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In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss the different strategies, tactics, and methods behind lead generation, from advertising to relationship marketing to blind spots in your marketing strategy. Learn strategies for matching lead generation efforts to your digital customer journey.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn
In this week’s In-Ear Insights we’re talking about lead generation. We are heading into the homestretch for many companies from September to December when they are looking at their budgeting their strategy for the coming year. for retail and b2c, this is the holiday season where they’ve got to crank out the as much audience and as much action as possible before the buying season goes, goes way for b2b companies is planning and trying to get anyone to get off their butt to do something. But before Thanksgiving, because there really is about eight weeks total of times when people are excited about doing business trying to get contracts locked in for the next year. And then really, after Thanksgiving, at least in North America, we see the market just take a take a breather until until the new year. So part of that strategy is how can companies lock in and build and grow their audience it says their prospects, they lead generation in the fourth quarter, and in the coming year. And a lot of companies take the easy route, the easy button for them is let’s get a whole bunch of budget and spend it on a whole bunch of ads and hope that we get some some leads out of it. But Katie, we were talking recently, and you were saying this is probably while it’s the easy button. It’s not necessarily the smart. But

Katie Robbert
yeah, it’s you know, you sort of, it’s like playing roulette, like you don’t know, you hope for the best, you hope that you’re going to land on what you want. But you know, when you’re running as a lot of times, what companies will do is to your point, Chris, they’ll spend a lot of money, but they’re targeting is so broad, they’re going to get everybody and you’re not going to know, like, at what phase in the customer journey, are they? Are they a decision maker? Are they somebody who even cares about the thing? Or did they just happen to click on the ad because they were like, what the hell is this. And so after, serve a purpose, and ads need to be at the right stage in your customer journey. If ads in your customer journey are the thing that generate leads, great, keep doing them. But that’s not true for everybody. So that’s sort of the first thing to consider before spending a lot of money on Legion. There’s other ways to generate leads that companies probably might not be taking advantage of or don’t realize, hey, we can do this thing. You know, one of the campaign’s that we recently ran was so Chris, trust insights put out in original research paper, white paper on the social media trends for next year, and what social media platforms, specifically, people should be paying attention to. I won’t give anything away, you need to download the paper to get the answer to that will put a link in the show notes. But so far, I mean, how many prospects Do you think that that paper alone has brought into my database,

Christopher Penn
probably about 500. So far, of which, on first glance, at least going by title and company about 300 art would be what we call highly qualified prospects, possibly marketing, qualified leads. And depending on your business systems and flow and what you consider each a marketing qualified lead for us, as somebody who’s raised the hand said, I’d be interested in doing business with you. That’s why we classify them as prospects, they have engaged, they’ve done something that’s meaningful, but it is it is by no means a presumption that they’re going to want to spend money with us, they’ve, they’ve instead said, I’d like to be educated. I’d like to know what I don’t know. But they’re not saying I’m raising my hand, I like to talk to someone from sales. That’s, that’s not who these folks are. And that’s as a side note, in your own marketing, operations, governance, you should probably define those terms and have sales work with your sales team to also define those terms. So that you’re all speaking the same language. That way, when you do your report, each quarter, you can say, here’s what we actually did, and not and not have a knife fight with sales saying, well, we got no leads or marketing?

Katie Robbert
Well, you know, in this case, we would say, well, we just brought you 500. What can you do with that? Now, Chris, to your point, these people have not raised their hand and say, I want to buy something. And so I think that that’s probably you know, one of the ways in which a company could miss handle this information. So we ran this campaign, we got 500 prospects into our database, they are not leads yet they are not people who have raised their hand, so we still need to vet them, we still need to nurture them and sort of that whether or not they’re truly interested. So this is where we would start sending additional material. Have you seen this? Do you want to engage with this thing? You know, one of the things that we do on all of our forums is we ask people, what challenges are you facing right now. And it comes out to about five or six different buckets that our services fall into. And it just gives us some sort of an indication of, Okay, these are the things that are top of mind. So let me start, you know, filtering out all of these different prospects that we’ve received into our database, into the segments to say, these are the people who want more actionable analysis. These are the people who are struggling with ROI. These are the people who want, you know, to build a dashboard. And we can start to send them those resources, and continue to keep them engaged and move them farther along down the funnel.

