Hey, Dan Lyons, you don't know what you are talking about. I'm talking about marketing, but he's talking about tech start-ups and mid-life displacement. His book "Disrupted -- My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble," was released in April. Lyons' memoir traces his career -- he's a journalist with deep roots in the tech industry-- through being hired by a Boston area-based marketing software company start-up. But don't read Disrupted if you want to learn about Internet marketing.
Three years ago a prospect asked me to find a web site program that integrated a customer relationship management program with an easy-to-use content management system. After some research into WordPress, Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot; I pitched HubSpot (the company Lyons joined as a Marketing Fellow). I found the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing screens were easy and the price was right for what the prospect wanted. Never got the job with the pharmaceutical machinery company but signed the agency up for Hubspot and became a Partner.
From reading his book, Lyons hasn't described the basics of marketing. Know you audience, get to know their pain and offer solutions that move them to your solution. After nearly 40 years in the industrial marketing world, that method is similar to Dale Carnegie, Sandler Sales System and what I learned of P&G's marketing methods from coming across their educational tools to marketers. "Know your audience, where they are in their purchasing process" and create marketing materials that move them toward your solution. Sure Hubspot Culture (which we adopted with a grain of orange salt) fits the start-up culture Lyons describes but I always looked at them as offering good tools to measure and accomplish marketing goals.
Probably the most eye-opening thing I learned was HubSpot's call center. The whole idea of Inbound Marketing is to get away from call centers, but at least it's a warm call center and HubSpot is designed to create a pool of candidates that will finally need a call to move the needle.
But then his book returns to employee hijinks. Halloween Parties? Dan, everyone has dressed up for Halloween at their companies to one extent or another. I think you would be better off writing about accounting procedures rather than marketing. Marketing isn't a science. It's a bit of personality, a bit of application knowledge and a ton of perseverance. You have to contact prospects almost ten times to get the opportunity to make a sale. In the industrial world, you make friends for life because just like pollution, "Nothing Goes Away." The industrial marketing world is made up of hard working engineers that care about their customers and stick around. So my company isn't like Hubspot, but their software will teach you how to leverage the internet to market an industrial product.
The really great thing about HubSpot is its educational track. They provide very detailed and expertly written videos to learn and a good test to take. I've gone through to "Partner" status and our programmer has accomplished the "Design" level. It's been hard to get our interns and even others on staff and associates to take the "Inbound" test so we all get-together and take their test together. It's fun; we re-enforce the methodology and the candidate get their badge. I wish you would have reported just a little bit about the history of industrial marketing, the perfect match for HubSpot, it started with the industrial revolution patent models and now has morphed into YouTube videos and webinars.
Back in 2013, internet marketing was starting to overwhelm me and I was lost as to how to advise my clients. When I learned about HubSpot and how to break down the sales education process into specific steps I could understand and had the software tools to implement; I was relieved. Now there is no internet marketing problem that I can't diagnose and solve. Hubspot gives you all the tools, white papers, spread sheets and calculators to take any good product from zero to 60 overnight. And to upgrade your website. Don't reinvent your website, fix the problems and measure results. Are committee meetings and irrelevant parties in your company throwing wrenches into you site redesign process? Try HubSpot's' "Growth Driven" site re-creation template. But be prepared to lock upper management, sales, marketing, and manufacturing in a room for a few days. Hubspot has the finest marketing education materials I have ever seen. The problem they face now is how to make it fun. Real learning, means turning the tv off, unplugging the phone and studying. "Inbound," HubSpot's annual conference puts a fun spin on the hard work of marketing. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm looking forward to seeing in person my teachers and counselors. They are my "Peeps." And I'm a 60 something, enjoying learning from kids that could be my children.
