Category Archives: Business Development

Building Revenue Through Connection and Collaboration

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Business Development in Today’s Economy about the 4 Cs. Connection, Collaboration, Clients and Criteria.

For this article I’m revisiting Connection and Collaboration, because they are so closely intertwined.

Connection, as discussed earlier, is about reaching out not only to clients, but to partners, colleagues, co-workers and industry experts as well. Connection applies to growing your network in a number of ways, to build out a rounded experience. From every conversation I have, I learn something new. It never fails. I also make sure to offer something up as well — to be generous. Connection is about how you are talking to potential clients. Where are you connecting with them? Is it a trade show? A networking event? A webinar? On LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?

I have an incredible example about Connection taking place online. I was watching a panel being streamed live from the Digital Hollywood Media Summit (video streaming produced by Naked Media.org) and was chatting with people in the digital space from a variety of backgrounds. We were all commenting from the peanut gallery, and then questions were being posed at the same time to the panel. Then after the panel, they grabbed what we  online decided was the star of the panel, Artie Bulgrin, head of ESPN Research, for an online only interview. We then got to pose questions for him to answer. It was a totally wild and unique experience! I not only learned from the people I was chatting with, got to interact with the panel, but I also shared with a journalist from Business Week and other digital researchers and strategists from all over the U.S. We’re now following each other on Twitter. See how quickly you can create community?

On Collaboration…well, what could be the possibility of the relationships that were created in the chat? Could we collaborate on research projects, start our own community based on a POV from the chat or build business together? You should think about businesses you could reach out to in your industry, or in complementary industries that could be useful. Think about what’s missing from your business, or a blind spot for you. What do you need to know about? The point is, you should never stop reaching out. Make sure you bring something valuable to the table. Always. But more importantly, Listen.

These days, with the economy as it is, we can’t go it alone. I’m a strong believer in that. I’m connecting and collaborating more than I have ever done in my life. I’m a part of an agency “consortium” where I’m the Digital & Social Media Expert. I’m in another group where I’m the Mass Media Expert. I’m in another group as the Women-owned Small Business representative. The opportunities are endless. And, the beauty of this is that these collaborations can take place online and offline too. If you connect with someone online, take it off-line and vice versa. Book in a call or meet up for a coffee. We all benefit from the human touch and from working together.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Ideas Worth Spreading
Image by Rico-san via Flickr

I was recently introduced by a friend and former colleague to Ted Talks. I had always known about the conference, but not that they were hosting all of the talks via video on their site. I was amazed and so excited by it. So, I went and took a look.

After completing my profile (I was intrigued because they asked interesting things of me, not just my email address and Opt-in) that I willingly signed up. I then performed a search based on specific criteria, and I was amazed to find Sean McCullough of ping.fm, and Kay Koplovitz — media mogul turned VC listed on the site. I thought to myself, wow, you’re in good company!

Cut to I listened to the guru of all viral media (and a rather intuitive Marketer), Seth Godin. Ok, I know, you’ve read all of his books. You subscribe to his blog. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But in the 20 minutes that he had to speak, he hammered home one of the MOST important differences in Marketing. It’s that we HAVE TO STOP INTERRUPTING OUR AUDIENCE. I was yelling. Did you hear me? Go and view it for yourself. View video now.

The A #1 Rule. Find the Influencers. They’re out there. We can find them. Let them tell your story…through podcasts, through blogs, through Facebook pages, through LinkedIn Expert requests. Give them something valuable and compelling to promote. Have your audience put widgets on their sites and then push content to them. Heck, start at the top and make those people your ambassadors. Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s like that shampoo commercial that Joe Namath did back in the 70s “And she told 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.” I’m not telling a lot of you Marketers something you don’t already know — or haven’t been doing. A lot of B2B and B2C Marketers have been doing this for a long time now. I’m just reiterating the importance.

That’s why I love Social Media as a part of the overall Digital Marketing strategy for a brand. Big or small — Social Media is a new avenue that we never had before where we can really talk to our customer on this deep a level. I’ve heard it quoted and I wish I could attribute it that Social Media is “The World’s Biggest Focus Group”. Why I get so excited about it is that it allows us to have conversations and really get in touch with people that are passionate about your brand. In traditional marketing (and I’m very much a fan of some of traditional marketing practices still), you are pushing, pushing, pushing. If the a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? Nobody knows. (That’s a whole other debate.)

But in the Social Media world, and this is where it can get sticky for larger brands…your fans will let you know exactly how they feel about you. And boy will they. But what separates the wheat from the chaff are the brands that are willing to take a dive, and be strategic of course, do a little listening, and enter the space. Have those conversations. Value your consumers. Think of Social Media as another tactic in your marketing arsenal. And don’t forget to budget for it. I’m a marketer that has worked in TV, Radio, Print, and now online. As I was telling one of my clients, On-line is becoming splintered or segmented — just like what Cable did to Broadcast. Embrace it! Amazing!

