A new romance?

Silver Age romance comic coverI have just discovered Google Analytics. I don’t want to jinx this early relationship or anything, but I think I could fall in love with this guy — *ahem* I mean, “service.”

Sure, I’ve heard about Google Analytics for ages, but I’ve never had to use it. But now that I’m in more of a marketing role, I need to be concerned with metrics and KPIs and ROI and lot of other acronyms that management cares about. But really, I wish I could have used this ages ago, when I was in my more “corporate” communications role.

See, I love data. Not numbers per se, but I do love making the connections between the numbers and how they can be used to measure people’s interest. I think maybe I get some of that from my father (rest in peace, Dad), who was a database analyst and a data warehousing expert before data warehousing was cool. I wouldn’t want to do what he did, but some of his talk about how x relates to y and lets you come to conclusion z must have sunk in over the years.

Like I said, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But I do think this could be the start of a beautiful romance between GA and I. As soon as I figure out how to really get the most out of him — I mean, “it.”


Start how you mean to continue

Like many people, I really don’t want to bother talking to telemarketers. And since almost no one I actually want to talk to calls my house phone, I leave that line to the answering machine.

(And you can have my caller ID service when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Well, if one could actually “hold” an electronic service. But I digress…)

On a regular basis, I get a message from what’s obviously a recorded spiel that starts with something like, “Hi, this is Brenda. We spoke last week about your eligibility to refinance your home…”

I couldn’t tell you the company name or names, because I always hit delete before the message gets that far. Though I suppose one of these days I should catch the name, so I can make sure I never accidentally enter into business with them.

Aside from the usual telemarketing gripes, I have a big problem with this approach. This company is seeking to start off a relationship with me with a blatant lie.

I didn’t speak to Brenda, or anyone else, last week about refinancing my house. I haven’t talked to anyone about refinancing my house in over a year, when I did do so. And I know exactly what company I talked to then.

Since I keep getting these messages, I assume they work on someone. I just can’t imagine why.

Why would you trust a company with your sensitive financial data and potentially the title to your home when they’re perfectly happy to introduce themselves to you with a lie?

I’m no telemarketer, but I think there’s still an important lesson here for anyone in marketing or communications. Be as honest and truthful as you can be with your audience right from the get-go. Because the person you’re reaching out to has no reason to believe you’re going to be trustworthy in future dealings if you don’t start that way.


Herding cats

No, I’m not talking about trying to wrangle others into doing what I want. In this case, I’m talking about pulling together all the bits and pieces of information and experience I have and to make them work in a new way.

As I said before, I’m still new at this content marketing thing — but I already know more than I give myself credit for. For example, I was only recently introduced to the great Seth Godin. However, once I started going through his blogs (and I’m reading All Marketers Tell Stories right now), I realized that I’ve been a disciple of his for years without knowing it. I have a very clear memory of talking to a client in my freelancing days and discussing a potential ongoing communication based on a marketing campaign, and telling her that we needed to work in some helpful information to the customer in these pieces, or the audience wouldn’t read them — or our marketing messages. I’m pretty sure my coworkers are getting sick of me saying to them, “We need to give people the information they want, not just the information we want to give them.” Mr. Godin expresses it with more style than I do, but the message is still mostly the same.

After a teleconference to discuss lead management, where I felt particularly in the dark, I asked our marketing services vendor rep if he could suggest some resources for me to get up to speed on these issues. (I really hate it when I feel like I’m in the dark.) And bless him, he told me that I’m already 90% of the way there. Apparently, I’m asking the right questions and at least thinking about what this lead management actually means to the people behind the metrics, which can get lost in the push to show ROI and justify budgets.

So as soon as I can construct the right framework for all these nuggets of knowledge, I should be in good shape. It’s just a matter of getting the right blueprint.


Starting with a single step…

I’ve finally decided to make the leap and create a communications blog. Technically, I made this decision around the end of 2011, but I just put my proverbial stake in the electronic ground now.

“What took you so long?”, you might wonder. I’ve blogged off an on for years, for one personal reason or another. But this is my first foray into blogging as a professional communicator. I’m really intrigued by how we can use social media and content for business marketing, but I’m still in the learning stages of how these work on a practical level. So this is where I’ll be sharing what I’m learning and maybe experimenting a bit. I may well make a few missteps along the way, but sometimes those make the best stories later on down the road.

But for now, it’s time to get moving on my “journey of a thousand miles” though the world of content marketing. Buckle up and settle in for the ride.