass qualified leads to the sales team. (Again, stop passing raw inquiries to sales.)
  • MARKETING AND SALES will AGREE on a unified lead definition to live by.
  • SALES will sign an SLA that, if MARKETING hits the unified lead definition, they will follow up an agreed amount of times.
  • MARKETING AND SALES will meet at least biweekly to optimize the program.
  • MARKETING AND SALES WILL get along.

2. Create a unified lead definition: I give Brian Carroll the credit for this term, but gurus like Stu Silverman have been making the lead definition the key to sales and marketing success for years. Here is the essence: sit down with sales and AGREE on the definition of a lead — what marketing passes to the sales team. Look, sales will forget — particularly when one an account executives complains — but you can always refer back to it. When sales comes back and says, “none of your leads are closing,” offer to revisit the lead definition. Keep in mind that the lead definition dictates volume, and when you discuss definitions, you have to make sure sales understands the volume implications.
3. The sales SLA: When you agree to a unified lead definition, you also need to agree on sales’ activities after you pass them a qualified lead. Do this. It’s only fair.
4. Have weekly sync-up meetings: You can do this biweekly, if necessary. Just don’t let it slip. Don’t just talk about the numbers, talk anecdotally. Remind everyone that the meeting must be honest but not accusatory, because the wheels can fall off these meetings very easily if you are not careful. On the other hand, they can’t be a meaningless rubber stamp either. Optimization is a two-way street.
5. Just try to get along: I hate to say it, but if you are the marketer, you have to lead this charge. Sales is always moving, so have a plan and instigate peace. Both sides will win as a result.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Steroids and Painkillers for Sale: The Funnelholic’s Take on the Sales 2.0 Conference

I’m  a day or two late on my write-up of the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, but that’s the story of my life. As an aside, I am not the kind of blogger who has to blog on every event I go to. I only write when something moves me. Period.

Here is my take on the Sales 2.0 Conference:

1. The Sales 2.0 conference is BLOWING UP: I think they will need to change venues to Pac Bell Park next year. This year was sold-out, and the place was wall-to-wall people.  Congrats to Gerhard Gschwandtner (CEO and organizer of the show) and his crew. Why is it growing? Gerhard cares about/believes in what he is selling and you can tell. That manifests itself in the content and organization of the conference.  Also, the attendees care. This isn’t a trip to Vegas for CES. People are there to learn how they can get better.

2. Sales 2.0 concepts and products are the steroids and painkillers that sales and marketing need to elevate their game: I couldn’t get this out of my head when I was at the conference. Sales 2.0 tools are legal steroids. Look, I don’t need to tell you that performance-enhancing drugs have been putting up big numbers for the last 10 years in sports.  Unfortunately for athletes, they are illegal.What Sales 2.0 vendors are peddling are legal and without long-term medical issues, and they enhance performance. Perfect.

Sales 2.0 painkillers are tools that remove some of the laborious parts of the sales process such as compensation reporting, reporting visibility, etc. Like real painkillers, the they’re addictive.  But unlike painkillers they won’t kill you. Instead they make life easier.

3. People believe: You know, it’s also cool to be around believers vs. skeptics. Conversations were around “what are you using?” It’s exciting to see sales and marketing managers getting together trying to make their teams better.

4.   Revolution is upon us: I have mentioned this before, but I remember talking to venture capitalist Doug Pepper (@dougpepper), who said, “Marketing is the last place in the enterprise that hasn’t been automated and made more efficient.” I think this is true for sales too … and it’s awesome.

Think I had fun? I did …

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The 6 common, completely annoying, yet easy to overcome, pieces of feedback you receive on leads

Most B2B marketers don’t always realize that the initial follow up on your leads can make or break your conversion rate and ultimately your ROI.  The B2B marketers that do realize this have adjusted – they either own lead qualification, work extensively with the sales-lead lead-qualification team or outsource to a tele-vendor who qualifies leads before they pass them to the sales-lead lead-qual group.  Just generating leads or managing CPL, and so on means nothing if you aren’t optimizized for what happens after you generate the lead.  FYI: the biggest and best marketing organizations have already solved this and continue to do so.

