Modern Marketing

Buzz Marketing: Thought Leadership with Paul Dunay

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The next interview in our B2B Marketing thought leader interview series is with Paul Dunay of the Buzz Marketing for Technology blog and podcast.

Paul has spent more than 20 years in marketing, creating buzz for leading technology companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Avaya and Cisco. He is currently Global Director of Integrated Marketing for BearingPoint. Paul has been a featured speaker for AMA, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, BtoB Magazine, ITSMA, CMO Council, Marketing Operations Management and his articles and research have appeared in CMO Magazine, Information Week, Marketing Sherpa, iMedia, and quoted several times in BtoB Marketing Magazine.

Paul Dunay Tell us a little bit about how you got into B2B marketing and what you like most about it.

I had a role as the Director of the Emerging Markets practice at Siegel & Gale, a branding marketing and advertising firm that is now part of Omnicom. Emerging markets at the time was a nice term for dotcoms where we provided a full suite of services ranging from naming to identity creation to web site design to public relations and marketing plans and lastly advertising. Since our customers were mostly small tech firms at the time, I remember having to wear both B2C and B2B hats interchangeably. That’s when the light bulb went off in my mind on the difference between how you need to market B2B vs B2C. At the time, much of the thought leadership and articles you could find on marketing were all about innovations in B2C β€” so you really needed to think creatively about how it could be adopted into B2B. What I liked most was the pace and the consideration that was needed for the purchase β€” in some cases 9-12 months. I can see how that might irritate most B2C marketers but I thought of this is a real challenge. Anyone can send out an email and make direct sales via clever direct response marketing, but it takes a real pro to sustain an effort for a long period of time and have that pay off for a B2B firm.

From reading your blog and listening to your podcasts, I see that you think a lot about marketing technology and innovation. What techniques and technologies can marketers use to take their marketing to the next level?

I think there has never been a better time to be in B2B marketing since there are new technologies, new tactics, and new innovations on old tactics being born every day that can help marketers accelerate demand generation. As short as a few years ago, B2B marketers were limited to search and targeted email marketing. Now you have RSS, podcasts, videocasts, blogs, wikis, mashups, widgets the list goes on. The big opportunity here is for B2B marketers to have a lead nurturing platform in place and then start layering on these tactics to keep the conversation going with potential prospects.

You also talk a lot about the value of “buzz” worthy marketing campaigns. How do you think buzz marketing and innovation tie together?

It’s the old answer: it depends. Buzz marketing and buzz worthy campaigns don’t necessarily need to be innovative. Take the YouTube video series “Will it Blend“. It wasn’t necessarily innovative in the fact that it was just a set of 5 videos with the CEO blending various items (as he was already known to do) β€” but it was wildly viral with millions of downloads within the first week. Sales went up 5 fold and at the end of 2007 there were 70 million downloads. To me, the innovation wasn’t in the campaign but in the fact that it didn’t use a single dollar of advertising money to put Blendtec into the top Industrial Blender for Home use category in the minds of anyone who has seen these videos. There have been plenty of innovations that aren’t buzz worthy so I as I said, it depends!

What is your advice to help companies step out of the box and develop innovative marketing campaigns?

My first piece of advice goes to the individual marketer. You’ve got to have a passion for trying the newest things even if you only try it yourself. Early adopters are just that: early adopters! They try the latest technologies and get a good working understanding of them, then try them out in their day job since they are passionate about it and realize they have already experimented with it in private and know where the pitfalls are so they won’t let the company fall in them too. That’s a lot of what I have done at BearingPoint, trying RSS, trying podcasting, trying blogging on my off time and then finding ways to incorporate that into my day job.

My second piece of advice goes to the marketer’s company: give these early adopters room to run with the ideas and let them layer them onto existing campaigns to see how they accelerate demand for your company. This is where some real innovation actually happens, and you get the ah ha moment of what truly works for your organization versus someone else’s organization.

The third piece of advice goes to the CFO: let the marketing team have a small slush fund for trying these things out. Many of the latest technologies and new media tactics are not very expensive and if your marketing team can hit a home run like Blendtec’s home run your will get some unbelievable ROI. (Footnote: if you can’t get the funding you can always roll it into the activation costs that might surround a major event.)

With the multitude of promotion channels today (ie: social, blogs, email), what is your advice for B2B marketers striving toward marketing ROI?

I have two pieces of advice here. First, you have to have a lead nurturing platform in place. One that allows you to segment lists, send specific messages, score activities and profile behavior of those that have expressed interest in your company. Then you can bolt on more search traffic, and then you can serve special ads to those in your database. You gotta know what’s happening on your website if you EVER hope to be able to calculate an ROI. Second, once you have that in place you can begin to layer on more types of media syndicated podcasts, third party wikis, external blogs and see if your database is going there and interacting with these sites were you are placing your content.

Have you had success (or failure)with an innovative marketing campaign? What tips do you have for creating buzz?