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2012 in Review: Internet Marketing Has Not Saved Your Business

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 1/2/12 6:00 AM

It's not a typo, it's a prediction. And I am not the only one saying it. In fact, just tonight I received an email with the subject "Secret Shame". The first lines read, "It's the dirty secret. There are more failures in internet marketing than successes." Unfortunately, the sender went on to pitch a 31 day internet marketing makeover, which is pretty much more of the same.

If It Is On Mashable, It Must Be True

In a recent Mashable article, expounded on his "8 Ways Digital Will Improve B2B Sales in 2012." All are valid and good points, but I want to highlight 1,3,4 & 7.

1-Social Selling Will Go Mainstream. Sorry Guy, but this is not news. It's called word of mouth and networking. Just because Facebook and Twitter are some of the tools in the toolbox doesn't make it new.

3-Sales Executives Will Adopt Big Data. True, sales executives will likely use customer data to make decisions about who the best prospects are. But they will also use it to determine who the best salespeople are as well, or how to make salespeople better. At the last HUGMEtoo of 2011, Hubspot VP of Sales Mark Roberge shared with the group some of the data he uses to help salespeople reach their targets. Data is not just to find the easy sale, but also to dig deeper to find out where a sales person might need some coaching. It is not just about the 'what' with big data, it is about finding out the 'why'.

4-Customer Engagement Becomes a Top Priority. Here, Guy is talking about how a user engages, or uses, a software product. The more they use it, the less likely they are to cancel. Just like a magazine subscription. If you read the magazine daily, weekly or monthly, you are likely to want to keep it. It makes sense, given his company, that he would take this angle and it is a valid point. But not every one sells software, some sell services. If we trade 'engagement' for 'experience' then we are closer to the truth.

7-Sales and Marketing Will Converge. Yup. If you are wondering why, see #4.

Why Internet Marketing Alone Will Not Help Grow Your Business in 2012

Internet marketing, or even inbound marketing, is designed to get more (and better) prospects in the top of your sales funnel. Through a process of qualification, or disqualification, you may start with 1000 web visitors and end up with 10 actual customers. The great part about internet marketing versus traditional marketing, you can track and optimize the channels that drive that process. From SEO to email marketing to social media, every tactic has a purpose that is quantifiable.

The problem with our traditional funnel is that it is bigger at the top and smaller at the bottom. Marketing has to continually keep filling the top for sales get something out at the bottom. The more you want to grow, the more effort that is going to be required.

What if the bottom fed the top like our water fountain image? What if the sales and marketing effort was integrated so that your business didn't just get more prospects, but got more customer evangelists?

What are you counting on to save, or grow, your business in 2012? What is on the line? Has internet marketing, or inbound marketing, become yet another marketing tactic like radio, TV or print? Is it time to start changing the way we think about the funnel?

Topics: smarketing, internet marketing, sales and marketing strategy, sales and marketing integration