Eric Gannon’s recap of the B2B University event in Washington DC was posted recently on the Business Marketing Institutes Tuesday Marketing Notes. It’s a great post. Without the cost of travel or attendance fees, BMI readers can partake of “Six Lessons from B2B University“ that are detailed enough to provide real take-aways.
Here are the six points in his recap:
- Your Prospects Are In Charge Now
- Marcom 2.0: It’s All About the Content
- Marketing Automation is Smart. It’s the People Who Do Dumb Things With It
- In B2B, Social Marketing is Much More than Twitter or Facebook
- If You’ve Wondered How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation, Here’s How…
- To Make Your Marketing Program Indispensable, Link Your Marketing Results to Sales and New Business Generation
You’ll want to read his entire post for all the details he shares on each of these points. But it’s the first point that I take one small issue with. It’s not that the explanation is wrong. He notes that prospects can now “use Google, news and vendor Web sites, and social media to freely search and gather all of the information required for making their initial product and vendor selections, largely bypassing your company’s typical marketing program and ‘story’ as their sole source of their information about your product.”
My issue is the dramatic title of Point #1 that “Prospects are in Charge Now.” From my direct marketing point of view, prospects have always been in charge. Whether marketing is inbound or outbound, it’s the prospect who can take action to conduct product research on their own or respond to the outbound content offers sent out by the company.
Offering free informational content has always been the key to effective B2B outbound lead generation. The approach just gets more blog time now. My objection to the language is that marketers should NEVER think that their prospects are not in charge. With that attitude, marketers might give up actively generating leads and only nurture the leads that come their way through SEO, social media outreach and other inbound channels.
When done correctly, generating leads through email, direct mail, SEM, outbound telemarketing and trade shows still works. So marketers should not think that saying “Your Prospects are in Charge Now” is an excuse to give up proven, profitable marketing channels.