You’re probably stressed.

It’s likely that you (and your customer contacts) are doing the job that used to be done by three people.  The information density of our world is overwhelming. Budgets and resources have been slashed.

It seems that everything is working against our ability to connect with customers and share information that could influence a purchasing decision and close a deal!

On the Internet side of the business, a new model for personal power and influence has emerged.  Enabled by widespread access to high-speed Internet and free publishing tools like blogging and Facebook, a new generation of influencers has emerged who have created a niche by being able to create compelling content and move it through an engaged network.

So now I want to take this idea a step further and push this thinking a new way.  If you have been immersed in the social web for awhile, this idea of influence probably makes sense.  But how do we apply this same model to the OFFLINE world?

How do we establish power and influence by creating compelling content and moving it through a HUMAN network instead of a digital one?

For example, success in sales often depends on your ability to tell the story of your company and the benefits of your product. But that task is more difficult than ever. The competition is fierce, and your procurement contacts have less and less time to learn about what you do … let alone understand it.

So how can we use Web 2.0 communication tools to break through the clutter and move our marketing message virally through Procurement, through corporate gatekeepers, and into the hearts and minds of executive decision-makers?

Here are a few lessons from moving content online that might help move it offline too:

Infographics – While we might be weary of infographics, wouldn’t that be an interesting way to cut through the clutter with a busy purchasing manager?  Instead of giving them a glossy brochure or power point presentation, why not a one-page, cleverly-designed picture of your business?

Aggregate content – When I interview customers during my market research activities, I always ask them what they hate about their jobs.  I look for activities that my client might be able to take on for them to make them indispensable. The answer usually leads back to something about stress and a lack of time to get things done. How can you use Web 2.0 utilities to help customers solve problems and save time?  Can you aggregate industry content in a helpful way so that a message from your company cuts through the clutter once a week?

Make ‘em say wow – Let’s face it. Most company corporate communications are bland. They’re little more than glossy, buzz-laden press releases. Yet the communications that really stand out and get shared ENTERTAIN people!  Do you remember the day last year when the Google logo was a little PacMan game? If you saw it, I’ll bet you remember it, played it, and probably shared it. It was a little thing that helped them stand out and make people go “wow!”  If you have ever seen an example of a corporate marketing communications that makes you go “wow” I’d like to see it.  Rare exceptions … but why?

Visual selling — I don’t know what you call this technique, but many magazines are now doing lists where you can feature the “top 10 of something” by flipping through a picture or graphic and a small amount of text. An example from Inc. is here.  This is an effective communincation format when you want to summarize the highlights, yet I have never seen it used out side of this magazine format. Sort of a Flipbook/infographic combination.

I don’t have all the answers, but what do you think about the idea? How can we apply online marketing principles and best practices to the offline world to get to decision makers?

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