This presentation – like no other – starts with a heartfelt thank you. Thank-you for the award of Search Personality of the Year. I had no idea I was even nominated and winning that evening was perhaps my proudest moment so far in Search Marketing. Thank you also for the opportunity to speak today about Marketing to Marketers.
The is a scary topic because: I am talking to marketers but I only won a plaque – not a Nobel prize. I worry as to whether I have anything of value to say here Then again, I have been a director of 6 limited companies over nearly 30 years The majority have been marketing to marketers And anyway – who is to say who is the more successful? Success is a state of mind But I do not want to be seen to teach my grandmother to suck eggs So I will work hard today to make sure that this presentation gives you something new to takeaway I think this is a very interesting topic if I can get it right.
Because there ARE a number of real challenges in building B2B businesses in general – and challenges in selling technology, services or information THROUGH marketing companies in particular – and there is very little clarity or vision in developing a strategy to tackle these challenges. The root of the challenge is that the person you are selling to is NOT the person that will ultimately benefit from your product, technology or service. If you sell a Murder Mystery Game to an amateur dramatics group, they will directly enjoy playing the game. If you sell a Murder Mystery Game to a Corporate Events company – all of a sudden you are selling uncertainty and risk, not fun. I only realized this many years after I had sold my first business – a corporate hospitality company specializing in Murder Mystery games. When selling through marketers, you cannot sell the product or service itself. Or even your own dream. You need to instead understand that you are helping the marketer to create THEIR OWN dream
Every business needs a USP. If you have a relatively unique technology – like Majestic SEO does – then that’s very easy. But Marketing companies need their own USPs too. What’s harder for them is convincing their customers of their USP if you try to sell the marketer the finished product. Marketers are all about having and owning “the big idea”. As a marketer I could not think of anything worse than trading on someone else’s dream. It leaves me feeling soulless and soulless people end up in MLM I also do not react well to to people telling me who my customers are and why I should do something different. I know that many times I SHOULD listen to those voices – but when those voices come from salesmen trying to sell me the very snake oil they you peddling…. Well I am sure that any marketer would be cynical. As marketers we know the power of advertorials and positive publicity… but we also wish to believe that we – ourselves – will not be fooled by our own techniques.
So much of the techniques in the text books leave B2B marketing high and dry. We need a different approach to build a brand that Marketers respect enough to buy to sell.
So I want to look at a different way to build a B2B empire. I want to take a different analogy towards marketing. We are in the Commonwealth Club today. So it seems fitting to take a look at some of the mechanics that builds empires. An empire comes in many forms. It can be financial – as with a business controlled from a head office, or based on land and trade, like the British Empire controlled from London, The Roman Empire or the, Ottoman Empire… Or perhaps an Empire is based on spirituality – like Christianity controlled from Rome, Islam from Mecca or Buddhism from Bhutan. However you picture an empire… empires are vast. What are the common factors in their growth, and their stability? Clearly the Catholic Church has power – as did the Roman Empire and the British Empire. AND THESE EMPIRES HAVE THE SAME ROOT ISSUE AS I HAVE MARKETING THROUGH MARKETERS… WHY DID PEOPLE IN INDIA ACCEPT BRITISH LAW? OR WHAT TURNED DRUIDS INTO CHRISTIANS? WHY DID ISRAEL GET ANNEXED BY ROME WITHOUT A FIGHT? I feel that if we are able to pinpoint the common strategy that was used to build these different types of empires, then maybe… just Maybe… we will have the germ of a strategy that can be used in marketing to transcend the intermediatory marketing company.
