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MarCom Matters

March 2013
Issue: #41

Got a Minute?

Are there certain words or phrases that just make your skin crawl?

I’ll bet leading edge, next generation and tax audit are a few that’ll bring on a cold shiver and clench of the jaw when you hear them.

Like you, I learned this reaction early in life starting with those universally icky words, cooties and booger. And when I was older, my mother would sometimes counter my “What’s for supper?” query with a perfect one-two punch: “Calves liver and Brussels sprouts.” Double icky!

And back in the day when I had real jobs, my boss could stop a perfectly pleasurable and productive morning in its tracks by sticking her head inside my office and asking, “Got a minute?”

This of course being the business equivalent of the romance-ending, “We need to talk.” Although in reality there was probably more good news in those minute meetings than I remember, the words still have their spine-tingling effect.

And what sparked this cheery topic you might ask?

It’s this. Lately I’ve come across a number of articles and blog posts in which the writer picks a specific marketing strategy or tactic and rails against it – no holds barred. Among the common targets are…

The rant usually takes one of two tacks: either the old way is dead and ought to be tossed, or the new way is a pretentious poseur and doesn’t deserve a speck of consideration.

Interestingly, the writers mostly seem fixated on the words themselves. It’s as if he or she would love to see you shudder simply at the mention of – hold on to your hat – Outbound Marketing. Eeewwww….

So to make their points, they either set up false confrontations (outbound marketing versus inbound marketing) or oversimplify the concept (lead nurturing is just sending spam email). But that only serves to raise the ickyness level of the words while obscuring the underlying ideas.

The thing is, most of these terms were coined by vendors or analysts to describe new technologies or new ways of thinking about old concepts. Now that doesn’t mean it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

What does matter is taking the time to study and evaluate the concepts these words represent, the problems they’re intended to solve and the many ways they can be implemented.

Then adapt the relevant pieces to your marketing and sales process in a way that achieves the results you want for your company, in your industry, with your unique customer base.

Here’s what I mean…

The bottom line: If you find yourself getting all goose bumpy at the mention of some of these terms, take a step back, look at what they’re really about and consider the business value they offer.

You can do it. After all, I’ve come to love Brussels sprouts.

Just don’t mention the word kale.