If you are a developer, ‘hello world’ is a familiar concept. If you’re not, its typically what developers use for the first message of a new program they are working on.
Once upon a time I wrote software, so I thought it was a fitting title for my first post for a new software company.
When Telligent Started
When I started my last company, Telligent in 2004, I was interested in using technology to help change how conversations online took place. Turns out that was a pretty good market to be in! We helped create the online community market with our first product: Community Server. Later to be renamed Telligent Community, an online community and social business platform.
Something only a handful of people know is that while Community Server was being built we started another product, Universe (in the fall of 2005). Universe was going to compliment the support aspect of community with customer management. The idea was to wrap CRM concepts around community.
We never got Universe off the ground – building product is really difficult – and we were focused on the community business.
But I never could completely get away from the idea…
The Digital Marketing Opportunity
In 2015 when Telligent was sold to Verint I started thinking about the problems and opportunities that existed for today’s businesses.
The problem I kept coming back to was:
Most businesses still aren’t fully leveraging ‘digital’ when it comes to marketing and sales.
Telligent worked with a lot of impressive brands. But when it came to digital marketing, some were visionaries but more were laggards. The sample size of our customer base wasn’t enormous, but enough data existed to extrapolate the market challenges:
If some of the best brands in the world with millions of dollars committed to marketing hadn’t figured it out, then others hadn’t either.
A great example was one of our Telligent customers: This customer found that people who visited their online community spent more than buyers who hadn’t visited their community.
This should be an “ah-ha!” moment – especially when some of these sales were worth hundreds-of-thousands of dollars! But no, it was destined to be a data point on an executive presentation. Why? The measurement process was manual and the metrics were not easily testable. And, it was an information technology led effort vs. a business first approach.
A Business First Approach
Yes, yes I know… I’m nowhere near the first to think about this digital marketing problem, but I see an opportunity to approach it from a business perspective not just a technology perspective.
In fact, there is so much great technology when it comes to marketing my first reaction was to look at building a consulting business to help organizations use all the great technology.
But, the more I dug in the more I found that while there was a lot of great technology … it was just that, technology. It wasn’t connected to the business and didn’t view marketing as an investment. If there were business narratives to the technology they were mediocre at best.
I know first hand: If you are a business owner there are certain things you care deeply about. One in particular is marketing – something companies spend between 5-15% of total revenue on. That’s a lot of money. If you are a business owner you care a lot about where you spend your investment and what the return is.
As I continued to research, what I found is: great marketers think about these problems. Constantly.
Build it for Great Marketers
Through my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great marketers and some that couldn’t find their way out of a well-lit room with a blinking neon exit sign above the door.
The difference between good marketers and great marketers is subtle, but it makes a significant impact to the business:
- Good marketers count leads. Great marketers build customer journeys.
- Good marketers care about quantity of contacts. Great marketers care about quality of contacts.
- Good marketers protect content. Great marketers publish content everywhere they can.
- Good marketers don’t know why customers behave the way they do. Great marketers want to understand why customers behave they do. They want to understand what works and more important what doesn’t.
- And finally, good marketers ask for bigger budgets each year. Great marketers demonstrate a return on investment for the business.
Great marketers view marketing as an investment with an expected return.
If you want to be a good marketer, there are plenty of solutions for how you spend your organization’s money and time. If you truly want to be a great marketer the number of solutions winnows down very quickly.
Design it for “Each Customer is a Market of One”
Aside from thinking about the audience for a potential business, it was also very important for me to view this through the lens of the consumer – where the consumer is the end recipient of the marketers pitch or message.
We’re all consumers of someone’s marketing message.
In my various roles at Telligent I was bombarded with emails and phone calls. One of my favorite things to do was answer one of many smile-and-dial calls.
I especially loved the calls and emails that talked about desiring to be our “partner” which was simply good marketers trying to say, “we want you to hire us.”
I would wait patiently through the pitch and then would ask: Ok, you’ve told me what you do. What do we do? What is our business? Not once did I ever get a reply beyond, “Well you are a software business …”, and some didn’t even get that far.
Great marketers propose solutions to problems. And when I envision my ideal customer for DailyStory it is someone who cares about their customer and sees each customer as a market of one.
Each customer as a market of one is a philosophical position for how I’m building DailyStory – each customer has a unique set of wants, desires and needs. And DailyStory gives great marketers the capabilities to interact with each of their customers in a more personalized way.
Finally, Great Marketing Tells a Story
Every marketer has a message, but great marketing tells a story around that message. If you’ve read the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (highly recommended) I’ll put this another way:
Great marketing has both an emotional connection (elephant) and an analytical connection (rider).
And that is how I picked the name DailyStory. If good marketing has a message, great marketing tells a story.
At DailyStory we want to help tell your story.
The Genesis of DailyStory
So there it is. The vision for DailyStory can be summarized as:
Great marketing tells a story. We want to help tell yours.
There is a lot more thought I’ve put behind this and I’ll share more details over the coming weeks, months, and (hopefully) years.
Here begins the journey. Buckle your seat belt.