So, as a person who has been providing leads to organizations for 10 years, I can say I have heard them all. Not just from the person on the phone following up, but from the marketers who gather feedback from sales.  This “feedback” is from the front line of leads.  If this is the feedback you are getting, sometimes fixing the follow-up first makes all the difference.  Remember, if Sirius Decisions is right, 80 percent of the leads that sales disqualifies end up buying within 24 months. So those leads that “suck” many not be that bad after all.

Before I go on, I do want to say one think I have learned: many times all “frontline” objections are solved by three things:

1.     Being clear about what the goal is of the call.  In most cases, its two-fold:  Figure out whether you should keep talking (score) and, if so, get them to the next step in the sales process (demonstration, appointment, and so on).  This is where follow-up fails: Lead-qual reps think their job is to sell the product (bad call), figure out if they have read the whitepaper (hilarious).  Every objection can be answered by the question “Are you the person involved in …?” Seriously.

2.    Training and management – repeat after me: training and management.

3.    Marketing automation and lead nurturing.

So, here they are the 6 common, but easy to overcome, yet honestly, completely annoying pieces of feedback you receive on leads*:

1.     “They don’t remember downloading the whitepaper”: Yes, I know.  Since the advent of online whitepaper syndication, it has been the new buyer objection. Suckers get derailed from this objection. Seriously, why do you care?  YOU know they did, so leverage that knowledge to keep on fighting.  How about, “no problem, are you in charge of…?”

2.    “They won’t call me back”: That’s right, because buyers (even when buying) can’t wait to call back someone so they can be subjected to BANT qualifying questions. Don’t just leave “checking in and seeing if you have any questions” voicemails of the early 90s.  The buyer’s job is to NOT call you back or email you back (even when they LIKE you). Winning organizations have the following:

  • Coordinated call/email campaigns designed to get people to connect.
  • Outbound dialing service like Connect and Sell www.connectandsell.com
  • An understanding that not everyone will answer their phones in 3 weeks, so nurture.

3. “They don’t know who we are”: Now this one CAN be solved to an extent with the lead sources that you are using, but again, is that the ultimate opening question?  Who are you? Don’t mind if I do.

4.    “They don’t have a project”: Sorry that they don’t have a project today, but seeing as this is the right person who is requesting information about your market, you may want to talk to them. Just to note, from  our marketing programs at Tippit, we have one simple lead definition, “Right Person, Right Interest.”  We will pay for that.  We know over time, they will buy. Just get us started.

5.     “They aren’t the decision maker”: I know, I know, you need to talk to the CEO or VP.  Well, they aren’t going to download things on the Internet.  I understand why we need to get to the C-suite at some point, but that’s not going to happen with industrial grade, lead-generation machinery. Particularly with companies that want to do LOTS of business.  If you want to hit the C-suite, put together a VITO campaign leveraging execs, make sure you have experienced outbound callers on the project and be happy with a couple leads. But don’t expect your lead machine to punch out CEO’s.

6.    “They have a project but…”: You can’t have it both ways from lead gen. The perfect project ready to buy in one month with no warts attached is just NOT going to happen. If you do get projects, be happy you did. These are still leads. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “They fit our employee parameters, but they only want a small amount of licenses”
  • “They are already down the road”

Note:  This is primarily related to leads and inquiries, depending on what you call them (not BANT scored).

*This “feedback” means there is a problem with expectation setting, process, and so on and can always be made to go away.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Everything You Need to Know About the Competitive Internet, You Can Learn from ‘Rounders’

I wrote an article on my view of the SEO world titled “You Can’t Fade the 20 Wisemen.” The premise behind my article is the contention that there is a small cabal of real SEOs that actually “do” SEO, and there are a bunch of others who are just out there thinking they are doing it, but really aren’t. My key theme is that whatever the common SEO or marketing person is doing for SEO is probably old news.  The real SEOs, or “wisemen,” have moved on. They don’t even call it SEO anymore — it’s the Competitive Internet to you. Thank you. Now they are kicking the rest of our asses in the social media world as well.