Christopher Penn
So let’s say you’re the CMO, and you say, hey, I need more audience by the end of fourth quarter. What are the blind spots? Obviously, you’ve already talked about how ads are certainly one of those things. It’s not a blind spot. It’s is the the knee jerk reflex that a lot of people go to one of the things people are overlooking that like, Hey, have you tried?

Katie Robbert
I think Have you tried building a community like a slack community, a private community, a discord community? You know, before I can really answer that question at Let me take a step back. My first question to the CMO of the CMO came to me and said, Get me more audience, I would say, what’s the goal? What do you want this audience to be doing? Do you want this audience for awareness? Do you want this audience to buy things? I’m assuming to buy things, but you have to start with awareness? I mean, it’s really hard to jump from zero to 100.

Christopher Penn
You know, don’t get married on the first date.

Katie Robbert
I mean, you know, what some people do and good for them. You know, the odds of it working out, are not in their favor. So if it does work out great. But yeah, it’s, it’s not something that you can just sort of snap your fingers out, and it instantly happens. So you know, you can find your audience in a variety of different places, people, I think, the knee jerk to your point, Chris is there to look on social media, they’re going to try to build, you know, the number of fans, the number of followers, they’re going to try to run ads, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right people. We’ve actually run into this with quite a few clients where, yeah, they have, you know, 100,000 followers on Twitter, but nobody buys anything. Well, yeah. Because that doesn’t mean that that’s the right audience for you. Have you done your audience analysis? Do you know, the profile of the type of customer you’re after? So there’s a lot of actual research that you need to do before saying, Get me more audience?

Christopher Penn
Yep. And then, one of the things I think people forget to do when it comes to lead generation is, look in their own, you didn’t even need machine learning and data science for this. Just open up Google Analytics and look at all the different sources and mediums that are already sending you traffic and goal completions. And ask yourself, are we doing anything with this? So if either in our in our Google Analytics email is one of the best channels for for prospect generation for us? Now, thankfully, we are doing a lot with email. But if you were the CMO, it would that would be one of the first things you would want to audit is look at it and say, Hmm, what is this Pinterest thing? Should I be doing more that? Should my team be doing more with it? You know, besides you know, the random people sharing like Flat Earth conspiracy theories, there are there is a for a certain type of product or buying community on Pinterest, that would be excited share that stuff. You look in there, and you see things like organic search for a lot of companies, that’s going to be 50% of more your prospect generation. Yeah, I’m amazed at the number of marketers who will say we got to go all in on social media. But yeah, but but but but but your soul, your social is 2% of your conversions, or searches. 50% Why are you not going all in on the thing that generates 50% of your results?

Katie Robbert
Well, and I think that it goes back to sort of where we started with this conversation was what is your customers journey look like? And, you know, I think that having that information, doing that analysis, is first and foremost, before you can really do a deep dive into spending money on lead gen campaigns, because you need to know which channels fall at which phase of the customer journey. So, you know, email I do think is one of the unsung heroes of digital marketing. I think it’s used incorrectly. I think it’s underutilized. I think it’s overlooked. And, you know, one of the things we so we use email a couple of different ways. So Chris, you still have your personal newsletter, the almost timely newsletter if people want to sign up for that, that goes out every Sunday night. And we double down on what we put in the content for those newsletters. So this paper that we’re talking about this social networks, 2020 paper, you put in your newsletter, and then we put in our company newsletter on a Wednesday. So there’s a gap in between, we’re capturing different audiences, obviously, there’s going to be some overlap. And then we’ve had other partners put the same information into their newsletters to their audiences. And we’ve captured a whole new set of prospects that we didn’t, you know, have access to the first time around. So I think that email is a very strong channel that’s overlooked. I mean, it’s not difficult to set up a quick sign up for our newsletter widget on your website, that’s probably the easiest, lowest cost thing that you could do to capture prospects. Now, you have to have a decent newsletter that people are going to care about. That’s a whole other episode.

