But the really innovative approach is the rotating tweets about Windows 7. I've seen an occasional tweet used on other sites, but this is the most effective use I've seen yet. These tweets aren't a side not to the message. They are the message. And, when it comes to adopting technology like Windows 7, Microsoft knows that what the early adopters say about their product carries far more weight than anything they could claim.
These tweets should also carry more weight than the customer quotes you usually see on a website. Those quotes are often from customers who see something in it for them. I’m not saying they are paid quotes. It could be as simple as liking the attention they get from working with marketing.
Tweets are, presumably, spontaneous and unedited. The skeptics could say that these tweets came from Microsoft employees. I suppose that’s possible, although I’m not quite that jaded. Plus, Microsoft left off the Twitter ID, but they did give the time and date of the tweet. Those of you with time to waste could probably track down the original tweet.
And, yes, there are probably tweets out there that don’t shine such a positive light on the product. I don’t know that for sure, but it’s Microsoft – a pretty big target for those who like to sling arrows.
I like what they’ve done, but if I think about it further the take away for me is that Tweeps might hold more promise for many B2B marketers, especially in the technology industries, than even the bloggers. This is certainly true if you are trying to launch a new technology product. It’s a way to leverage the opinions of the early adopters who might be incredibly intelligent, but not always wonderfully articulate.
Outreach to bloggers should be part of your launch planning but the effort in writing a blog about your product is far greater than a 140 character tweet. Because of that effort you really have to have something spectacular for them to blog about. Plus, bloggers may only be reviewing your product. If they aren’t actual users, the blog can loses a slight amount of weight.
As you are planning your product launches and deciding who you want to be in your beta or in your early adopter phase, consider adding some of your customers who tweet.
I too have been incredibly busy lately with no time to blog. I joined forced with GrowthPoint a marketing agency that will allow me to offer a fuller line of marketing services. One of their specialities is lead management for channel organizations which I think is so cool – and much needed.
But, the other day as I was reading a post suggesting that you should blog before you Twitter, a point I mostly agree with, I realized that I was overlooking Twitter and the advantages of microblogging. (BTW, I am still looking for the link and as soon as I find it I will update this so that you can join that discussion. It's quite lively.)
I hate to let my blog lapse and my readership to dwindle, but you do what you have to do. If I have a client with deadlines, as I do now, I’m all over it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to interact, I just need to be more brief. Twitter’s 140 characters is perfect. I can tweet my ideas and insights and continue to retweet posts from other thought leaders.
You can follow me at Melissa Paulik. I won’t promise to follow everyone back. See my personal Twitter guidelines. They've evolved somewhat since the original post, but are still relevant. For those of you who are interested in continuing the discussion I look forward to many more, if somewhat briefer, interactions.
And, yes, I will continue to blog between deadlines.
All the best!
In the modern era of PR the lines between PR and traditional marketing are blurring a bit. No doubt, a modern agency today uses social media tools such as blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and facebook to reach out to the audience. And, although the agency is focused on reaching out to the media, influential bloggers in your space, and your key analysts, they are also reaching out to your target customer as well. The content they create is easily accessible to a potential prospect doing a search on your keywords and can drive visitors to your website.
But, the area where I tend to draw the line between traditional marketing and PR is content creation. If, by “content creation”, you mean press releases and the types of content that go into your online media room, that works for me. But, I don’t think you should abdicate your entire content creation strategy to your PR agency. Unless they are truly content creation specialists and deeply understand the role of content in nurturing prospects, I don’t think you should be relinquishing the responsibility for the materials you use for your nurturing programs to your PR agency. Telling the story for the customer through a solid content strategy is different than telling the story to attract the media and analysts.
So do you agree? Disagree? Especially those of you who work within the PR agencies, has your product offering changed enough that you feel you can own the entire content creation responsibility?
All the best!
There is no magic answer to where to invest your marketing dollar for maximum effect in 2010. Lead nurturing programs would certainly rank high on my list if you don’t have an effective one in place. Aligning your sales and marketing team could also be of primary importance. Fortunately, this is often not so much a question of dollars as much as it’s a question of aligning your processes.
There is one area that I see holding technology marketers back that one could argue should be the first thing fixed – the website.
The problems vary from company to company, but take a look at almost any technology website and you’ll see common issues. Here are just a few, as told from the perspective of the visitor:
Self-centered verbiage. An incredible amount of “me, me, me” with most of the language focused on how great the organization is.
Very poorly written value prop statements. It’s darn hard to tell what value some of you add.
No clear indication of what types of companies you serve and what you do for them. I can see on your website that you “help global organizations succeed in today’s tough competitive world…” but what exactly is it that you do?
No evidence of any expertise. You tell me you can solve all my problems, but you don’t give me any evidence that you can. Where are your white papers and webinars that will give me the confidence that you know what you are talking about?
No calls to action. I would give you my contact information so you could follow up if you gave me something worthwhile to download.
No value in your downloads. I see I can download a brochure but that’s hardly worth parting with my email address.
Asking for too much information. You do have a couple pieces of information that I might be interested in, but it’s kind of hard to tell what’s really in them. I’m certainly not going to give you my physical address so you can send me junk mail. (Plus I suspect you might sell my personal information since I don’t see anywhere that you say you won’t.)
Poorly placed calls to action. I didn’t see that call to action because I had to scroll down past all of your self-centered self-talk about how great you are to actually see it. I never got that far.
While the website isn’t the Holy Grail of marketing any more than any other program is, it is a central hub for your marketing programs. Very likely your outbound marketing campaigns are pointing your prospects to a website for more information. Certainly inbound relies heavily on your website (or micro-sites) to convert visitors into prospects.
For many of your potential customers the website is the first (and sometimes the last) look they get at your company and what you do. Make sure you put your best foot forward in 2010 and spend at least some of your effort working on your site, testing it, and then reworking it again.
All the best!