So, I wanted to write about this, but I needed the right analogy.  Here were the three ideas I tossed out:

  1. Sopranos/Mafia Analogy — overdone.  While the secret society and the untimely deaths make a lot of sense for me, I just feel like that’s not unique enough of a topic for my post to be interesting.
  2. The Matrix — I loved thinking about representing the marketing/seo everyman going about what they are doing not realizing they are in this netherworld, but I am not smart enough to make some of the other moving pieces of that movie work for me. Also, the internet is full of Matrix fans who would undoubtedly assail me for some bad quote, etc.
  3. Reincarnate the Wisemen — I did really love that analogy.  The Wisemen refers to the 4 guys in the restaurant in the movie “Training Day.”  While everyone else in LA ran around doing their day-to-day business, everything went through the Four Wisemen and you didn’t know it.  But I can’t pull it off again because 1) I would be doing it again and 2) they play a brief role in the movie and I couldn’t really get any more in depth.

Where did I end up? Poker… Yes, it’s a fad and a cliché, but that’s what makes it perfect. Since the World Series of Poker on ESPN (and numerous amateur million-dollar victories) and the advance of online gaming, people have been jumping on the bandwagon in droves and calling themselves poker players, or even “professional” poker players for that matter.

What made poker the perfect analogy was the fact that while ALL these people are out there playing poker, there are really very few pros.  These guys think the World Series is kiddy games where they watch you, wait for you and then take your money on the cash tables at the Mirage.  This is the perfect setting — a bunch of people who think they know what they are doing and a small handful that really do.  In the world of Competitive Internet, there is a limited group of true pros and if you’re not in these guys’ loop, you are out. This is fact.

So, I decided to bite an old article written by one of my favorite online writers Bill Simmons, who wrote a great Rounders and Roundball article in his Page 2 section of ESPN.com and use the movie “Rounders” as an analogy to the real world of the Competitive Internet.

“All the luck in the world isn’t gonna change things for these guys. They’re simply overmatched. We’re not playing together, but we’re not playing against each other, either. It’s like the Nature Channel. You don’t see piranhas eating each other, do you?”

This quote is the essence of the article: a completely appropriate representation of the Competitive Internet today. Mike McDermott, our main character, is at the Mirage with his poker crew. They are all poker sharks waiting for their prey. The sharks represent the Competitive Internet wisemen or masters, while the other guys coming to sit at the table are the online marketing managers trying to “do SEO” with the help of a “For Dummies” book or data gleaned from Marketing Sherpa (still my favorite site, don’t worry, but you know what I am talking about).  The Competitive Internet guys know each other, they try to kick each other’s ass, but they will collaborate and will often times make side deals with each other to go take down some revenue or complete a project.

“Why does this still seem like gambling to you? I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY SINGLE YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It’s a skill game, Jo.”

Look the Competitive Internet is skill, but these guys test a lot before they find out what works, so this quote really works for me.  Mike McDermott’s girlfriend is calling poker “lucky.” Above is McDermott’s indignant response.  Like McDermott, the Competitive Internet guys believe they are all skill and they are right the majority of the time … but there is a big luck factor too as most of their discoveries of inefficiencies or Internet tells are the product of throwing things against the wall and hoping things stick.

“ ‘Y’have it?’ he asks me. ‘Sorry John, I don’t remember.’ I got up and walked straight to the cashier’.”

Amazing scene and totally contrived. Nonetheless, in this scene, McDermott sits down with Johnny Chan, one of the world masters in Poker and bluffs his way to winning a pot.  When Chan asks him if he’s got it, McDermott tosses the cards and replies with the quote above. If you know a true Competitive Internet master, then you know how this goes. They will talk exploits, money, sex, gambling, girls, but then you talk about HOW they got 300 links in two hours or a key business search term onto the first page of Google organic, and you get radio-silence. They “don’t remember” (read: will never tell you and probably won’t tell their mothers).

“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker”

Guess what, my boy Brian Provost (read him at Scoreboard Media) can sniff a rat by an email you send, the questions you ask or your moves on the Internet whether in PPC, SEO, anything. He knows if you are worthy or not very quickly.

“No, 15 grand in five days, I can do that. I’ve gone on runs like that before.”

This quote is about runs, and certainly CI boys go on runs. When they find a hole, they beat the hell out of it until the opportunity dries up and they move on. Their mortgage lead runs of a couple years ago were epic money-making efforts. (Pop quiz: who made the most off sub-prime and never had to talk the regulators?)

