This is the second one and I have really been impressed with the different approaches to the questions from the participants so far. I’m also encouraged by many of the answers I’m seeing in the responses on how businesses developing more strategic marketing organizations in many sectors.
Jay Baer was kind enough to participate in the Marketing is in the Middle series. I’m super thankful that since I’ve been reading Jay’s blog for several years now (Convince and Convert). It was one of those random word of mouth things… Dave Daniels tuned me in to Jay who then was in Phoenix and who now is in Indiana doing consulting work all over the place. I think Jay just might live in airports.
If you haven’t read/ran into Jay yet, he is real pragmatic in his approach – actionable strategies, tools and real-world use cases on how you can increase your operational effectiveness with social processes. Jay just co-authored a book which spoke to 7 critical shifts businesses just need to make when thinking socially.
So here’s Jay’s take on the questions:
What marketing roles have you had and in what markets?
I started as a PR intern in Phoenix. I was then a political campaign manager in Arizona for a few years, before moving to the client side as a marketer for Waste Management, Inc. in AZ and Southern California. I then was briefly the spokesman for a state agency before getting involved in online marketing in 1994. I was VP/Marketing at Internet Direct (the world’s first hosting company); co-founder at azfamily.com; Senior Director at visitalk.com; and founder of digital agency Mighty Interactive – all of those in Phoenix. Most recently in 2008 I started my Convince & Convert social strategy consultancy. I now live in Bloomington, Indiana but have clients everywhere.
When you look at your career in marketing, what activities have you found most interesting/challenging?
Adoption curves repeat themselves. The questions we’re asking and answering about social media today are very similar to those we dealt with regarding email a few years ago, and websites a few years before that. We’ve seen this movie before.
Based on your experience what activities do you think get the most return?
Anything that combines direct communication, opt-in, and relevancy. Email and search are the most noteworthy examples, and I hope social will continue to progress so that we can have the same potential successes.
What do you feel is the most important component of a successful marketing gig?
Cultural support for change, and a belief that the customer experience is paramount.
How have you seen organizations change in the last 3-5 years to better support the needs of product marketers, product managers and communications teams?
Much smarter about getting marketing involved earlier in the process, combined with a recognition that marketing is about more than a launch.
If you could design the perfect corporate environment for a marketer to be successful what would that be?
Allowing marketing to be as close as possible to product and customer support makes for the best environment. I also prefer it when companies embrace a spirit of testing and trial. Three years ago, suggesting that social would be a meaningful part of the marketing plan was crazy talk for most companies. And look at it now. Marketing must be fluid, because customer dynamics and expectations are fluid.
How far is this from reality?
Fortunately, it’s reality today in some companies, although they tend to be mid-market. Enough resources to try stuff, but unburdened by corporate process.
So what’s next?
I really, really hope we stop (at least for this year) talking about the hot new thing, and instead turn our attention to doing the current things better. Social media optimization and integration would be a good start. Social is an ingredient, not an entree.
I’ve been using the ingredient quote for a while now. Social media for B2B marketing isn’t a pure play effort for most businesses, it requires an integrated and managed approach across the business – support, marketing, pr… Social processes should make your business more efficient and improve your customer’s experience.
Again, I am most appreciative of Jay taking the time to participate.
Blog: Convince and Convert
Book: The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter & More Social