In what is basically a great set of advice, David Skok evidently dropped the line
If a marketing activity does not create a lead for you, then it doesn’t belong in your marketing machine.
Or to rephrase that: Storytelling doesn’t matter.
Well, if you believe and execute on that, your company will die (at least if it’s in some area such as enterprise technology). I really mean that. It’s why I tell people that the “Red Hat” approach would doom most companies, and they should never hire a marketing VP whose main claim to fame is Red Hat experience. I’ve been telling people for a few months that I don’t expect VoltDB to succeed, because I expect VoltDB to execute on the kind of belief quoted above.
The three fundamental functions of marketing are:
- Promote a desire to purchase things in your product category.
- Promote your view of what’s important within your product category.
- Promote actual purchases of your product.
A funnel-centric approach to marketing is useful mainly for the third of those three parts. As part of your marketing strategy, it’s great for anybody. It can even work as the whole thing if you’re just pushing a commodity, such as a Linux distribution (Red Hat) or an early-generation application server (JBoss). In those cases, your job really is to get people to switch from the “default” alternative (expensive incumbent and/or do-nothing), and give you money instead. It might also work if you truly don’t have any direct competitors, and are competing mainly for share of mind/share of wallet.
But in most enterprise technology markets, customers pick among multiple alternatives, each with its own appealing story. If you don’t tell your story too, you’ll fizzle and die.