Comments are accepted and welcome!

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Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media

Compact Disc
Image via Wikipedia

While I was on Twitter today, I came across this article on Mashable a few times, Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media. It’s great, you should read it. I always look to my friends on Twitter to expose me to new and better ways to use Social Media.

As a Marketer for over 15 years now (yes, 15 years), I have always been at the forefront of Marketing. I have worked for some major companies including MTV, VH1, USA Networks, Universal and Hearst. I’ve had clients like: HBO and AT&T. No, this article is not about name dropping. It’s about being enough of a pioneer and risk-taker to enter into new ways of marketing. To find new ways to talk to consumers. What frustrated me most about some companies, is how some of them live in a silo. I know, there are some of you right now from big brands nodding your heads. Frustrated sitting in your chairs. Half the reason I am a consultant is because I’m about moving forward quickly and finding new ways to communicate and learn from the consumer. To me, you don’t wait until something is tried and true. By the time you’re tried and true, time has passed you by. Someone else nabbed your audience, your customer. (I’m also someone who was on the waiting list for the iBook when it came out. I wasn’t waiting for the technology to be perfect. It served me well for 5 years by the way.)

We have been blessed by some brilliant minds in marketing and technology over the past 20 years. I was just speaking with a colleague the other day about how the transformation of marketing is completely parallel to the transformation of music formats. During my lifetime we’ve gone from the 33, to the 8-Track tape to the Cassette to the CD to the MP3. That’s like a lifetime for some people. Heck, my niece is younger than that and she can drive. Marketing has seen the same transformation.

So, I dare you. Be bold. Try new things. Get familiar with social media. Instantly you’ll see how it can benefit your brand. What’s the matter? Afraid the consumer might find you out?

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Business Development in Today’s Economy

View of Wall Street, Manhattan.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s no secret that budgets have tightened up, businesses are scaling down and that cash is king.

Business development efforts are becoming the lifeline of companies right now, but there are still some simple, strategic best practices to implement that can help you close more business.

There are 4 simple mantras, which I call the 4Cs. They are:

•    Connection
•    Collaboration
•    Clients
•    Criteria

There’s a 5th mantra, but I’ll save it for later.

Connection: It’s exactly what it means. It means finding new and different ways to connect with people and companies that creates awareness of your brand/company as well as driving leads. Connection means reaching out to your current clients who can direct you to other companies that may benefit from your product/service. It also means have a lot of conversations with people in an industry that can lead you to more people. It means being courageous to really put yourself out there. It also means having a refined position or elevator speech that can get someone’s wheels turning on how to help you right away. Offer to buy someone lunch or coffee. People always need to eat, right? Other ways to find new people are through social media (LinkedIn), industry organizations, networking events, your family and friends. Don’t know how to really leverage social media? More on that later.

Collaboration: Who could add a vertical channel to your business? Who could you be aligning yourself with strategically? You offer X to clients, and you know someone that offers Y, so how can you pool your resources and knowledge to win new business? Seek out partners that bring something to the table that you don’t, but have a shared sphere of influence where you can both reap the benefits. Be willing to share as opposed to keeping it all of yourself. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Clients: For god sakes, know whom you are talking to before you contact them. Research their vertical. Read their website. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn. Read the trades, WSJ, get on to Hoovers. But make sure you do your homework before you have a conversation. Your potential client wants to know you have an understanding of their business. It makes for a productive and intelligent conversation and believe it or not, many people don’t do this simple exercise. Clients want empathy and want to know you understand their challenges. Do the same when you’re networking with someone as well.

Criteria: Before you ever pursue a particular business vertical, establish clear criteria upfront on what would make a good client. I know, right now you’re thinking, jeez, anyone will do. No, they won’t. You still have to grow your business smartly and strategically. You want to have clients that you can bring value to, but they should bring value to fuel your growth. Are they a portfolio/client list builder? Is there a service you don’t get to offer often, but can with this particular client/vertical? Is it a good case study? Will it give you entrée into a new vertical you haven’t pursued, but are well positioned to capture? These are just a few things to look at, but you should determine what the exact criteria should be for your business.

Oh, so, I promised you a 5th mantra…It’s P, for Passion. Be excited, be motivated. You should be driven to pursue this client, business, vertical. It should inspire you. It will actually take you further – to work harder, later, smarter, faster. Clients can smell that. They want to know you’re excited. And during this difficult time, there’s something intangible but yet measurable about Passion.

Questions, comments? Please send them my way.

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