“You know what cheers me up when I’m feeling [expletive]? Rolled up aces over kings. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them. Playing all-night high-limit hold’em at the Taj, where the sand turns to gold. Stacks and towers of checks I can’t even see over.”
“[Expletive] it, let’s go.”
“Don’t tease me.”
“Let’s play some [expletive] cards”

Juxtaposed with:

“You keep grinding out that rent money, Joe. It’s noble work you’re doing.”

Competitive Internet guys, the real ones, the wisemen, they are not suited for 9-5 work, driving the aerostar, and paying the mortgage.  They are swashbucklers, gamblers, night-owls (like Magic-the Gathering type guys). If you are trying to figure out if you know a CI ninja, see if he is on IM at 3am with four screens going — 1) Making money in credit card PPC; 2) moving a legitimate site up in organic rankings; 3) working on the latest viral campaign to hit the social networks; and 4) Pickem: Partypoker, espn, porn …They don’t grind, they go for big wins.

Had to put this in, I get pumped on this quote in the movie.

“The judges’ game. I’d heard about it for years on the street, before I was even in law school. A rotating group of ten or twelve judges, prosecutors, and professors. They all have money, and in my playing days it would have been pretty sweet to have any one of them owing me favors. Only problem is, no one can get in the game anymore. One rounder, Crispy Linetta, sat under some pretense, but when they found out he was a pro, he couldn’t cross the street without a legal hassle. Even his regular club, Vorshay’s, got shut down. Place’d been open since 1907.”

The Competitive Internet guys are constantly trolling for new places to fish — e.g., they are looking for inefficiencies all over the Internet.  They aren’t hackers, and the ones I respect are not illegal, but they know a sucker when they see one.

“In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, ‘Few players recall big pots they have won — strange as it seems — but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.’ Seems true to me, ’cause walking in here I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking how I lost it.”

That damn Google Algorithm.  The best guys get slammed by Google. It’s a way of life. When they make changes to algorithm, it’s like you played the hand perfectly and someone beats you on the river. When Google makes changes, Competitive Internet guys face “bad-beats.”

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Making It Work in 2009: 6 Quotes from Martin Scorcese Put Things in Perspective

One of the young guys I work with asked me the other day how I come up with blog posts.  The truth is, they typically come to me throughout the day regardless of whether I am working with clients or at home watching television.  An idea will pop in my head, and I realize I can blog about that.  Conversely, when these epiphanies don’t pop in my head, I am completely screwed.

Here is what you need to know, I am wholly focused on helping marketers improve what they do in general and put the strategies and processes in place to make it through the economic storm that is in full swing.  The other thing you need to know, is that I want to be irreverent and fun in the process.  So, I was sitting there watching “Good Fellas” this weekend (for the 20th time), and a couple lines stuck out to me as bloggable.  I decided that I should take a whack at some Martin Scorcese lines in my next blog post.  Now, here we are.

1. “Every man … every man has to go through hell to reach paradise.” — Max Cady (“Cape Fear”)

I had to start with this one. Who knew that Scorcese’s psychopathic killer in the horror movie “Cape Fear” would make the list.  The quote just resonated with the times that we face today.

I wonder if there is a silver lining to the world’s current chaos. Nothing forces people to improve than adversity.  In good times, efficiencies are just good ideas.  In bad times, they become necessities.  For one, this applies to anyone in marketing. All the things on your list must get done: Marketing automation, ROI tracking, quality control, effectiveness, and payback in all your marketing activities. Now more than ever, marketing departments need to eliminate waste and become efficient, optimized machines. Doug Pepper from Interwest told me two years ago: “We believe marketing is the last place in the organization where there is opportunity to optimize their processes,”  He’s right, and now the pain is more acute than ever.

Your marketing should reflect this ideology as well.  No matter what  you are selling, you and your organization are trying to help companies and people make it out of the downturn.  Don’t talk. Make your processes better to win when every one else is losing.  Those fun little features aren’t interesting anymore.  We need companies to understand in times of extreme pain, it’s time to change, and my solution is the way you get there.

