So you are the social media dude – or dudette – at your company. You were tinkering inside Google+ while the rest of the Web begged for an invitation. Your Klout score hit 70 before the public realized the company’s name began with a “K”. You’ve got a Posterous and a Tumblr blog. You say “epic” a lot. You compared Google’s Buzz to U2′s Zooropa – and your loyal following got the joke (or at least pretended to).
You. Are. Cool. And you have a lot to learn.
Believe me, I know. I run social media for a marketing automation vendor. I stand with one leg in the demand generation world and the other in social marketing. Each side can learn a lot from the other – and I’ve got the bar bills to prove it.
So this post is for my social marketing cronies. It’s a catalog of four lessons we can learn from those serious guys over in DemandGen. Then, in a week or so, I’ll post again, letting them know what they can learn from us. Let’s get started.
1. Social May Be Cool, But Demand Has Guts. They are measured – like, really measured. And you know what else? They want to be measured. We sit here saying social can’t really be measured, or only some aspects of it can be tied to ROI. (Heck, I’ve gone on record as calling ROI fool’s gold!) But these crazy lead generation guys, they are fully willing to promise an exact number of marketing qualified leads, sales accepted opportunities … right down to business closed. Our you-can’t-measure-it-fully-so-let’s-not-measure-it-at-all ship is taking on water. Let’s get some guts and agree to be measured for something more than the size of our followings or fandoms.
2. Planning Doesn’t Kill Inspiration. I know social media and content creation feeds off of in-the-moment inspiration. I also know that, thanks to the pace of change, a year in “social media time” feels disproportionate to a year in any other industry. But we need to get over our aversion to long-term planning.
The demand generation team knows how many new names they need to capture next quarter, the quarter after that, the quarter after that. They know precisely what percentage of leads need to convert if the company is going to make its numbers. They look far, far into the future. Sure “editorial calendars” is a dusty old term harkening back to a dusty old industry. But take a lesson from your forward-looking lead generation friends and plan your content well into the future. Sure, you may need to make some changes along the way, but you should have a very good idea what socially sharable content you are going to produce each quarter for a full year. Having a roadmap is the only way you can be confident you’ll reach a destination.
3. No Customers, No Company. DemandGen’s focus is deliciously simple: They are responsible for turning leads into customers. No customers, no company. The singularity of their focus is refreshing. Start asking yourself, every day, how is this blog, this tweet, this content series, this Facebook campaign helping us land new customers. You might not always have an answer, but if you don’t ask the question, you never will.
4. Don’t Always Be In Such A Rush. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes it’s important to aim before you fire. Sometimes it the “plan, test, execute, measure, refine” model is better is safer and more effective than the social Web’s “ready, fire, aim” mentality. Sometimes. Try it now and then.
I am sure there are more, but these are four lessons I’ve learned from working alongside a superstar DemandGen team in a company that specializes in demand generation. Next up is what, hopefully, they have learned from the social media function. In the meantime, what additional lessons do you think social media pros can learn from DemandGen?