Friday, September 15, 2006

Getting Lucky in B2B Marketing

After a long break, I'm back! Getting a new job, new work responsibilities, getting prepared to get married and moving into a new house just took up way more time than I expected :) Ok now that the applause has died down [I wish], lets get down to business...

Has anyone wondered why the people in Online Marketing and SEO working for software services get their kicks on pathetic lead/prospect numbers? You know what I'm talking about - "We got a new lead today!" or "Oh look a whole *8* people clicked on our website today" or "Gee did you see that new trend in our web stats? We seem to have got 80% more visitors this week - that's 20 people more than last week!" or "Whoa! 40 people unsubscribed to our newsletter! That's bad!"

I've actually heard very similar statements in the recent past, and it has never failed to amaze me - I mean the guys who have "normal" consumer websites ranking in the 100,000 visits/subscribers range must be laughing their heads off at those puny figures. But then something happens, and people get luck, and it so happens that one individual of those 5 visitors actually ends up giving us a contract. And this led me to start questioning my belief in 100% rational marketing techniques. If you do everything right and you still don't get what you expect, then obviosly something's wrong with what you consider "right". This led me to a document on Tom Peter's website, called "The Pursuit of Luck" which has a list of 50 strategies to get lucky. It made fascinating reading...

Innovation is a low-odds business and luck sure helps. (Its jolly well helped me!) If you believe that success does owe a lot to luck, and that luck in turn owes a lot to getting in the way of unexpected opportunities, you need not throw up your hands in despair. There are strategies you can pursue to get a little nuttiness into your life, and perhaps, then, egg on good luck. (By contrast, if you believe that orderly plans and getting up an hour earlier are the answer, then by all means arise before the rooster and start planning.)

Want to get lucky? Try following these 50 (!) strategies:

1. At-bats. More times at the plate, more hits.
2. Try it. Cut the baloney and get on with something.
3. Ready. Fire. Aim. (Instead of Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. ...)
4. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.G.K. Chesterton. Youve gotta start somewhere.
5. Read odd stuff. Look anywhere for ideas.
6. Visit odd places. Want to see speed? Visit CNN.
7. Make odd friends.
8. Hire odd people. Boring folks, boring ideas.
9. Cultivate odd hobbies. Raise orchids. Race yaks.
10. Work with odd partners.
11. Ask dumb questions. How come computer commands all come from keyboards? Somebody asked that one first; hence, the mouse.
12. Empower. The more folks feel theyre running their own show, the more at-bats, etc.
13. Train without limits. Pick up the tab for training unrelated to workkeep everyone engaged, period.
14. Dont back away from passion. Dispassionate innovator is an oxymoron.
15. Pursue failure. Failure is successs only launching pad. (The bigger the goof, the better!)
16. Take anti-NIH pills. Dont let not invented here keep you from ripping off nifty ideas.
17. Constantly reorganize. Mix, match, try different combinations to shake things up.
18. Listen to everyone. Ideas come from anywhere.
19. Dont listen to anyone. Trust your inner ear.
20. Get fired. If youre not pushing hard enough to get fired, youre not pushing hard enough. (More than once is okay.)
21. Nurture intuition. If you can find an interesting market idea that came from a rational plan, I'll eat all my hats. (I have quite a collection.)
22. Dont hang out with all the rest. Forget the same tired trade association meetings, talking with the same tired people about the same tired things.
23. Decentralize. At-bats are proportional to the amount of decentralization.
24. Decentralize again.
25. Smash all functional barriers. Unfettered contact among people from different disciplines is magic.
26. Destroy hierarchies.
27. Open the books. Make everyone a businessperson, with access to all the financials.
28. Start an information deluge. The more real-time, unedited information people close to the action have, the more that neat stuff happens.
29. Take sabbaticals.
30. Repot yourself every 10 years. (This was the advice of former Stanford Business School dean Arjay Miller meaning change careers each decade.)
31. Spend 50 percent of your time with outsiders. Distributors and vendors will give you more ideas in five minutes than another five-hour committee meeting.
32. Spend 50 percent of your outsider time with wacko outsiders.
33. Pursue alternative rhythms. Spend a year on a farm, six months working in a factory or burger shop.
34. Spread confusion in your wake. Keep people off balance, dont let the ruts get deeper than they already are.
35. Disorganize. Bureaucracy takes care of itself. The boss should be chief dis-organizer, Quad/Graphics CEO Harry Quadracci told us.
36. Dis-equilibrate ... Create instability, even chaos. Good advice to real leaders from Professor Warren Bennis.
37. Stir curiosity. Igniting youthful, dormant curiosity in followers is the lead dogs top task, according to Sony chairman Akio Morita.
38. Start a Corporate Traitors Hall of Fame. Renegades are not enough. You need people who despise what you stand for.
39. Give out Culture Scud Awards. Your best friend is the person who attacks your corporate culture head-on. Wish her well.
40. Vary your pattern. Eat a different breakfast cereal. Take a different route to work.
41. Take off your coat.
42. Take off your tie.
43. Roll up your sleeves.
44. Take off your shoes.
45. Get out of your office. Tell me, honestly, the last time something inspiring or clever happened at that big table in your office?!
46. Get rid of your office.
47. Spend a workday each week at home.
48. Nurture peripheral vision. The interesting stuff usually is going on beyond the margins of the professionals ever-narrowing line of sight.
49. Dont help. Let the people who work for you slip, trip, falland grow and learn on their own.
50. Avoid moderation in all things. Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, according to Edwin Land, Polaroids founder.

Now write down the opposite of each of the 50. Which set comes closer to your profile?*

In short, loosen up!

Notice that a lot of the points contradict each other? In many ways, this list does reflect things I haven't been doing - so now I'm off to court lady luck :)