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I love your stuff and completely agree with your point that B2C and B2B have little in common when analyzing the path to purchase. However, I'm concerned about your formula for success.
Your formula emphasizes GREAT salespeople. The reality is that it's a GREAT system that drives results. Great B2B sales organizations build the genius into their system, average and poor organizations rely on the genius of people. The corporate sale is far too complex, with far to many players (Marketo research demonstrates as many as 20 people will directly influence a purchase), and far too long to rely on merely hard work, great salespeople, offers and testimonials. I'm also surprised because it appears that the marketing formula is not in your equation and my research, experience (and research conducted by the Sales Executive Council) demonstrate that the marketing approach being put forth by the sales organization can reduce or improve the results experienced by as much as 50 - 70%.
1 year, 7 months ago on Next Time Someone Says: B2C, B2B, It’s all just B2P, right?
@ginidietrich@Doug_Davidoff Well said.
2 years, 7 months ago on Komen Provides Excellent Crisis Management Case Study
@ginidietrich Obviously I have no idea what happened inside this case. Two experiences to share. First, I've seen high level internal marketing executives who haven't earned a seat at the table because they can't stop being reactive in everything they do. Even when they speak about results and impact, it's always a reaction to something else.
You earn a seat at the table when you proactively impact the larger conversation. You bring more to the (well) table than just your subject matter expertise. You get and speak to the bigger picture.
I've learned that if you wait for the client to come to you (which is happens with even the biggest firms) executives will screw things up. If they understood the PR/communication impact of their decisions - they'd be PR/communication executives. What's Murphy's Law? If a client can screw something up...well, you get the picture.
I think a big piece of the problem is the underlying economic model that drives most communication firms, but I digress.
At the risk of being provocative (and you know how I hate being that), who's fault is this? Is it's Komen's for failing to bring their PR firm into the discussions early enough, or is it their PR firms for failing to have earned "a set at the table" to be involved in conversations BEFORE it was thought to be a PR issue?
My experience is that far, far, far too often PR folks (of all shapes and sizes) serve tactically and don't provide the type of counsel needed when things aren't in crisis to earn the role to prevent crisis. I do not mean to convict all providers (just most).
I also don't mean to discount the point you make here. It's instructive to companies that they should be using their advisors better (or replace them if they can step up), and it's instructive to PR firms and professionals - they shouldn't wait for the crisis either.
We are a client of a company (Angel Vision) that I think does a GREAT job of dealing with this up front. They make very clear what they consider a "good client" to be. They lay it out in an agreement (things like, all people contributing will be on these calls, or you'll turn things around within x period of time etc.) and then provide a "Good Client Discount."
Now, I know that their real fee is what they're charging me after the "discount," but I got to tell you a feel more commitment to get things done for them. After all, we all like to get rewarded for what we're supposed to do any way, don't we?
3 years, 2 months ago on Managing Unruly Clients
@EricaAllison i think you've hit on something. PR people and members of all other disciplines need to throw themselves into broader, different business disciplines to learn how things work together. It's a new filter that I'm going to use whenever I hire anyone - either for employment or advice. Thanks!
3 years, 2 months ago on The Communication Industry Has a Perception Issue
@ginidietrich @Danny Brown I love the first goal - I'd be cautious of the second. Regulatory bodies - whether "self regulating" or otherwise - often cause more harm that good. Just look at the finance industry.
Great post (as always). I have some thoughts - primarily that the situation the PR/Communication industry finds itself may not be as unique as you think it is. I have this exact conversation with HR people, IT people, finance people - hell I even have with salespeople (and you'd think the ROI on them would be obvious).
I think the issue is more fundamental. There is a chasm (and unfortunately the chasm appears to be getting larger) between the strategic/vision center of the business and the operational silos. As PR, IT, Finance, Marketing, etc. people gain more and more expertise about their discipline, they seem to move further and further away from connecting the dots to the business needs.
In today's drought companies have been forced to ask very difficult questions and are moving away from activity based judgments (how many stories ran) to, well, does this activity really make a difference judgments. If you can't connect the dots to making a difference you are going to be relegated to obscurity.
Unfortunately, numbers alone won't bridge the gap (which is why lots of CEOs don't "get" digital). The only thing that will is business savvy (or business acumen). Communications people need to become businesspeople, having business conversations. When they do that the chasm can be bridged and, suddenly, things make sense.