What do you see here? A Church? I see a tower. I see – in this picture – something that ties together empires. This tower is a symbol of power. Until the reformation – this was a little bit of the Vatican city, wielding its power in my village. Across our land, we see a very similar symbol of power in the castles built from the Normans right through until the Tudors. Different types of tower manipulate different parts of the power. From the Coliseums of the Roman Empire, to the Hospitals of the NHS, from the oil platforms of the North Sea to the communications towers that power our mobile phones… empires are built on towers. But here’s the difference between an empire and a tyranny. Empires exist with the will of the people. It’s the difference between a hard nosed sales pitch and a balanced marketing plan. * A Tower is there when you need it, yet unfalteringly static in nature. Until it is engaged, it is entirely passive – and it is the user or citizen that chooses to engage * An empire’s towers have power because they are two-way. They are places of TRADE. They are places that aim to give, more than they receive. A church receives donations – but gives hope and solace. A courtroom gives punishment – but also justice. A castle defends an army, but also gives citizens a safe place do have a market. The library of Alexandria gave knowledge to its citizens – but accumulated and centralized the knowledge giving the Moslem world technology advantages that lasted for hundreds of years. Because…
… Empires are built on towers… So is my approach to marketing. Here are my towers. The Palace: The website is the heart of Majestic SEO’s power – and the heart of my search agency, Receptional – and even of my Murder Mystery company now selling games by PDF download. Communications towers: Most marketing plans have these – mine are the blog, the newsletter, conferences and public speaking. Annexed Properties: Like Wales and the colonies, our business uses annexed ground. Facebook, Google+ and Twitter profiles are great marketing towers, as are guest blog posts. Purchased Towers: America bought Alaska off the Russians. PPC, traditional advertising and event sponsorship are forms of purchased marketing towers. Then less businesses make use of Training towers. Our training comes in the form of Webinars, videos and third party training. The videos are on Youtube – which in itself is an annexed tower and we give vouchers out to add value to training companies, helping to turn training into a marketing function. Then rarest of all is the use of technology towers: Through our API, Chrome Extension, Excel Plugins, Google Docs integration and other interfaces help us to expand our marketing reach through technology towers. This is all glued together with the troops. Of course we have employees at Majestic and at Receptional – but Majestic uses other types of troops – a special type of marketing tower . Through our Ambassador program, we use our own selected customers around the world to man our stand at conferences and to spread our message in other languages and other cultures. With just a few people – we are able to mobilize all these marketing towers – sequentially or in unison – often to great effect.
So now we have the tools – but we still have the problem that Marketers don’t want to be ruled… or sold to. You cannot throw your towers at marketers and beat them into submission. So instead, I use these towers not to sell direct to the marketer, but to try to change the marketing terrain to favour my business. Then - when the marketer thinks for themselves – wherever they look for independent thought, my honest belief is that they will find my business. An example is this guest blog post on SEOMoz – which helped to define the market.
So whilst a marketing campaign plan for a utilities company might be to knock on every door or raid every front door or email inbox with a USP as to why you should switch, or whilst a Supermarket’s campaign plan might be to know their customer so well that they get a 2p off voucher for tampons they day before their period… our campaigns do not anticipate the end message. We manage the terrain – but we expect the message … and even the product… to get changed. We aim to build a business which is used for good… but then so did the guys who build planes… before planes were used for bombs. Our campaigns spread new technology enhancements – with ideas as to how people might take some intellectually equitable trade. We leave things unfinished. Ideas in the ether. Because the marketer or the technology partner or the SEO Consultant needs their own USP. They need their own Raison D’etre. I know when I say “they” I am talking to you. You need to feed your own egos and build your own empires. We give you tools. YOU build the dreams. The church lives side by side with the state. Nation trades side by side with nation.
All I do in my campaigns is arrange my towers in the best way I know how to influence the terrain… Then I let rip the arrows. I commend Tower Theory to the house.
Marketing through Marketers
Marketing through Marketers Forging LastingRelationships andBuilding a Digital Business
This is scaryCorporate Bankruptcy Count: Zero Four
Aide-Memoires to Marketing THROUGH Marketers• Turn up. Be there when they want you.• You cannot sell the technology, product or service itself. Or even your own dream.• Don’t sell the finished article. Marketers need a USP too.• Make the market itself.• For your marketer to be fulfilled – they will change your message or product. Embrace and accept.• Strategy: Build marketing towers. Control the way that you use them.
Thank you @Dixon_Jones www.dixonjones.com @Receptional www.receptional.com @MajesticSEO www.majesticseo.com