I had a chance to catch up with best-selling author and modern marketing expert Jay Baer who has been the host of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2014 Tampa this week. Jay hosted last year and really brought value to the conversations.
Jay was an early adopter of social media – an early explainer, and now is a highly respected marketing and social expert in addition to being a pretty darned good emcee. I believe it is because he lives what he talks about and is very genuine.
My questions to him focused around social selling.
LR: People talk about social platforms for business, about social business, social selling, and digital business. What are businesses doing right that you are seeing when it comes to growing a positive image online?
JB: We’re certainly starting to see more businesses focus on being useful. Companies of all sizes are awakening to the fact that in this hyper-competitive messaging environment, being truly and inherently useful breaks through the noise in a way that shouting louder does not.
LR: That’s right – Sally Hogshead talked today about how people now have the attention span of a goldfish. Useful messaging has never been more important.
LR:What is a big mistake you see a lot of brands doing?
JB: In their zeal to embrace content marketing, many brands are creating content that is wholly self-referential. It’s content that is solely about themselves and their products. We have another name for that kind of information: a brochure.
LR: In the mid-market space, what companies are leading the way – not giant brands, but larger SMBs and smaller mid-sized companies?
JB: Hubspot continues to be great at helping marketers improve through the provision of sharp content, much of it not related to their core product set. In fact, the SaaS business is perhaps universally the best at this type of marketing, although some B2C brands like Lowe’s are really excelling with it, too.
LR: Do you believe sales professionals can be online influencers, or is that role better for the face of a company – a C level leader? (in other words, is this one strategy for growth in an SMB or smaller mid-market company?)
JB: Today, every employee is theoretically in marketing, whether they are in marketing or not. That’s even more true for salespeople, who often have the expertise and relationships to educate and inform in real-time. What they often lack is permission, and proper training.
LR: What’s next in social?
JB: We’re seeing a real revolution in visual storytelling, and a huge emphasis on paid amplification.
Jay’s newest book is called Youtility – Why Smart Marketing is about Help, not Hype. You can find out more about it and download a chapter here.