Thanks for the forum to share,
Interesting stuff. I've found procrastination not to be as evil as it is made out to be. When I'm procrastinating there's usually a reason. Most often it's because I've made an obligation, but I'm not committed. So I've learned to listen to my procrastination as an early warning system that maybe I'm trying to force myself to pursue something, that I'd be far better off not not pursuing.
Just a thought.
3 years, 6 months ago on I’ve Been Putting Off Writing This Post on Procrastination
Very insightful. One of the values at Imagine (my company) is innovation, which we define as finding "the third way." If you think about it, innovation is all about finding a new, better way to do something.
There's your way, my way and, IF WE REALLY LISTEN TO EACH OTHER, a third way. @johnheaney , I agree with you that listening to the opposition can help us prepare to deal with them, and I'd add that if we REALLY listen to peope we completely disagree with and take a learning posture, we may find that third way that helps to change the world.
3 years, 7 months ago on Your Mom Tells You What You Want to Hear
Great stuff Gini.
I've been talking for years about the need for salespeople to gain business acumen. Ever since I became aware of just how important it is, and the difference it makes; I've become increasingly aware that it's not just salespeople who lack it. A PR professional with business acumen and judgment is, well, gold!
Thanks for the lesson - I may send a few salespeople over here to read it.
3 years, 8 months ago on Gaining Respect for Yourself and the PR Industry
@40deuce Sheldon, I don't think it's so much what consultants say. It's far more when clients "hear."
3 years, 8 months ago on Living with the Pregnant Widow
@janbeery Yeah, I got a bit carried away. After I submitted my reply I got the tongue in cheek. I've just heard things like that so many times from people.
@ginidietrich and now you have your blog post for tomorrow.
@lesmckeown Well said. That's why I think the most valuable skill in the world to have is the ability and discipline to always see things through your customer's eyes.
@janbeery Thanks. Just responded to you as well.
@janbeery I agree with the intent of what you are saying, but not competely in it's execution. The promise of SM/SEO/PPC whatever is that "you'll be at the top" or something similar to this.
SM is a tactic in a much, much larger strategic approach. There are lots of ways to grow a business. Believe it or not the vast majority of successful businesses are not actively engaged in SM (please don't misunderstand - I'm not saying they shouldn't be).
To add to that, the vast majority of people active on SM posting, what is it, valuable links - ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL!!
There's a great opportunity for PR/SM pros to stand out and create some REAL value. Give us the filter - let us know what's really involved in being successful. Help us understand why so many play and fail and how we can make sure we're successful. Show us how SM fits in the larger picture.
Then you'll get my attention - and open access to my marketing budget.
Great stuff Les.
I'd laugh at the humor, except it's a little too realistic.
This is a perfect example of the problems people have in confusing process with results. It's also a great example of how the message is so focused on the tactics of SM. SM works as part of a larger engagement strategy. It takes commitment, but I think of it like the Celtics think. There's a sign in the locker room that says:
There's a game tonight and we have to play. We might as well win.
Since we are going to be putting forth the effort to play in business - we might as well put forth the effort to win.
@lesmckeown @HerzogIND Yup - you got me right.
@ginidietrich @HerzogIND A joke that is tried and failed is better than no joke at all.
3 years, 8 months ago on An Open Letter to PR Professionals
@HerzogIND @ginidietrich @thebrandbuilder I deal with this all the time with the salespeople we coach and lead. They want, no - correct that, they need a seat at the table and they keep blaming the client "for not understanding" as the reason they're not getting one.
What I've learned in sales is also probably true for PR - two words make all the difference: Business Acumen. My recommendation is invest in it.
Good stuff. I'm curious though - do you think there is a substantial difference in Facebook impact for B2C vs. B2B?
3 years, 8 months ago on Case Study: Wholesome Tummies Grows Via Facebook
@ginidietrich But you were never REALLY a PR person, you just played one in business. You came to the results approach so naturally that it was what you really were to begin with. (while I did not write this reponse for this purpose, I find it is never a bad idea to kiss up to the moderator :-)).
@thebrandbuilder I agree that many, many times the "fault" if you will is on the client's part. I'd also agree that it is rare that the client has the expertise needed to understand the integration.
That said, if the PR/SM or whatever, takes the specialist role and doesn't develop the business acument to be what I call a business person who support PR/SM or whatever, they cannot expect to regularly earn a seat at the executive table and, going forward, will find their ability to drive value (for both the client and themselves) to be severely limited.
@ErinBrumleve Erin, the danger with things like this is that inaccuracy doesn't really matter. Salespeople, employers, employees, and other resources will use tools like these and will treat the info in there as if it were true.
When I was in sales, working directly with consumers I would have killed for a tool like this - and I'm certain that a part of Spokeo's (or any other competitor) monetization strategy is to provide this to employers and salespeople.
3 years, 8 months ago on Deleting Your Spokeo Profile
@ginidietrich @DallasK @timjahn Spokeo is clearly not doing anything illegal, or even unethical (I used to get information like this when I was a stockbroker in the 90s - I just had to pay a handsome fee to have access to it). It doesn't make it any less scary.
I think the bigger problem here is that you have to opt-out of these types of sites - and I didn't even know Spokeo existed until I saw this blog. Gini - I know it's too late for your trends, but this will be a growing one.
@PabloEdwards Yup. The good news is that there is more than enough need to go around. thanks for the comment.
@HowieG well said. I'd add that executives - especially CEO level executives - understand that all results don't translate to units and easily measured activities. Let me know what levers it impacts, let me know how it will increase sales or make it easier to make sales and I'll be able to understand your points and allocate the appropriate resources.
Thanks for the thoughts.
@HerzogIND Thank you - glad you liked it.
@3HatsComm Completely agree with you. My point here is appies not only to PR professionals, but actually anyone who wants "a seat at the table." Keep the focus on results, keep the conversation on the critical points and executive will give you the authority to work on the details with the people in the organization responsible for managing the details. I've found that executives (myself included) have far more attention and patience when the people we're talking with provide greater context around results and why the conversation matters.
If I'm left to figure out why it matters, that's when you lose me.
@Danny Brown Danny, thanks for the comment - I'm glad it resonated.
I don't mean to say that we (generically) have no tolerance for process, just very little. What we need is results context. Too often the focus of PR professionals in <b>on</b> process. If I feel understood and I'm confident that we are aligned about the results I have both more tolerance for process - and less need, frankly, to hear about the detail - because my trust in you is much greater.
Uh-oh. Gini, I respectfully disagree as well. I don't want to get lost in the politics of WikiLeaks, so I'll avoid that issue. My concern is your point about the power of transparency.
My feeling: All good things in doses.
Yes, on balance transparency is good. Too much transparency is bad. For two reasons:1. The signal to noise ratio makes it impossible to understand anything. The "maker" of prospectuses learned this long ago. When laws and regulations required public companies to disclose potential negative information it wreaked havoc on businesses. How can they raise money AND be honest.
That's when the lawyers solved the problem. They discovered that if they merely disclosed EVERYTHING, no one would be able to tell what mattered and what didn't. Hence a tool designed to create transparency has become virtually useless.
2. Some secrets are good. I certainly wouldn't want everyone to know what I'm thinking. The ability to seek counsel with the comfort of privacy is critical. If we reach the point where everything is transparent, we'll be less likely - not more likely - to seek good counsel, and we'll all suffer for it.
You point about loss of control is irrefutable, I'm just not sure it's all a good thing.
3 years, 9 months ago on WikiLeaks End Our Perception of Control
Great insight. I see businesses of all shapes and size really struggling with this symptom - in all it's manifestations. I'm convinced one reason that "old media" still have figured out the model is because they think of the Internet, social media, etc. as "new" media. We'd all be better off if we dropped the adjectives, looked at the world from our customers eyes and went about being compelling.
Thanks for the thoughts - and hey, you're in my neck of the woods. Nice to see an Annapolitan contributing!
3 years, 9 months ago on The Facebook “60 Minutes” Interview: Square Peg in Round Hole
Peter, this is a GREAT post. I work with salespeople all across North America - the recipe you gave to getting through the interview is precisely the recipe for making the sale. No suprise there.
Thanks for sharing this - I'll be sharing it with our clients.
3 years, 9 months ago on Job Hunting: What Makes You Remarkable?
@ginidietrich @a_greenwood Because if were easy: a) everyone would be doing it so there wouldn't be any value there, and (MORE IMPORTANTLY) b) it wouldn't be any real fun and wouldn't hold your attention.
3 years, 9 months ago on Eight Steps for Getting Buy-In and Managing Change
Great stuff. As you know I deal with this myself - with my team and the teams my clients have that we lead and impact.
I've learned 2 things to add to your list:
1. Buy-in is often overrated and can actually cause things to bog down. I'm not say that you should ream things down people's throats, but it's impossible to proof something will work or won't (typically a key focus/barrier when trying to get buy in) until it does (or doesn't).
This led to my second lesson:
2. The focus should be on action - are people acting as you want them to. If they are, you'll get your progress, if they aren't then that's where the focus needs to be. There is a virtuous circle that exists:
- Action leads to results (with postive or negative),- Results lead to experience,- Experience is the key for learning. Without experience we're just debating our opinions. With experience we're able to see what we did, and what happened when we did it. Was the outcome good/bad (did we like the outcome/not). From there we can learn valueable lessons, and- Valuable lessons impact Actions - which starts the process all over again. When living in the future (as you do) and trying to create something new and powerful (even in existing businesses)
I think if you keep the focus on action and you all work to learn from the actions - the buy-in comes. Hope this helps.
@ginidietrich I understand that there are many competitors at their heels. Certainly taking Google's bid would be the safe choice (though while everyone here is saying they turned down cash, I'd be suprised if most of the purchase weren't stock - and as you mentioned in a previous post Google may be in a "death rattle).
My point is that I don't think it's as simple as "Holy Cow!! $6 billion - Hell yes!!" There are many companies, Intuit and Microsoft among them, that could have taken the safe road and taken the big dollars. They didn't, it was predicted that they'd fail and they changed the world. For what it's worth - while I wouldn't be buying their stock - I hope they make $6 billion look like chump change.
3 years, 9 months ago on My Groupon Prediction
@dgulbran I'm not saying that it's unattainable (I'm not even saying Groupon is smart to have turned down the offer); however if it were truly copyable all anyone would need to do to grow a business would be to hire away another comapnies salespeople. Most businesses that have tried to do that, however have failed. If you look at their business model, their key asset isn't the bargain shoppers it's the advantage they have with the local businesses that make those offers.
@darkmoon And *that* is precisely my point. The distribution, the relationships and the knowledge that Groupon have is not "easily" copyable.
Not to belabor the point, because again I don't really know anything about Groupon or it's competitors.
BUT, several people are slamming Groupon because their model and approach are so easily copied. If that were really true then Google would not pay $6 billion for them. They'd be far more likely to buy one of the "other" guys for a lot less, give them to Google brand and go at it. There's clearly something there (at Groupon). What it is or what it's worth - I have no idea. I'm sure we'll find out in time.
I don't know Groupon's business model so I have no personal understanding of how easy or difficult it would be to copy them. I do know that companies don't offer to pay $6 billion for something that is easy to copy. Clearly Google thought it would "cost" more than $6 billion to build there own.
There was another easily copied business model I remember. One where you could upload videos for free. Google tried to copy them with Google video. It flopped, and so the went ahead a bought You Tube.
I remember when Microsoft bought Inuit (makers of Quickbooks and Quicken). Scott Cook, the founder said he agreed to the sale because he (and the VC's) just couldn't turn down the money. The Justice Dept. didn't let the sale occur - good thing for Cook and Intuit as the company grew it's worth to multiples of the Microsoft offer and continued to have great impact. Microsoft tried - and failied - many times to copy.
Look I have know idea if turning down Google is a good idea or a bad one. Personally, I've gone from not caring about Groupon to rooting for them a bit.
@MissMarcia I agree that there is increasingly a disconnecct between athletes, politicians, business leaders, etc. and "the real world." I did not mean to diminish that thought at all.
3 years, 10 months ago on Two-Minute Drill: NFL’s PR Mess Goes from Bad to Worse
Interesting thoughts, but I'm not quite sure what objective measurement you're using to demonstrate that the NFL's image has gone from bad to worse. It's ratings are up, last year's problems of games being blacked out because they weren't sold out have virtually gone away, international interest in the league is up and the game, by all measurements I've seen, is more profitable than ever. Notwithstanding their blowing it with a lockout next year, I think every sport in America (especially baseball) would long for their "problems."
I think we need to be careful in prescribing social media for everyone. Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world - and the least active in social media. Social media is a tactic, granted one that should be utilized by most; but by no means is it mandatory.