Saturday, August 06, 2011

Don’t Sweat the Stock Market, Sovereign Debt crisis or Jobs Report

There’s lots of work to be done and companies are spending money. They’re just not hiring full-timers to do it. Be wary of over-weighting your marketing portfolio on Facebook.

It’s a lazy, muggy Saturday in August. Like millions of American’s we’re headed to the airport, but not for vacation. We’re on our way to a hot, landlocked Midwestern city for the start of a client’s biggest annual convention. That’s right. It kicks off on the first Saturday in August, goes full tilt first thing Sunday morning and extends only into Monday for most attendees. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but more and more B2B event organizers have realized that to attract a crowd in this zero-job-security economy, they’ve got to minimize the amount of time attendees spend out of the office. And they better stress the educational and business development parts of the conference, and de-emphasize the aura of a drunken social junket.

We’re not going to spend much time here re-hashing yesterday’s jobs report and the roller coaster week on Wall Street. From a glass half full perspective, it wasn’t so much the 120,000 new people added to American payrolls last month, it was the breadth of the new jobs, as many sectors—not just one or two-- showed some initial signs of hiring activity. Are we worried about the bloodbath on Wall Street which essentially wiped out the entire year’s worth of gains in 2011? Not so much. The market has long been decoupled from the overall economy as corporate earnings are more a factor of (a) low interest rates; (b) relatively easy access to credit and (c) the ability to sustain operations with fewer employees which improves the bottom line.

NOTE: None of the aforementioned factors are sustainable in the long term—especially doing more with less, as frustrated underappreciated workers will bolt for the doors when the job market eventually improves. While many are concerned about the debt ceiling right now, we’re more concerned about the “Great Brain Drain” that will eventually devastate companies who don’t start taking better care of their burned out talent.

OUR TAKE: If you’re a savvy B2B marketer, business are being very selective about how they spend their dollars for advertising, capital improvements, technology and raw materials, but they ARE spending—and they’re doing so at a healthier clip than individual American consumers. Our advice, be just as selective about who you target and fortunately there are a great many tools out there to help you stay hyper focused on the best prospects for new business.

If you’re waiting for us to start trumpeting the merits of mobile and social media, you’ll be disappointed. There are hundreds of thousands of other blogs you can spend time with. We just want you to be smart about how you use these widely publicized, albeit hard to measure tools. And just like the financial advisors whose balanced portfolio approach will successfully guide their clients through the latest financial crisis, you don’t want your marketing portfolio too heavily invested in any single channel.

Face the facts about Facebook

New research indicates that Facebook shouldn’t automatically be the linchpin of your social media strategy. Data from ROI Research, Inc. found that companies who actively use social media found Twitter more effective than Facebook for getting your customers/followers to talk about your product or service, recommend it to friends and buy it. ROI researchers found Twitter to be 13 percent more likely than Facebook to induce followers to attend your promotional or sponsored event; 12 percent more likely to talk about your company or product; 6 percent more likely to recommend your company or product and 12 percent more likely to link to an ad for your company or product.

And that’s not all. Upstart recently unseated Facebook as the No.1 social media site for referring traffic to other website, according to the web analytics firm, StatCounter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, is a search engine that finds and recommends videos, articles and other web-based content to you based upon your tastes and the interests of your peers.

Finally, a Smartbrief poll on Social Media found that marketers and others interested in social media in business say their companies have not lost money because of social media, but more than 25 percent said they “spent too much on maintaining a social presence for the level of return we’re seeing.” Another 3 percent said they lost money because of legal issues, leakage of sensitive information, or brand damage.

Bottom line. You need to use the tools that most effectively connect you to your clients, customers and prospects for the long-term. You don’t need to be cool for the sake of being cool. Don’t be afraid to experiment. But just like investors who chase the latest fad, marketers who chase the latest cool communication tools without carefully weighing its merits and pitfalls will get burned in the long run.


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