Experience is the greatest teacher.
Good or bad, we learn the best and most complete lessons when we experience something.
Unfortunately, sometimes those experiences are mistakes.
We’ve gained a lot of experience along the path to Convirza. This experience taught us a few things. Here are 5 marketing lessons we learned the hard way.
You can’t be all things to all people.
And you can’t go to all tradeshows for all industries either. You just can’t. It isn’t possible.
When we first launched the company, we tried to go to every tradeshow and every industry event we could. We gathered a list of possible events to attend and then we would research these events.
Generally we would create a list of shows that we wanted to attend, and a list of shows we did not want to attend.
Sounds reasonable right? Well it was, the process itself was perfectly reasonable. But we didn’t follow it.
Eventually we started just going to shows on both lists. We would, at the last minute, decide to go to shows that we weren’t planning on attending originally. We would see that a competitor was exhibiting and then decide to attend. Or we would attend a show across the country at the last minute.
In hindsight, we learned that you can’t be all things to all people. Dumb idea.
Every organization has holes in their data. Our initial marketing efforts were no different. We had a few holes in our lead gathering procedures.
We learned this lesson the hard way. We’re now experts in gathering and analyzing every lead that we get.
When we first launched our tool we wanted to be a call recording tool for call centers, call tracking tool for marketers, call scoring tool for hotels, and a telephony platform for IT guys. While our platform can be used to do all those things — and more — we certainly can’t market to all those audiences effectively and simultaneously.
For instance, we tried to market to call centers and marketing agencies at the same time. It didn’t work.
We learned a hard lesson: you have to focus on a specific audience and a specific audience only.
We launched an aggressive content marketing campaign that included blogging, webinars, speaking, PR, and press releases.
It works. We’ve generated tens of thousands of leads via inbound marketing.
We initially didn’t believe that webinars would be effective. We were reticent to begin webinars full-scale.
That was a hard lesson. Turns out that every week we waited to conduct webinars was a week that we weren’t getting leads. We learned that inbound marketing works.
Inbound marketing worked SO well that we forsook (yep, forsook) most of our outbound marketing tactics. This was a poor decision. There is an ideal mix of inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Reliance only on inbound simply won’t work.
This was a hard lesson. Don’t believe me?
Hubspot itself (the king of content) still pays for some marketing. Same thing with companies like Marketo and others that excel at content.