"Disrupted" is a good read and history of tech start-ups and the new business of selling a mysterious "Secret Sauce" from a company that loses money. To me, Google is the only one pulling it off. Its model is to create a search engine, sell ads on it, and give advertisers the tools to measure it. It's the fox guarding the hen house. We spend thousands of dollars per month on internet advertising. Very hard to measure success and very easy to lose thousands, instantly. Google sells me ads for chemical processing equipment and their measurement tools tell me that girls 18-24 in southern California are the majority of the folks that click on a machine that, "processes three cubic meters of material in an hour." That's the text of the ad! LinkedIn at least allows me only to advertise to specific companies or job titles. For that chemical processing equipment, they are only 13,000 appropriate titles worldwide. I only get chemical and mechanical engineers to join my LinkedIn Group from our advertising. I hope LinkedIn does make some money for their investors soon, but it doesn't matter to me. The "Emperor's New Clothes" have been the latest fashion for as long as an invisible thread has been sold.
I enjoyed the chapter on Salesforce, everything about the excess and nothing about the reason the software has such possibilities. Next week I'll be looking over a demo of LEADForensics. A program that mashes up your visitors Internet Provider (IP) address and the people that work at the company. Like Salesforce, this only works well if the company you are trying to sell to has their own IP address. The people that work there come from an open source, voluntary database that is maintained by users. I've used it since it was Jigsaw and is now owned by SalesForce. The possible power of all this is that you will be able to see who is visiting your site and what they are looking at. Normally you can only do this with HubSpot, and the other providers, because the visitor has given you their email address. But the time is coming, because of increased computing power and the cloud, that you will be able to know who is looking at your website without their giving you that information. Call it artificial intelligence or just guessing; it's coming. But I'm not convinced that I'll be persuaded next week because the engineers that are the salespersons for the companies I work for don't have time to chase luke warm artificial intelligence leads. Which brings up another problem inbound marketing has to solve, the buyer persona of one. When you are selling a quarter of a million dollar piece of equipment which includes a lifetime of service and maintenance, AI's not up to it yet. But it's coming!
Oh, and spending way too much on trade shows and conferences is no stranger to industrial sales, just worse! One of our clients told me once, "If the customer wants to go to a whore house, you go to a whore house, if he wants to go to church, you go to church!" But those "Mad Men martini lunch" days are long gone, today industrial equipment firms are very well run and good places to work. They are that way because many times 60 percent of their sales are from parts. You don't fire experience when you need it to stay in business. One firm I've worked for offers parts on machines made in 1946!. There are still very few women in manufacturing, mining and engineering and the trade shows are 95 percent men. The only real benefit in the young is smarts. If you can get along with others, have a high IQ (or just work harder) and are goal oriented, you will easily get a high paying job for life.
The apology that Lyons gives to Spinner, the person that nabbed the Times article (that Dan pissed all over) points out what's wrong with his disrespect for marketing. I'm the one that gets my clients published in the trade journals and my clients appreciate it. They would have gotten coached and would have been demoted if they pulled the stunt Halligan did. I'm past the midpoint of the book and Dan still hasn't explained what it is that makes Hubspot great software. Why I enjoy their educators, my small group coach and my account manager. We're focusing on basic marketing principals and developing content that gets the phone to ring. Instead of making fun of Marketing Mary I wish Lyons would have described her typical day and the understanding her boss has about internet marketing and the realistic goals they work together to accomplish. That's what makes Hubspot great, nowhere to be found in Disrupted.
In the end, Disrupted is about awful office politics and the journey of a 50-something displaced journalist. (I get that because I'm married to someone who has been through a similar career disruption). That happens when a company doesn't have employees that just do the right thing. I've found that if I have to micro-manage anyone, I made the wrong decision to hire them. It's my fault and I have to deal with it. I've struggled since 9/11 with trying to get the rudder back on the ship, but it's the economy that rises all boats. We work on the principal that we will always deliver the best job possible for our clients even if we lose money on the job. At least we'll know how to quote a similar job the next time. That's the base of our marketing pyramid, next is the referrals of the clients we have. The next level is the companies we meet at the major machine tool, chemical and mining conferences. Companies that are in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. At the top of the marketing pyramid is our web site. It's always been an educational site that gleams from nearly 40 years of learning best practices from creating attention-getting advertising to working with the technical journal editors and designing literature. We have the number one page on "Literature Design" on Google and Bing. HubSpot helps us focus these resources, add to them and properly promote them. That's what every good company should be doing and HubSpot can help you and your company do it. I'm all in.