Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Where is Inbound Marketing Headed? Panel Session

We were lucky enough to have industry superstars available for an open question and answer session to discuss the future of inbound marketing. On the panel were David Meerman, Chris Brogan, Dharmesh Shah, and Ann Handley.

Question: What is the best way to measure ROI?
Dave's Response: When analytics just can't do it it's best to see your area of influence. How many followers do you have, who is talking about you, who is retweeting your posts?

Question: Is it best to keep content on your site or post it in other locations?
Ann's Response: Yes. It should be on both you need to give your content both wings and roots.

Question: What is more important volume or quality of content?
Brian's Response: Both. The more youdo the better you get kind of like running. You start off running 6 telephone polls one day, 8 telephone polls the next day, then you all of the sudden do 12 telephone polls one day when you really shouldn't but you saw a pretty girl and you didn't want her to see you stop running. He thinks the same way about blogging. He just wants a pretty girl to see his blog posts so he keeps posting.

Question: Should you sensor blog comments?
Panel Cumulative Responses: No don't sensor and don't moderate the comments. It can hinder good open conversations and discussions about the topics. If all comments are good people can lose trust in your site that it is being moderated. Brian jokingly recommended hiring people to hate you so you could build trust. If it is a good negative argument that gives another aspect of the topic consider promoting it on twitter or facebook because it can help build trust that you are open to other points of views other than your own.

Question: How should companies/people handle a username that was created while the person was at the company should the time come that they leave or are fired fromt he company?
Panel Cumulative Responses: Well they are followers not sales leads. It mainly depends on whether the username included a tie to the company and the nature in which it was used. The I vs. We decision. If the posts were primarily I oriented meaning "I think ...." then it should stay with the person. If they were primarily We oriented "We think...." then it should stay with the company. It would be much easier if a written agreement is written out prior to the departure or creation of the account to establish ownership of its influence.

Question: Should content be recycled or customized for use in different areas/websites?
Ann's Response: She thinks its good to have a presence everwhere but suggests tweeking the content.
Brian's Response: He hates autofeeding content to several places. He thinks that it disrepects your audience that follows you on several places. You definitely should change it or fluff it up a little before posting in new places.

Question: Should you block your competitors from following you on twitter or your blog?
Panel Cumulative Responses: Let them follow you. If you know it is them making a comment respond to their comment by thanking them for taking the time to follow your blog/twitter account. They shouldn't be able to get any type of trade secrets from your blog or twitter accounts anyway.

They ended up the Q & A session by letting the panel give some parting advice.

Brian: Be a leader not a follower.
Ann: With content, focus on quality to differentiate yourself not quantity.
David: Do what you love.
Dharmesh: Marketing is not just about leads it is about building and asset or a brand so it can be worth something someday.

Overall it was great to get all their different points of views and gave unique input to several industry quandaries.

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