What Do Spinal Tap, Selling in a Digital World & Marketing Complexity Have in Common?

Posted on January 2, 2014 by Tony Uphoff

They have more in common than you might imagine.

In addition to being Business.com’s CEO, I’ve been writing about sales, marketing and management for our audience. Lately I’ve covered the challenges of selling in a digital world, the era of marketing complexity, and the veracity of digital media numbers. I’ve also had the chance to quote my favorite fictional heavy metal guitarist, Nigel Tufnel. Turn it up to 11 indeed.

  • Sales. The value proposition for sales in business-to-business used to be simple; if you had industry and product expertise you were of tremendous value to customers. But buyers today can access more information on your company, product or service by tapping the wisdom of their social/business networks and reviewing your website, than anyone in your sales organization can provide. The balance of power between buyer and seller has shifted, creating the need for sales organizations to rethink how they add value and engage customers. I outline the challenge of selling in a digital world and prescribe 5 tips for improving your sales efforts in the post: Are you Increasingly Saying “We Have a Sales Problem”? 5 Tips for Selling in the Digital World.
  • Marketing. It’s not clear yet whether this is a golden age for marketers or a nightmare. Marketers today have access to a dizzying array of new technologies, platforms, systems and networks, with a new one launching every week. At first blush, it would appear that these technologies are ushering in a new era of efficiency and return on investment. Upon further examination, however, they are also ushering in a level of complexity that is distracting, confusing and frustrating for many marketers. An old adage a professor of mine used to quote comes to mind; “Complexity in business equals cost. If you’re not the one selling the complexity, you’re the one paying for it”. I offer some solutions for marketers in the post: The Top 4 Tips for Dealing with Marketing Complexity.
  • Media. Back in the mid-90’s I was part of a team that revolutionized Business-to-Business publishing. We did it by changing the editorial formula for the magazine InformationWeek and then more than doubling the circulation to over 400,000. This was back when a large circulation for a controlled circulation magazine was 200,000. InformationWeek Magazine went on to become the largest B2B magazine in the world in terms of ad pages and revenue and one of the largest B2B brands in history. I mention this to give some perspective to the issue of audience numbers in B2B digital media today. Like my favorite fictional heavy metal guitarist Nigel Tufnel, who’s amps famously went to 11, the numbers simply don’t make sense anymore. When the quoted reach and engagement numbers exceed the number of US businesses in existence, it’s time for a dose of reality. I call my own industry into the town square for some tough love in the post: Turn it Up to 11: B2B Media is Having it’s Spinal Tap Moment.
It’s been a blast to interact with the Business.com audience via these posts. For my friends, colleagues and fellow media and marketing geeks who read Uphoff On Media, I wanted to do a brief roundup of these posts for your enjoyment. As always, your thoughts, comments and sharing are greatly appreciated!,
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