2. “I got some bad ideas in my head.” — Travis Bickle (“Taxi Driver”)

Direct mail with little return, “sexy” campaigns built with your ad agency that look good but bring no return, physical trade shows, tchotchkes… These are bad ideas.  These are antiquated marketing vehicles that marketers did so that they could show their boss something tangible, but now the boss wants tangible results.  Cut the “cute.”

By the way, this does not mean you shouldn’t try no ideas, but just keep in mind, that these should be focused on results not the overall sizzle factor.

3.  “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” — Ace Rothstein (“Casino”)

Great quote, something I wish I would remember at 2 in the morning in Vegas when I am even or up.  This quote conjures up one thing: lead nurturing.  I am a broken record on this one, but I can’t get over the  idea that 80 percent of leads deemed unqualified end up buying anyway.  In 2009, we have to stay in our prospect’s faces.  Budgets will open up and when they do, you need to be there.  And you need to make sure you are fighting for the few budgets that are left.  The case for lead nurturing is strong. Take it from Ace: you’re job is to keep them in the casino.

4.    “You put my money to sleep, I’ll put you to sleep.” – Nicky Santoro (“Casino”)

Marketing in 2009 is going to about real cost-savings and real return on investment.  No one will buy anything next year because they want it, it will be because they need it.  The way you achieve that is developing real stories with real numbers about how your solution will either save them money or make them  money.  And here is the challenge: they don’t believe you anymore.  Terms like ROI, cost-effective, and so on that have been part of your marketing and value prop for years are old news.  The trick is to market real stories of real cost savings with real people.  Studies show that more and more buyers turn to their peers when deciding on a solution.  What this means is  get real customer stories with numbers they can understand and show them how spending money with you makes them money in the long run.  Simply put: you lose if you don’t.

5.   “ … the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week no matter what. Business bad? F**k you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F**k you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning huh? F**k you, pay me.” —  Henry Hill (“Good Fellas”)

Sorry for the profanity, but here is the message to marketers:  this is how sales guys look at the world.  The way sales is measured is so much easier to quantify than almost anywhere else in the organization, “F**k you, pay me.”  Welcome to their world people. ROI is the name of the game here.  If you have read my stuff before, you know that I believe that marketing ROI should be judged by opportunities and pipeline created.  That being said, you have to actually achieve these goals.  Do not spend money on anything that does not pay out … and remember, no excuse will work, management wants to get paid.

6. “Lennon said, ‘I’m an artist. You give me a f**king tuba, I’ll get you something out of it.’   The point I’m making with John Lennon is – a man could look at anything, and make something out of it. For instance, I look at you and I think ‘what could I use you for?’ ” – Frank Costello (“The Departed”)

I will follow this up with Donald Rumsfield: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.”  As an ex-consultant and third-party “listener” to what’s going in marketing, all I hear are complaints about the constraints on their job: “product sucks, sales sucks, I have a small budget, I need resources to get it done.”  None of this will help you in 2009.  You have what you have and you need make the most out of it.  You are marketers, you should be able to take the product and “make something out of it.” Your job is to to sell ice to Eskimos.  That’s right, we used to say that only about sales, but that falls on the marketer too.

So there you have it, Martin Scorcese’s marketing tips.  And I had fun writing it …

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Sales Is Still from Mars and Marketing Is Still from Venus

“Sales is from Mars and Marketing is from Venus” has been used on a number of occasions when describing the gap between sales and marketing.  The marketing automation, lead generation, and lead nurturing industry and their gurus have spent the past two years talking about “sales alignment” and how we can bridge the gap between the two sides.  Obviously I am one of those people.  I have sat in both seats and have felt both side’s pain.  And I do believe marketers have made big strides. There is so much information (including from me) on how we can fix this divide that I truly believe we are in a better place than we have been in the past.

On the other hand, there is one thing you can’t solve: the fact that you can align all you want, but sales is still born and raised on Venus, and marketing is born and raised on Mars.  You are different people and your relationship will always have its ups and downs (and in some cases, all downs).  So I decided to have some fun and help everyone understand each other’s differences:

*My buddy at HP was telling me how a sales optimization consultancy had done a study where the best sales guys got Cs in school.  The rationale being that school is NOT good training for sales guys whose key skill is convincing people verbally and school is better-suited for reading and writing.  Technically a C average is a 2.0, but I couldn’t do that.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter