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Archive for the ‘Sales/Sales Support’ Category

Do you avoid the word “sales” in your marketing communications?

I don’t mean “sales” the noun, as in “Sales were up 12 percent year over year.”

I mean “sales” the adjective, as in “sales representative.”

When you publish your 800 number and invite prospects to call, who do you say is standing by to take their calls? Customer service agents? Or sales associates?

Have you decided, at some basic level, that labelling the people who call on your prospects and customers “sales reps,” and the work they do “sales,” carries a negative connotation?

The Age-Old Debate: Is Sales a Dirty Word?

If it’s true that sales is the world’s second oldest profession — and maybe even the oldest, come to think of it — then the debate about whether to call a spade a spade, and a sales rep a sales rep, has probably been going on for eons.

On one side, there are the con arguments. Where at some level it seems smarter, maybe cleaner, not to remind customers and potential customers that you are out to sell them something. Better, instead, to call members of your selling force “consultants,” “business developers,” “relationship managers,” “account directors” — anything but sales reps, for heaven’s sake, on their business cards.

Then there’s the pro perspective. Where nothing happens until somebody sells something. And where, let’s face it, nobody’s fooling anyone with touchy-feely euphemisms. After all, sales is an honorable profession. Done well, it has little to do with fast talking and high-pressure tactics. Instead, it’s all about attentive listening, adding value and solving problems.

As I said, this is not a new argument. And if you Google around the topic of “does sales have negative connotations,” you’ll find any number of interesting and entertaining perspectives, including this article by Roger Bostdorff, titled Why Customers Hate Sales People, and this post by Andrew Rudin, headlined: Stop Selling! Trendy Idea but Bad Strategy.

One Rep’s Take

So where do I come down? It so happens this very question jumped out at me today, on my way to catch the afternoon bus.

Strolling past a downtown hotel, I noticed a sign touting the hotel’s banquet and meeting services. The sign offered a phone number, with a call to action which said I could speak to one of the hotel’s “sales representatives.”

It was as though the word “sales” was suddenly presented as a Rorschach test.

And in that split second, as my mind went searching for the essence of the word, along with any emotional or intellectual attachments, what flashed to mind — right or wrong — was the image of “sales” as a mostly one-dimensional, uni-directional value exchange. Value moving from the person buying the service or product (me, need-to-plan-a-meeting guy), to the person pitching the service or product (hotel sales guy or gal).

So I reflected a little more on that visceral reaction (because, after all, you’ve got time for such weighty matters while sitting on the bus).

Were I to call a hotel, looking to plan my next meeting or banquet, would I look forward to speaking with a sales rep? Or would I feel more motivated and optimistic at the prospect of speaking to an “event manager”? A “meeting specialist”? Maybe even a “certified meeting planner”?

I have to admit, despite being a sales professional myself, I think I’d prefer talking with someone who’s title seems to promise that they will help me solve my problem first (value coming my way), knowing full well they will eventually want my money (value going their way).

Maybe that’s why, some years ago, I asked that my supervisor allow me to use the self-fashioned title “VP, Solutions Development,” as opposed to “VP, Sales.”

Granted, it might sound a bit high-falutin’, even egg-headish. And most definitely it’s a bit namby pamby, judging by red-meat, there’s-nothing-wrong-with-the-word-sales standards.

But what I hope the title signals, to people I meet on behalf of my organization, is that they can expect me to focus, first and foremost, on seeking to understand and be of value to them and their business…before I try and sell them on mine.

So I guess that puts me in the anti “sales” camp, at least when it comes to using the word as an adjective in a job title.

But again, Boss, if you’re reading this: I’ve got absolutely nothing against the noun. Just the adjective. Just the adjective.

___

Where do you and your organization come down on the word “sales”: Negative connotations, or a non-event?

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This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.

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A little of the right content goes a long way toward converting a new customer — especially as you get near the bottom of the sales funnel.

I was reminded of this truism recently while researching contractors to perform tree work around my home. A few too many years of growth, nature’s whim and weather wear-and-tear had left my wife and I with a handful of trees in need of either removal or grooming.

The city where I live publishes a list of licensed tree contractors. Plus, I consulted a few neighbors for referrals. Based on preliminary research, I called three contractors.

At this point I’m deep in the funnel. My trees need work. I’ve gone to the trouble of contacting a service provider and asking for an estimate. I’ve spent 30 minutes or more touring the yard, talking through the needs of each tree, asking when the work can be done.

Yet in each case, I was struck by how casual, to the point of lackadaisical, these service providers were about the project scoping and estimating process.

  • No. 1 arrived on a motorcycle, a quote sheet folded in his pocket. I loaned him a pen and a clipboard with which to jot down the work scope and estimate.
  • No. 2 scrawled his estimate across a price sheet, neglecting to use any of the preprinted lines and boxes for labelling the trees to be worked on or entering rate amounts.
  • No. 3 offered me a brochure, which seemed like progress. Then he proceeded to scribble his scope and estimate in the brochure’s narrow margins.

Missing in Action: Bottom of the Sales Funnel Content

I was willing to overlook a few rough edges. After all, these guys are hustling to do estimates in the evenings after long days working hard on current projects. We’re standing out in a breezy back yard, not sitting comfortably across a desk in an air-conditioned office. Theirs is a blue-collar business built more on technical know-how and physical capability than formalities.

But where the sales process truly fell apart, in each case, was when I requested what seemed to me was the barest minimum of content. Content that would give me confidence in them and their ability to perform the work. Content that would help me differentiate one from the other.

  • Their contractor license number
  • Proof of insurance
  • Names and contact information for 2 or 3 customers they’d worked for in the past

Mind you, I wasn’t expecting to get this info on the spot, in a die-cut folder overflowing with four-color sell sheets and glowing testimonials. I was willing to receive it as a follow-up via phone or e-mail. None of the contractors has a website, so directing me online was not an option. Still, if they’d had a typewritten sheet of paper back in the truck (or the motorcycle saddle bags), that would have been fine.

Each contractor made a point of saying he’d been in business locally for decades. But you’d have sworn I was asking for content no prospect had requested before. 

No. 1, the motorcyclist, said he’d follow up with the info but never did. A few unanswered calls leaves me wondering if he is currently licensed and insured. Though I was most impressed with his tree-side manner, he won’t be getting the business.

No. 2 hasn’t responded, but I’m still following up because at least his wife returned my call while he was away on vacation. No. 3 hasn’t called or e-mailed since. Meanwhile, his tri-fold brochure, while speaking to his longevity in business, lacks the information (and assurance) that I’m seeking.

Suffice to say, if any of these three businesses had provided me with the content I wanted, when I was seeking it, they would have had me as a customer. Makes you wonder how many more years they’ll go in business without putting together a simple content asset that will answer the questions I asked, and thus position them for greater success at the bottom of the sales funnel.

Is Your Content Ready to Convert?

Granted, these are local contractors, not mid-size or large corporations. No doubt your company’s resources and commitment to deliver bottom of the sales funnel content about your brand, products, services and people is far advanced from these small — micro, really — businesses.

Or is it?

  • Does the standard brochure and presentation you’ve been relying on for years answer the questions today’s prospective customers are asking as they’re about to make a purchasing decision?
  • When was the last time you systematically surveyed your sales force to learn what might help them close more deals as prospects get down to the wire, ready to decide among vendors and price quotes?
  • Better yet, when was the last time you interviewed customers and prospective customers, to better understand their decision-making concerns and criteria, and then crafted deep-funnel content to address those questions? 

We marketers spend lots of time, energy and resources trying to get more opportunities into the top of our funnels.

Which makes you wonder if we’re focusing enough on the other end, close to the funnel’s bottom.

Where a little of the right content can go a long, long way.
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This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.

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It might be the most challenging communication to craft — and the most important — in any lead management program:

The email you deliver immediately after, or soon after, someone has accepted one of your advanced content assets (e.g., participated in a webinar, downloaded a podcast or an e-book, etc.).

It’s a moment of truth. Will this next communication invite them further into engagement with your brand, push them away, or leave them feeling and acting neutral, but open to further nurturing communications?

A Lead Management Email Fail

An experience I had last week serves as a perfect example of how NOT to craft that follow-up email.

The e-book I’d downloaded seemed relevant and promising enough: New research commissioned by a technology company (let’s call them WhizBang Communications) on best practices in mobile marketing. Then came the email:

Subject: Thank you for your interest in WhizBang Communications!

Having been focused on the content of the e-book itself, not the name of the firm which produced it, I didn’t immediately recognize the company name. Normally that would cause my spam antennae to vibrate and I’d simply delete the email without opening it. But for some reason, in a moment of weakness, I clicked to open.  

First paragraph: Thank you for your interest in WhizBang Communications! With over 400 clients spanning verticals including retail, grocery, CPG, financial services, healthcare, telecom, and utilities, WhizBang’s multi-channel communications platform delivers integrated…

“Stop. Hold it right there,” I said to myself. “Now I know who WhizBang Communications is. You’re the company which produced that e-book I downloaded just a few minutes ago.”

Sure enough, I went back to my desktop to check the e-book. It was, indeed, from WhizBang. But you wouldn’t have known it from the email. And therein lay the problem: I’d downloaded the e-book because of my interest in getting smarter about mobile marketing — not because I was interested in WhizBang.

Right there, in a split second, momentum stopped. Any sense of dialogue, stopped. Trust, barely beginning to sprout, stopped. Because WhizBang’s follow-up communication violated the first rule of of lead generation:

When I’m at the top of the funnel
and I accept your content,
my interest is in my need, and your content,
not your company or its products.

Continue the Conversation 

You can bet I won’t be calling or replying to the person who’s name is at the bottom of WhizBang’s email. And, in fact, I haven’t even read the e-book. I’m now officially turned off. As a lead, you can officially score me “cold.” And it didn’t have to go this way.

Here are at least four things WhizBang could have done with this all-important communication to keep the potential for further engagement alive. To keep what could have been a conversation, going. See if they make sense for your lead management program.

  1. Entice me to consume the content I’ve already accepted. Interestingly, the follow-up email didn’t mention the e-book at all. Plus, it arrived so soon, there was a good chance I’d yet to even read the e-book. What WhizBang’s marketing team could have done is highlighted some of the most intriguing research findings contained in the e-book, giving me greater incentive to consume, maybe even share, that initial piece of content.
  2. Offer me more content. Instead of hitting me with gobbledygook about WhizBang, the follow-up communication could have invited me to a webinar, or to download case studies about businesses similar to mine that are having success with mobile marketing. I’d probably have accepted that next content call to action, and by doing so moved one step further into the funnel.
  3. Speak to me about my issue. Rather than thank me for my interest in WhizBang (of which I had none), the email could have commiserated with me about the challenges faced by marketers when it comes to mobile marketing. Maybe it could have quoted from the research, letting me know I’m not alone in facing these challenges. And then it could have invited me to call or email if I had questions after reading the e-book and digesting the research.
  4. Don’t send the email. WhizBang could even have elected to not send the email, which is sometimes the best follow-up communication of all. After all, I’m not even remotely a warm lead for them at this point. This is the first time I’ve downloaded a piece of their content. We’re not even on a first-name basis, at least in my mind, and yet their email feels as though they are asking me out on a date.

Lead Management Rule No. 1? Take extreme care with that follow-up email after someone first accepts your content. Assume they’re interested in their issue, and your content, but not your company. And craft your communication accordingly.
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This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.

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Why in the name of Ebenezer Scrooge do technology marketers rate collateral as their top content-marketing priority for 2012?

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this two-part post, please give it a quick read now. You’ll discover that surprising finding from a recent survey by IDG, the technology media and research company. You’ll also find a couple of theories around why high-tech marketers might be focused so intently on what some might consider an old-fashioned, outmoded marketing tactic.

If you’ve read Part 1 and are looking for the 7 collateral planning considerations it promised, here you go.

How can your organization take its collateral to another level of effectiveness and efficiency in 2012? Try building a New Year’s Collateral Resolution around one or more of these ideas. 

“In 2012, I resolve to start making our organization’s
collateral more _____________.”


MEANINGFUL

Start with your core sales presentation. If the first few slides, or first dozen, are all about your company — tenure in business, employee headcount, hyperbole around being “biggest, leading, largest” — either delete or move them way to the back. On second thought, just go ahead and delete them. Then create fresh content that synthesizes what’s going on in your customers’ world. What’s causing businesses in their category to flourish or fail. What’s making people like them get promoted or fired. Carry that mindset over to sell sheets, putting benefits and features in proper order and balance. Instead of making your organization the hero of case studies, make the person who hired you or bought your product heroic.


MESMERIZING
Collateral doesn’t have to sound, look or be dull, dusty and corporate. That’s just the way we’ve chosen to create it over the years, assuming that credible and convincing content is one thing, while entertaining and engaging are something different. If it’s been a while, consider hiring an outsider to take a crack at telling and visualizing the story in a fresh, unconventional way. Not necessarily your story. THE story. The one that will grab and resonate with your target audience, as they look for a solution to whatever nagging need or untapped opportunity your product or service solves.


MOBILE

If you’re betting against mobile devices becoming more prominent within the sales process — on your side and the customers’ — you’re going to lose that bet. In the past week I’ve spoken with marketers and sales reps from three Fortune 500s that have made the move to tablet devices as a primary sales support tool, or plan to do so within six months. Will you be among the first in your category to optimize collateral for mobile in inventive ways — or will you bring up the rear?


MODULAR

If Lincoln had asked a B-to-B sales rep to deliver the Gettysburg Address, she would have done some quick rewriting to make it suit her speaking style. Rumor has it that when God handed Moses 10 commandments, Moses suggested some quick rearranging before they were set in stone. In other words, even the best sales presentation or collateral kit won’t fit every sales user just right. Focus on ways you can provide brand-approved, on-strategy content building blocks and templates, while allowing users some freedom to create and personalize.


MATRIXED

Are you creating the same parts and pieces of content over and over within multiple silos? Your collateral system gets smarter as soon as you find ways to create the same piece of content once, then redeploy it from a central repository into multiple applications — website, collateral, proposals and more. Collateral gets even smarter when you can update all those implementations automatically each time one of those core pieces of content gets changed at the central library level.


MULTIMEDIA

Video is the logical next big collateral step for many organizations, but don’t forget calculators, generators, custom mobile applications, widgets and other tools. Remember, content isn’t only information. It’s also interactions and experiences. Whatever it takes to move a customer or prospect forward in their engagement with your brand.


MEASURABLE

Make 2012 the year you begin marching toward a point where you no longer send a package of print pieces, or even e-mail attachments, as follow-up to customer or prospect inquiries. Instead, you empower sales reps and customer service agents to quickly compile custom website experiences for customers and prospects. As your audience visits those sites, you track content consumption patterns and plan future follow-up accordingly. Turning collateral into a navigable, measurable online experience truly makes it part of an overall, strategic content marketing continuum.

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Thanks for taking the time to read Touch Point City’s first-ever two-part blog post. Did it make a difference in how you’re thinking about collateral going forward? Have you already substantially reinvented what collateral is, and what it does, for your company and its customers? Please share your thoughts and best practices in comments.

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Don’t you love this time of year?

No, I’m not talking about the holidays — although those are nice, too.

I’m referring to the blizzard of marketing research that gets published in the last few months each year. Those studies that tell us where marketers’ brains and budgets are trending in the year to come.

Ebenezer Scrooge

Consider collateral the "humbug" of content marketing? Think again.

The survey I found most interesting this year is from IDG, the technology media and research company. And the finding I found most intriguing in that survey was this one:

Technology marketers said that when it comes to content marketing, their top spending priority in 2012 will be…

Collateral.

That’s right. More than webinars and virtual events (61%), videos (59%), research (55%) and articles (54%), tech marketers’ top content focus next year will be good old-fashioned collateral (71%).  Bear in mind, these are marketers inside companies operating at the vanguard of the global economy, producing the highest of high-tech systems, devices, software and the like.

Surprised that their top content priority is collateral? I sure was.


Collateral at the Cutting Edge?

Collateral is not exactly what most of us see when we visualize sophisticated marketers planning compelling content to sell cutting-edge products. Collateral tends to be company focused vs. thought leading and customer centric. It’s “let me tell you about me” content, which runs counter to what many argue is a cardinal rule of content marketing: Nobody really wants to hear about you and your products or services.

Beyond that, the very word collateral screams print. Dead trees. Static features/benefits information vs. dynamic, engaging storytelling. One needn’t strain to imagine Ebenezer Scrooge hectoring Bob Cratchit about the importance of using every last piece of the old collateral before daring to think about ordering new Scrooge and Marley sell sheets or case studies.

So how to account for the fact that the world’s most sophisticated marketers, working in support of the world’s most advanced products, rate collateral as their most important content marketing investment?

Maybe you’ve got some insights on this. If so, please share them with a comment. Meanwhile, I can think of two explanations:


1. Product-centric content still plays a huge role in the marketing and selling of technology.

Technology is a considered purchase. Relatively speaking, the sales cycle is long. And somewhere near cycle’s end, tech marketers need to provide detailed information that will allow a prospect to examine features, benefits and competitive advantages provided by the product they’re considering.

Articles, white papers, blog posts and other asset types can attract prospects into the funnel and help nurture them along. But at some point, somebody (sales) or some thing (collateral?) needs to show and tell exactly they are buying.


2. Collateral as it’s being defined, developed and used by tech marketers in 2012 is not your father’s collateral.

And certainly not Scrooge’s. I don’t know how IDG defined “collateral” in its survey, but it’s possible that what’s behind marketers’ focus on collateral is a new way of thinking about what collateral is, what it does, and why it matters.

As a content strategist who often works with clients on sales-support initiatives, I tend to think both of the above are true. When it comes to a considered purchase (and a lot of B-to-B products and services are considered purchases), product- and service-specific information still has a key role to play in facilitating the sale.

But beyond that, it stands to reason that, with evolving technology creating more possibilities for content management and delivery, progressive marketers are getting more inventive with each budget cycle about how to turn what were once largely print-based, static collateral systems into engaging, relevant information, interactions and experiences.

If your organization falls somewhere in the middle — recognizing collateral’s important role, but unsure how to take it to a next level — 2012 could be the year your collateral system starts evolving in a smart new direction.

Still with me? See Part 2 of this post for seven planning considerations that hold the promise of making your organization’s collateral more effective, more efficient, or both. Consider picking one or more as the basis for making a New Year’s Collateral Resolution.

“In 2012, I resolve to start making our organization’s collateral
more _____________.”

 

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Sgt. Phil Esterhaus

When following up with prospects, let's be careful out there.

Sometimes we marketing and sales folk seem to have a death wish when it comes to new technologies.

Not a death wish for ourselves.

A death wish for the technologies — and the possibilities for audience outreach and value-add, win-win each might enable.

Case in point:

Last week I clicked through to the website of a leading marketing automation company. I’d just read a third party’s blog which quoted one of the company’s execs. A new piece of content, an infographic, was mentioned. Curious, I clicked, poked around a bit, then downloaded said infographic.

Mind you, I’m NOT a qualified prospect for the company’s software as a service. To describe me as a potential influencer might even be stretching it. As a business developer and marketing strategist working for a content marketing firm, at best I might someday be on an account team that might someday be in a position to someday recommend this SaaS to a client. Even then, that solution would likely originate with, and be vetted by, one of my more technology-savvy colleagues.

Thanks for Sharing
Still I was not very surprised, but did find myself a little irked, when my brief web visit triggered an e-mail from a sales rep. I’d visited the company’s site once previously and downloaded an ebook. Clearly that earlier  “engagement” had earned me a cookie, plus status as a “lead” to be tracked and scored within the company’s lead management system.

But this particular example of sales follow-up triggered by a website visit left me wondering: Haven’t we been down this road before?

Haven’t marketing and sales types taken a marvelous new technology (e.g., e-mail, fax) for reaching out and engaging directly with audiences, and done our level best to turn that potential into something often intrusive, ham-handed and annoying?

I’m pretty sure this particular e-mail was Exhibit A for how NOT to do lead nurturing based on web visitor tracking. A few of the do’s and don’ts that jumped out:

DON’T make “Prospect on Website” the subject line of your e-mail. That’s right. This sales rep received an e-mail alert from his company’s marketing automation system, then simply forwarded that e-mail to me, adding a three-sentence message of his own. Although I did open his e-mail, “Prospect on Website” is not exactly an inviting subject line. In fact, it sounded ominously like a security system loudspeaker warning “Intruder on Premises!”

DON’T show the prospect your lead intelligence underwear. Because the web tracking alert e-mail was forwarded, I could see the lead scorecard the company is building on me. How many times I’ve visited their site. Pages viewed. Downloads. Date of last visit. Even a paragraph of directions for sales reps: “Your personal notification of activity on your website. Target prospects, identify visitors, and develop sales relationships with your online visitors.” Felt a bit like reading Big Brother’s dossier on me. Kind of creepy.

DO take a few minutes to customize follow-up. If this company were really interested in developing relationships, they might look to customize this type of e-mail. For example, they could require that reps research web visitors on LinkedIn prior to sending follow-up e-mails. If that were standard operating procedure, the rep would have discovered I work for a marketing firm.

Based on that, the e-mail might have had as its subject line: “How agencies win new business with marketing automation.” And the message might have read: “Would you be interested in talking a bit about how agencies likes yours can be heroes, and be more profitable, by recommending marketing automation to your clients?” Instead, the generic e-mail sent to me read: “I received a notification that you have returned to our website. Is there anything I can help you with? Let me know if you’re free to chat for a few minutes at some point today?

DO offer value beyond the opportunity to talk about your product. To simplify, let’s say there are two primary buyer personas for marketing automation. Corporate marketers who buy. Marketing consultants who recommend. Would it make sense to develop some relevant lead nurturing content for each persona? Based on a solid content strategy, the follow-up e-mail might have offered me a report on how other marketing firms have grown business with Fortune 1000 clients by implementing and managing their clients’ marketing automation systems.

DO try to recognize when it’s best to hold your fire. If this sales rep were really ambitious, he might have clicked from my LinkedIn profile to this blog. He might even have spotted a post in which I express irritation toward over-eager retail clerks who assault shoppers with “what can we help you with today?” before we’ve stepped both feet in the door. Granted, it would have taken some shoe leather to glean that insight. But it would have been a valuable clue to not send a standard follow-up to this particular web visitor.

 

Because We Can Doesn’t Mean We Should
If “do not track” sentiment and regulation gains momentum in this country, and if e-mail spam laws and penalties expand to include this sort of web tracking-prompted e-mail, marketers and sales execs will have only themselves to blame.

The ability to track visitors’ on your website, then respond via e-mail or phone, is now a given. Whether we do it carelessly or thoughtfully will determine whether this particular technological advance proves a relationship builder or an engagement barrier.

If your organization alerts sales reps to contact web visitors while they’re still on site, or shortly after, think through how best to leverage that communication moment. Start by making sure you have a relevant content strategy that extends to this particular touch point.

“People,” as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus used to caution fellow police officers during roll call on TV’s Hill Street Blues: “Let’s be careful out there?”

_____

What do you think? Am I a luddite on this website visitor follow-up issue? Does your organization alert sales to the presence of web visitors? Any thoughts on best practices for effective follow-up? Would welcome your comments and discussion.

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Recent events make me feel as though peace on earth, goodwill toward men (and especially women) hang in the balance — and by a thread — in more than one city and square throughout the Middle East.

Peace, by Simon Howden

Image credit: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From the safe distance of TV news, the recent protests in Egypt appeared remarkably peaceful and hopeful. But listen closely and you learned that more than 360 people died during those weeks as Tahrir Square became Liberation Square.

Inspiring video of men and women celebrating, side by side, their desire for self-determination was later overshadowed by news reports of women being assaulted by male gangs. Civil disobedience. Animalistic mayhem. A shockingly fine line.

If you’re like me, you hope, root, even pray that social and political change in Egypt and Tunisia, as it comes, takes the form of more open governments and societies, plus greater equality and respect among races, religions and genders.

If it goes the other way — as seems to be a real possibility in Libya — one shudders to think what insults to humanity the news reports will bring.


What’s In Our Words

While pondering the fragility of civility halfway around the world, I find myself increasingly puzzled by the bellicose language marketing and sales professionals often use to describe the work we do.

We slice and dice audiences demographically to target them with campaigns. Then we blast them with e-mails in hopes of driving them to squeeze pages. I read a blog post this week in which a marketer, extolling the value of lead nurturing, reminded his readers that the goal of nurturing leads was so they could eventually be attacked by Sales.

Squeeze pages? Nurturing in order to attack? C’mon, marketers. Let’s give peace a chance.

What’s say we take a cue from the Buddhist concept of “right speech” and strive for a more mindful and peaceful lingo for the work we do. Instead of targeting prospective customers like prey, maybe we approach them and strive to attract them by adding value for them. Instead of blasting e-mails, perhaps we just send or distribute those messages. Rather than drive people to squeeze pages (like cattle to slaughter?), we could simply offer registration or landing pages, where they can choose to interact with our content and further engage with our brands.

Small stuff? Absolutely. A trifle in the great scheme. Perhaps on the order of a butterfly beating its wings.

But then again, especially if you consider yourself a content marketer, don’t we pride ourselves on inviting audiences into engagement, not blitzing and bludgeoning them with purely self-serving promotion?

If so, then in a world needing all the harmony it can get, maybe we marketers can do our small part by bringing more peace and civility to our industry’s argot.

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What do you think? Is my head getting softer than my heart here? Or do you have a least-favorite example of how we seem to favor the language of war and violence in marketing and sales? I’d welcome and appreciate your comments and discussion.

Simon Howden’s portfolio:
http://www.freedigitalphoto.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404 

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