I had the privilege of having David Meerman Scott come to my Tufts marketing class yesterday and talk about the future of marketing. Actually, to be truthful, his coming to the class had very little to do with me, and 99% to do with my students.
Prior to the semester starting, as prep for this class, everyone needs to read David's book, "The New Rules of PR & Marketing", 4th edition (since it's in this edition that one of my alums, Lyndsey Kirchoff, now at Mullen, is mentioned).
Since, it's the definitive "reader-friendly" treatise on Inbound Marketing, the reading of it is a prerequisite in order to get admitted to this always oversold class.
Early in the semester one of the students asked if David would be coming to class to talk, to which I explained...
- very busy guy
- travels extensively
- speaks all over the world
...to which the students (who really wanted to talk with David and didn't care about my lame excuses) simply responded at the end of class with a massive Tufts-wide Twitter campaign of "Where's David?" By 11:30 that night, he had been deluged with requests, gave in to the stalking (David's word, not mine) campaign, emailed me and the student Hunt-Down-David Team to surrender, and he appeared in class this Wednesday.
His talk was pure David Meerman Scott-exciting, a bit outrageous, very new, and right on the knife edge, as only David can be. He had rapt attention, and was a huge hit with everyone...including me.
David's a Brand
David's written ten books. Sold hundreds of thousands of copies. His books have been translated into tens of languages. He's traveled to and spoken in over 100 countries. And, now, his latest book, Marketing to the Moon, is being made into a movie-set for a 2017 release date. And, to a very large degree, he, along with Dharmesh Shaw and Brian Halligan , the co-founders of Hubspot, is the Inbound Marketing Guru. Goodbye Seth Godin (Tufts grad, of course); hello David Meerman Scott.
During his discussion with the class, a number of times, he pulled out his iPhone 6+ and referred to it as one example of the future of marketing...and information availability about customer's needs in general.
Apple's a Brand.
Obviously Apple's a brand. The brand runs the gamut from the highs of personal emotional tagging as "a badge" (I'm pretty cool; I've got an iPhone, an iPad, an Mac) to the funtionality of having extraordinarily high computing power and instant connectivity at the tips of your fingers or the sound of your voice.
The Apple 6 has become, in its very short birthing over the last four weeks, a strong brand in itself. Spectacular sales of millions of units. High prices...and, in fact premiums above list.
One of my MIT students is currently charging $250-$450 to wait in line to buy the 6 for his "clients".
What's a Brand? Everything's a brand
A brand is a name. It's an image. It's perception. It's the intersection between emotion and facts-sometimes balanced, most of the time not. But, it's purpose is always the same. The purpose of branding is to ultimately create value for your customer through the process of having them purchase your products and services. Even if that brand is a person...as in you.
It may be that the brand creates perception. It may be that it creates actual sales leads. It may be that the brand itself leads directly to a sale without the requirement "of actually selling" anything. In those cases, the functionality of the purchasing the brand...just happens. But, to a large degree, the ultimate result of branding-the actual purchase in a B2B sale-rests on the personal brand of the salesperson.
What's Your Brand?
Have you thought about what your brand is?
What does it say about you?
- What do you believe your brand is in the marketplace?
- Do you know how your customers would describe you?
- What do your associates and peers consider to be your brand?
- How do your competitors talk about you personally?
- What do you want your personal brand to become in 2015?
It's not an easy task to create, to build and ultimately polish to a high shine your personal brand. And yet, I would suggest that doing all of that is just as critical to your sales success as is your company brand.
Think about taking some time either by yourself this weekend or with your sales team at next week's sales meeting and think through this requirement of not only figuring out what your current brand status is, but what you're going to do early in 2015, once you successfully close on the year, to define and to grow your brand.
Have a great weekend!
Good Selling for Q4...and Good Planning for 2015!