Is Viral Marketing Infecting Your Internal Customer?
While I worked for Lawson Software, they produced a series of cute little vignettes about a character (a mascot of sorts) names Lars Lawson. These videos poked gentle fun at our competition.
The videos did pretty well on YouTube, but I don’t know that the company was ever able to tie these back to actual inquiries, market recognition, sales or anything measurable that could be linked to the bottomline.
Nevertheless, I didn’t see a problem with Lawson’s creation of these videos because they didn’t take away from any of the programs being run by my team. (My team was responsible for driving lead generation in North America.) They were extremely well done and we could use these to add interest to our campaigns as appropriate. Since my team had nothing to do with the creation of the videos, it didn’t take away from the effort or dollars we put into driving lead generation for our sales team.
Contrast that with a smaller company where marketing is understaffed and underbudgeted. The marketing managers in these organizations fall in love with social media and begin twittering, blogging and looking for ways to go viral. All the while, their lead generation lags behind and their sales team becomes increasingly skeptical of marketing's competence.
My point is that those of you who are responsible for lead generation should make sure that your marketing plans have a solid traditional foundation for lead generation before you start experimenting with social media.
Once you have the foundation in place, then you can start playing around with social media. It’s like having desert, but you have to eat your vegetables first.
If you decide to start experimenting with social media even while your lead generation goals aren’t being met I'd suggest you experiment quietly. Don’t expect the sales team to be impressed with your latest use of Twitter if you haven’t passed them a decent lead in awhile.