November 20, 2020

Marketing Help

I wrote this in response to someone asking a question in a group I belong to. As always with long detailed responses, capturing it here so that I can find it again.


The conventional mindset of “marketing runs events that generate leads which are then converted to sales” is what will destroy the world.

My focus is something I call People First. And as you can see from these graphics …. I disagree with your customers … scroll down to see why.

I Am A Generalist - Not A Specialist. That Is My Superpower.

My Speciality Is GeneralityMy Speciality Is Generality

The Superpower Allows Me To ‘Cloud Hop’.

Cloud Hopping - It’s What I DoCloud Hopping - It’s What I Do

Cloud Hopping Is One Reason I Can Charge For Value.

Charge For ValueCharge For Value

This is important, because if what these people are saying is right - then we are all doomed. In fact there are some very good books out there explaining exactly why the generalist is - and needs to be - very much on the rise.

But, lets; get to the point at hand.


In the late 80s, I was basically my company’s ‘puppeteer’ of marketing across Europe and was doing ‘crazy’ stuff like running theater shows, sponsoring ocean going yachts, building an funding an independent user group that was TRULY independent - not under our control, funding art programs, supporting charities and causes with product and support, delivering a ‘newsletter’ that was actually designed as a coffee table book (ie - so big and gorgeous and expensive that nobody threw it away. Etc etc

Conventional marketing (in the US) said I was wrong - as they ran feature focussed product advertising in all the right magazine with totally the wrong message.

… and then in 1990 - they asked me to move to California.

“First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh at You, Then They Attack You, Then You Win”


My gut is you are dealing with old school people OR new inexperienced people.

Separately - no matter WHAT they say about leads, lead attribution is one of a companies biggest problems. They THINK they have it nailed BUT just because you have data - doesn’t make it right.

”A politician relies on data much as a drunk relies on a lamppost - more for support than illumination.”

Go back ‘100 years’ and consider ‘AIDA’ - and the ever-growing number of alternatives that have appeared since. NEVER has a single piece of marketing taken a customer on the entire journey.

The current Omni channel world provides the illusion of RoI. But the fact is that channel attribution is close to impossible.

How do they know that someone listened to a presentation at one of your events, went home - looked up the company on the web - thought - yes - VERY interesting - filled in the contact form and pressed send.

At their end, they have a ‘web lead’ - and that will be argued over by the social marketing person and the web marketing person - as to which of them the lead should be attributed to. The truth of the attribution doesn’t even enter into their thinking. You aren’t even in their mix!

“Half my advertising budget is wasted - I just don’t know which half”.

John Wanamaker(a long long time ago).

… and sadly even more true today - because uninformed non data savvy people are looking at data and not questioning it. Not validating it. Accepting it

”Computer Say No.”

To do that, you have to know what you are doing! (See the politician/drunk quote above.) Oh wait - its worse, because informed very data savvy people are looking at data and using it to support their argument.


Digital, omnichannel programs supposedly fixed this, it did not - because there still is no way to accurately account for ‘channel attribution’. The optics presented inside corporations will of course say quite the 0pposite - “my channel delivered 53% of all of the leads - imagine what could be done if you increased my budget” kind of arguments.

And to fix that - along came customer journeys - kind of - kind of - because IMHO they often miss the point completely … but that is altogether another story.



“My most important work is hunting down the very best stories of successful technology deployments in the construction sector.”

YES - STORIES … or Case Studies as they used to be called!


Where conventional marketing will say “the focus should be on the company and product features and benefits.”



Where conventional marketing says “we can’t measure the success of sponsoring your events if we don’t have a list of leads”, I say that the people the come to my events don’t want you to know who they are! 36% of my event last week opted out of sharing their details with presenters.

Why on earth would you share YOUR list with a company? THAT is YOURS and VERY VALUABLE.

No idea what you are charging for presentation - or what you want for sponsorship - BUT - the way I would be doing this is building a parallel business that allows those companies to have CTAs in a regular email that YOU send to all. IF that customer clicks on THEIR CTA - it will come through to them - and that is a CLEAR signal that they want to talk - i.e. a warm lead … not a cold one - sorry but listening to a presentation and getting a follow up lead email is at best a cold lead. REAL OLD SCHOOL THINKING.

This way you hold the power - your email list. You hand NOTHING over to ANYBODY.

Mailchimp - and bundles of other alternatives have what you need. Not sure with a 1000 email list there is that much segmentation you can do to have meaning. But the sentiment is right.

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