I love metaphors. I think they are a useful approach to explaining new concepts such as those in B2B lead management. One of my favorite metaphors of late is from my friend (and Silverpop CEO) Bill Nussey. He speaks about the changing marketing paradigm from interruptive marketing to true relationship building through customer engagement. He paints the picture by comparing the old-school interruptive marketing approaches to that of an uninvited party guest who shows up with a megaphone and wearing earplugs. The traditional idea was that if you shout loud enough and often enough, then someone will eventually listen to you.
Unfortunately, these types of guests are finding it harder and harder to get invited to the party. Not that mass advertising will go away as it will still remain part of our mix for a long time to come. However, as we all know, TV and radio advertising are being diminished by the likes of Tivo and satellite radio. Newspaper circulations are on the decline, because people are getting more and more of their news via the Internet. And unwanted communications, via telephone, email, and direct mail, are causing more and more of a backlash. The fight for space in a person's inbox is on, as prospects and customers are taking control of what they want to hear and when they want to hear it.
This was clearly the theme at last week's Technology for Marketing's annual event in London (for highlights of the show, read Technology for Marketing 2009 | razorshine). There was still a buzz in the air, even during the tumultuous environment that we are experiencing. But given the shrinking budgets and high scrutiny of marketing spend, the focus has shifted to engagement tactics that listen and respond, build long-term relationships, and ultimately drive higher return on marketing spend.
So I encourage us all to think about what we are trying to do when we launch new campaigns or plan our lead generation programs. Are we just trying to shout the loudest, or are we opening the door for meaningful dialog with our prospects and customers?