Beware the Inbound Marketing Carnival Barkers!

carnival barker vermont state fair
Barker at the Grounds of the Vermont State Fair, circa 1904. Library of Congress on Flickr.

Step right up!

Step right up!

And look at the wonder of the modern marketing machine.

SEO, blogs, automation, all in one space from one provider.

Never have to do anything yourself

Turn it on and watch it go.

Leads for you.

More leads than you can handle.

All you have to do is sign right here. . .

I’m sure this happens in every industry, but it seems especially pernicious in the two I’ve spend my working life in – IT and marketing.

What “this” am I talking about? Continue reading Beware the Inbound Marketing Carnival Barkers!

Have You Ever Discounted Someone Not Wearing a Tie?

trex hates pushupsCause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man. – ZZ Top

Have you ever discounted or ignored great advice because the person giving it was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt?

Or a bathrobe?

Or jeans and t-shirt with a dinosaur trying to do pushups (one of the favorite shirts I own).

In certain parts of the business world, there’s a fetish for a suit and tie as the mark of someone “serious.”

I say that’s nucking futs. Continue reading Have You Ever Discounted Someone Not Wearing a Tie?

Tales of Marketing and Sales: Help Me, Help You

sad man kneeling on one knee, looking at young attractive woman
What talking to sales often feels like. 

All you marketers have been down this road before, a sales team that says you aren’t helping yet is a black hole when you ask “how can we help?”

It’s . . . frustrating, right?

We’re going through that with a few of our clients now.

Marketing essentially has two jobs:

  1. Bring people to the table to make a purchase (either directly or via a salesperson, depending on the product)
  2. Lay the groundwork of awareness and trust that you’re a company worth spending money with

Continue reading Tales of Marketing and Sales: Help Me, Help You

No One Cares About You #CGTCM

no one cares, red stamp on a grunge paper textureOne of the lessons I’m reminded of again and again when marketing is that

no one cares about you; it’s our job to make them.

This is the first in a series of posts I’m doing as I sort through (in my head) issues around inbound. I’ve called it The Cheeky Guide to Content Marketing (#CGTCM). I think I picked up “cheeky” from the MIL, who uses the word a lot.

I have had grand designs to even turn this into an ebook at some point. There are plenty of inbound ebooks on strategy and what you should do. Many of them aren’t very down and dirty though — or talk about the agony of creating something good that just doesn’t work.

Cuz that sucks.  Continue reading No One Cares About You #CGTCM

Thinking Boxes and Bleeding Ears

thinking cats backgroundFingernails on a blackboard.

That sound foam makes when it’s just creaking and on the edge of snapping.

Gum smackers.

And anytime someone says “Let’s think outside of the box.”

These are all things that make my ears want to bleed.

Continue reading Thinking Boxes and Bleeding Ears

Buzzwords Suck

Businessman running away from angry bees
Run, run as fast as you can from buzzwords — and those who use them to bullshit you.

I like words. A lot. Probably more than the next guy. But I like my words to add clarity, not confusion.

That’s one of the reasons why I HATE buzzwords.

I have to be careful here because not all buzzwords are bullshit. New stuff happens all the time. Sometimes we need a word or phrase to describe this new concept. I’m good with that. Take content/inbound marketing; not entirely a buzzword. However, it’s a concept I now make a living making reality for our clients so’s I could be slightly biased here. It’s not new, but “inbound” is a good enough phrase to describe a break – well, a shift – in marketing focus. Not a huge fan of the phrase, but it works.
Continue reading Buzzwords Suck

Marketing: Always Be Human

Human to human in inbound marketing
Marketing is about connecting and being a real, live human — not a droning corporate tool.

Marketing can become a self-consuming and navel-gazing perpetual motion machine. If you aren’t tying your marketing to achieve direct sales results, then I have a hard time figuring out why you’re marketing. Grabbing attention, engagement, personality, aren’t ends in and of themselves, they’re stepping stones to get to someone buying something from you.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole. Or sound like a lifeless corporate drone. Continue reading Marketing: Always Be Human