Christopher Penn
It really is. But to your point, one of the other things that I think people overlook, and I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent and a rant here, but there is a tremendous amount of ages, ageism, within marketing. And this is largely fueled, in some ways by the agency model, which is like find the cheapest talent you can possibly get and, and and turn through it burn through it as quickly as possible. One of the keys to the success of this campaign, as you mentioned, is the relationships that we have with highly influential people, people like Jay Baer, Scott, Monte, and handling. These folks have their own networks, their own newsletters, their own platforms. And if you don’t invest the time, and the effort to build those relationships over the period of decades, not weeks, not you know, q4, but decades, you will not be able to activate your network when your network is needs you when you need your network, and you also have to pay it back and pay it forward. I got an email inquiry from one of our colleagues saying, Hey, can you help promote this thing? And my answer is going to be yes. Not even gonna think about it like, yep, I’ll gladly share that, to pay it forward. So that when I do have an escalator on, they can help out with that. But that comes from relationships. And this sounds so trite and so beaten to death in marketing. But there is importance in human relationship, building human to human relationship, building, those real friendships and things that allow you to live leverage is the wrong word, but, but to work together to collaborate on each other’s projects, and vastly amplify the results you get, as the CMO, or as the marketing director, or whatever. One of the key questions that you should be asking is, what relationships do I have that I can bring to bear when it’s important? And what am I doing to invest in those relationships? Myself, and especially for your team? I going back to when we had a larger team, one of the things we’re always telling people was invest time in yourself and in your network invest time and helping other people’s so that you build up social currency.

Katie Robbert
I completely agree it is, you know, it’s one of those things, you can’t just, you know, reach out to a company and say, Hey, I saw you posted this thing. Do you want a backlink to my article, which happens all the time, I mean, that spam, I ignore all of it, I don’t know who these people are. But you know, when you do foster those relationships, really, it’s it’s not leveraging, it’s not taking advantage of it’s building a community that’s lifting everybody else up, and helping each other succeed. And I think that that’s one of the things that, you know, marketers and communicators, like, it’s what we do, we connect. And if you’re focusing purely on the digital, and you’re forgetting about, you know, the actual people behind the computers, you’re doing it wrong, you know, you know, don’t create false relationships just for your own benefit. But you know, just normally, you know, build your own tribe of people. And that sort of goes back to that whole notion of private communities, these private communities, the slack groups, these discord groups, you know, Facebook groups, if you still want to use that should be like minded individuals that share goals and interests with you. And that’s why you’re building those. And those are the communities that are really going to help you with Legion because you can lean on each other. You know, Chris, to your point, it’s that back and forth of all promote your thing, you promote my thing. It’s not a, what’s the old phrase, the tit for tat, sort of the one for one, but broke, we’re doing quick, exactly, you’re doing it because you are generally invested in these individuals, like, I might promote five of your things before I asked you to promote one of mine, because I genuinely want you to succeed.

Christopher Penn
Exactly. And the easiest way to tell whether you’re doing it right or wrong, this is something I learned of cash, cinema who taught me this, because it was like five different people said it all at the same time. If you are keeping score, you’re doing it wrong. That’s the easiest way to tell like every single I did this for you. So used to this. That’s not how that works. Like, if you did that with your friends is in like high school, you probably had no friends. The same is true for this stuff. If you give a business networking, big says it’s called givers gain you give in order to earn the right to ask. But you absolutely cannot ask first. And you can’t keep score, you just have to create the relationships invest in the relationships first, so that later on, maybe you can ask in that, that also, by the way, it goes into all choose your battles wisely. There are some things that are worth promoting, and some things that are not worth promoting. So when you go to ask your network, make sure you’ve got the social currency, like a bank, right? You can’t pay yet write checks with money you don’t have and be be very judicious with it just like real currency, right? Don’t spend money on everything, spend money on the things that are the priorities for you. So to those folks who are running marketing, you got all these other channels that you may or may not have audited, which you probably should do sooner rather than later to ask, have we have we done more with that that seems to be already working? And what are you doing to invest in your people and your end? Both on your team and external of your company? What are some of the things if you if you’re if you’re managing that team of people? How do you encourage them to do this stuff, if it doesn’t come naturally? Or if they’re, they’re so Junior in their careers that they haven’t been taught how to do this? How do you teach that,

Katie Robbert
um, you know, I can absolutely speak to this, because it doesn’t come naturally. To me, I am very much an introvert. And really the best way if you are if you’re a manager, or if you’re the person who’s looking, you know, to sort of do that relationship building is ask somebody who is really good at it. So one of the things that, you know, you Chris have helped me do is because you are really good at that networking, within our space is, who can you introduce me to? Or can I go with you? Can I shadow? Can I see? Can I meet this person with you? Oh, you’re going to lunch with him? Do you mind if I tag along and also meet her sort of a thing? You know, not in a, I’m going to insert myself into all of your, you know, different relationships. But is there an opportunity for me to get to know these folks as well and develop my own relationships outside of the ones that you have. But you know, having that person who’s that connector, that bridge, who can make those initial introduction, so you’re not just going at it cold is very helpful, especially for someone like me, who’s it doesn’t come naturally, to sort of walk up to somebody say hi, and start with building that relationship. You know, it’s almost like having that hype man, like, because you have that relationship with the person already. If you are taking the time to introduce somebody new to them, they value and trust your opinion, so they know that it’s somebody that they can then spend time to get to know as well. But again, it’s the long game that first comes from you establishing those friendships and relationships, it doesn’t happen overnight. You know, so when we’re talking about lead gen, you know, there’s a couple of different ways to approach it, you have your short game, you have your immediate results. And then you have your long game, your immediate results first come from understanding your digital customer journey, and where your audience is, in terms of the channels and are the channels that you’re going after are your ads for awareness, or your ads for conversion. So you need to understand those things. First, don’t overlook email is a really powerful tool. If you have good content to put out there. Make sure you’re not spamming people with, you know, buy this thing, buy this thing, but give them something of value, build a private community. So you start to develop those relationships. And then Chris, most importantly, to your point, the long game of lead gen is establishing those actual human one on one relationships where you can support each other by promoting each other’s you know, content and really, you know, broadening your audiences that way.

Christopher Penn
Yep. And from the mailbag. Michelle asked, what are some ideas from when your client has no news to announce? What kinds of stories do you pitches from the PR side of the house? I initially said, well, you can make damn near anything if you have enough data. And this is something that I think we should maybe do either a separate episode on or maybe even like a live demo. But if you have a company and you need to make news, and you don’t have anything to announce a that’s probably a good thing, because no one wants to hear your your self interested self promotional announcement anyway. But more importantly, you can create something that is of legitimate value to the world. Today. We are social networks. 2020. paper was news we created out of data, looking for what would be a benefit to our customers. So Katie, any suggestions on that for you know, give putting on our dusty, dusty old PR hat for a moment?

Katie Robbert
I do think it’s a separate episode, because we can certainly dive in. But off the top of my head. You’re absolutely right, Chris, take a look at you know what snippets of data Google has available. Google has a really great rich library of, you know, little micro bite size data analysis, if you don’t have the ability to do the analysis yourself. Take a look at what other companies are putting out there and maybe have a response piece to some of your competitors, or you know, run a customer survey, run a survey within your private community, run a Google consumer survey and just ask people their opinions and respond to that information. It’s better than making up news out of thin air because that’s always a terrible idea

Christopher Penn
is that we have to do it yet another separate episode go down the rabbit hole of how not to do surveys because boy do we have a long list of ways that you just shouldn’t do it. So but again, all these things for upcoming episodes. Thank you for listening. If you haven’t subscribed to the trust insights newsletter, go to trust insights.ai and sign up for the newsletter there and then stop on by while you’re there. Go to trust insights.ai slash analytics for marketers to join our slack community where we can have these conversations in almost real time. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon


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