A New Marketing “Train” map

29 07 2010

B2B Contact Marketing in the UK created this great marketing map using the London underground as the inspiration. It’s a great way to map out the modern landscape of marketing; even though it uses trains, it’s exceptionally well done and gives anyone from expert to novice great insight into the challenges and opportunities for modern marketers.

The main lines on the map:

Advertising – For me this is the dying channel, maybe that’s why it’s in blood red. It’s a communication “corridor” that’s becoming less and less relevant, it includes a couple of great quotes “Each of us sees over 3,800 advertising messages a day”. People are not passive consumers of marketing messages any more; they are seekers of high quality relevant information, participants in conversations and electors of what they consider to be competent authority. Its these characteristics that are at odds with traditional “interruption” advertising methods. Maybe this is the line that has the constant breakdowns.

Database – I really like that this “line” is a closed loop and central, in a data driven world it has to be at the heart of any effective marketing organization. It also means it touches every other line, modern marketing is even more data driven than before, the measure is moving from traditional DM metrics to include more and more online metrics, but I believe you need to start by measuring everything and then honing on what are the key metrics, all with out taking your eye off the prize – profit (Money in the Bank). There’s also a marked shift away from valuing the sheer size of your database towards the quality and depth of information in it.

Direct – Covers it all really, I think this channel is being overshadowed by some of the more popular trendy digital channels, which are all part of direct marketing in a pull marketing world.

Digital – Talk about being web centric, this line cuts right through the middle of town! I like how it talks about the different digital channels without really focusing on some of the actual sites, facebook, twitter etc, which I am sure over time will change…. Has anyone ever heard of QQ, Xaonei or Kaixin01? I hope this is a hi-speed train line?

Event – Obviously a personal favorite, I’d add an IQPC station. Event marketers take note – this line crosses digital and database lines twice, begins its journey by moving away from advertising and finishes with a second crossing of the relationship line. There’s a message about how you fit and where your focus should be!

Relationship – A black line for the dark arts, most of the things on this line have two things in common. They are becoming ever more important parts of the B2B space and they very difficult to accurately measure or gauge their true impact. I like how conferences, social media and networking are all so close. Measuring awareness is becoming an increasing challenge.

Anything missing? Not much…

My only real criticism would be where are the customers? I would have made the customer or audience central to the whole thing, maybe the hub in the middle between Google, Social Media and Blogging. I think before you do anything you need to have well defined buyer personas, and a solid message that matches your audiences world view (step 1). Maybe “customers” should be the main hub on the relationship line or the direct line, it’s in there, the demographics stop is in there, I would have just made it more defined.

Content marketing? Maybe change the contract publishing station on the Advertising line or drop it into digital… But for me it’s really all about the intersections, and particularly for conferences, I think the intersections are crucial to your events integrated multi channel marketing plan.

But just for fun and in honor of being in NY for the summer, I decided to apply the same thing to NY Subway system, here’s my poor mans effort:

Grand Central Station = The internet, the heart of all modern marketing. This is a web centric train map.

 Social Media is the N, Q, R and W line, crossing the whole island…

 The A, C, E line is my Event line crossing with other multiple stops. Making it fully integrated into the marketing mix.

The 4,5 and 6 Train are the digital lines. Connecting grand central and most of the other lines.

The 1, 2 and 3 train is the Advertising line, cutting right through Times Square Station, renamed Advertising Central or Billboard Station.

Path Train or the LIRR = Direct Mail line… It’s a separate system, kind of connected, and kind of old, slow, rusty etc, it still works but we all know we won’t be riding the train for much longer.

Great map, there must have been some great debates whilst putting it together – Thanks to B2B Contact Marketing for creating and sharing it. The modern landscape is difficult to navigate – Anyone got another map?

(Special thanks to Emma, unofficial Nomad Editor, for some big contributions to this post!)

Magic beans, direct mail, email, fax, phone, radio, tv and the web

15 04 2010

I have often quoted Seth Godin’s great riff on magic beans, I love it, I come back to it often, probably too often…But I think it resonates with B2B conference marketing. The days of sending out a 4 page agenda dominated brochure and expecting people to register from it are basically over, it’s time to move on.

We can no longer rely on our basic “template” marketing plans to resonate with our audience and expect them to react. Sure it still works in some cases, but we must start to “think” about how we can really engage this audience and add more value than we can capture.

These two posts on hubspot by Brian Solis, who just published a book called “Engage” (which I just bought), help to explain the new landscape even better.

I quote Brian:

What lies ahead is an inflection point in the maturation of social media, publishing, marketing and communications. And, it all begins with the realization and the corresponding actions that businesses must become media in order to earn greater relevance and ultimately thought leadership within their respective markets.

Every Company is a Media Company: EC=MC

Is Direct Mail Dead?

5 10 2009

I recently received an email (SPAM email to be specific) to attend a webinar direct mailfrom the US Postal Service about direct mail. Yep… A webinar about DM, what next a face book page for DM? As a marketer I found it a little ironical…but it made me think!

DM still plays an important, if somewhat shrinking role in the B2B marketing mix, but with the diminishing returns and the hype surrounding social media it’s easy to play down it’s importance and play up its death.

The B2B conference industry has been guilty of killing it’s fair share of trees. The argument often goes (sometimes supported by test data) that a customer associates a bigger, thicker DM marketing piece with a bigger better event, they are so overwhelmed with the quality of the piece that they book straight away or that the piece is so large it will be a “desk dominator” and interupt the recipient so they feel compelled to book lifting response rates.  The packaging also comes into question, plain envelopes, red ones, poly wrapped, window, non window… all tested and measured for the peak return. All of which won’t make a difference if the product is rubbish. But lets assume the product or service is worth cutting down the tree…

The keys to successful DM are more important than ever:

  • Personalised content – The piece is highly personalised, yes we get the name and salutation right, but also everything else. The content speaks to that person’s situation. Excellent copy that starts or continues the conversation, drawing the prospect in, highlighting the value proposition, telling a story that resonates with the audience.
  • Anticipated – They receive regular DM from us, and values the relationship or content.  Timing also comes into it.
  • Relevant – The content is not just highly relevant (& personalised), it also add’s value to the persons experience with the brand. Hopefully creating a more tactile and immersive association with the brand. A piece of content they we would want to pass to a colleague.
  • The database: Having good lists to mail is key, preferably with full permission, but at least with a relationship or nominated interest in the topic.

It should also form a part of your overall strategy and fit with the overall messaging or branding. Basic but worth remembering.

DM, like all channels, comes with it’s own challenges in the Middle East and other parts of the world, where delivery also comes into question. Ensuring the quality production of the materials from design to delivery can often be a significant challenge. A challenge that can also be expensive compared to the cost effectiveness of other channels.

But these simple keys to successful DM, look remarkably like the keys to any good marketing, online or off. It’s easy to get caught up in all the social media hype and forget the basic’s. DM is likely to play a role for a lot longer, but are it’s days numbered? When was the last time you wrote a friend a letter and posted it?