SyncShow B2B Marketing Blog

Which One Are You? 7 Stereotypes of Online Marketing

Attention marketing departments, sales teams and the C suite, your company probably falls into one of the following stereotypes and it could be costing you lost revenue opportunities.

Each day, digital communications changes. With new advancements in technology, each new social media site or mobile apps, your customers preferences for how they find you, engage with you and do business with you changes. Unfortunately, most businesses do not keep u with these changes and they are losing growth opportunities because of it.

Over the past 10 years, my firm has helped hundreds of companies to grow from digital communications. We have seen the full gamut of business types and markets. No matter your business size, industry, geographic location, niche or market, most companies fall into one of the following stereotypes in how they embrace digital communications. Our experience shows that only one of these stereotypes consistently finds success.

So, I ask; which one are you?

1. The Old Schooler

Old Schooler companies look at digital communications as a “website project” and a necessary evil. They do not believe in social media, blogging, email, etc. Leadership at these companies are stuck in the 1980’s and are very conservative. The Old Schoolers expend a small amount of energy and resources to build a crappy website far below the needs of their businesses. They have little chance of succeeding online and rarely change their minds on how to approach communications. When shopping for a new website developer, Old Schoolers focus purely on price, cheaper the better. As a result, they are reaching only a small fraction of their potential customers. These companies are usually stale. Their products are stale. Their services are stale and their growth is stale. If you work for one of these companies polish your resume as the company may not be around much longer.

2. The Get It and Forget It

The GIFIs do not understand the whole digital ecosystem and how people communicate online. However, they know they need a website and typically scrape together a couple bucks and have a website built by their nephew or niece that works for a local IT security firm. Typically, these are smaller companies, sometimes startups. The GIFIs build a basic site, launch it and forget about it. About four years after launch they update it.

3. Field of Dreamers

Field of Dreamers are like the Old Schoolers. These companies think of the website as a necessary evil. However, they have high expectations for success and return on investment. They look at the website as a one-time project. This “project” is a major distraction to the organization. Everyone working on the project sees little value yet they have strong opinions on every aspect of the design, functionality, images and editorial content. The FODs do not trust their chosen development agency and question everything, often choosing their idea over the recommended agency solution.

They have set the fate of their success to zero, long before the website has launched. The FODs are typically cheap. Any amount they spend is a huge expense. They expect the world from their agency and question every fee. Once the site is launched they expect it to deliver droves of new business while they sleep. Maintenance is not budgeted for and is expected to be free of charge, sometimes years after launch.

These companies suck the life out of their marketing departments and agency. Because of this their online success is minimal to none. They jump from one agency to another until they finally decide that digital marketing is hogwash and then they go back to direct mail marketing.

4. The Top Downers

The Top Downers are businesses where President A was just talking to a President B of another company and learned of a big sale acquired through B’s online communications. President A rushes back to the office and mandates a new website be implemented and the company engages with “the” Twitter or “the” Facebook to improve sales. The marketing department is relieved to hear the news as they have been lobbying for a new and improved online presence for years. Unfortunately, the budget is small and the timeline is yesterday. Strategy is sacrificed for speed.

Weeks later the new website is launched and “the” Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts are all set up. Six months later little business or activity is being realized. The company has posted 3 tweets, no videos and the logo on the Facebook account is crooked. One year later the website is stale and traffic is dwindling.

The leadership in Top Downer companies are often heard saying, “The Internet just does not work for our type of business”. Two years later they hire another agency with the same results. The Top Downers want to believe in digital marketing success because their competitors are kicking their ass. They will try again and again but rarely see success until a strong agency aligns the digital marketing plan with the sales plan.

5. Kind of Believers

The KOBs are companies that have invested a modest budget in digital communications. They hesitate to jump in with both feet but can see the opportunities that online communications can bring. These companies are testing the water, sometimes for years, even when they see proven success. KOBs are fun to work with. They praise results, are loyal and typically hire strong agencies for the long-term. The only problem with KOBs is that they won’t give up on traditional marketing and dedicate a large part of their marketing budget to proven but antiquated initiatives such as tradeshows and print ads.

The Kind of Believers are doing just about everything right when it comes to digital marketing. They have a blog, engage in social media often, track statistics and measure successes and failures… to name a few. They do get leads from these efforts and a return on investment.  However, the KOBs are not yet willing to put the other foot in the water to really make a dramatic impact on their growth. They still just don’t fully believe.

Leadership at the KOB companies is often heard saying, “Good is good enough”.

6. The Evangelist

The evangelist companies have every gadget, gizmo, feature and function. They love digital marketing and are very active in every social media outlet. They blog, tweet and post content every day. These are the first adopters and the leadership at these companies is first in line for every new Apple product. They love digital marketing, not because of the success they have seen but because they think its cool. These companies are often smaller in size and the ownership often over exaggerates their online premise. The Evangelists brag about the numbers. “My company has 2751 Twitter followers.” “My company has 8254 Facebook fans.”

Evangelist companies keep up with the latest trends but rarely see the full potential of their efforts. These companies are oh-so close in achieving real success online that drives real revenue growth and just need a hand to get over the hump. A good agency will help to corral these efforts and make them work for the company.

7. Accelerators

The Accelerators can be large or small companies. They can be in any industry for any product or any service. Accelerator companies are typically more progressive in everything they do. When it comes to digital marketing, this group of companies hires in the best talent and realizes that it takes a team of experts to deliver results. Their agency was selected based on a track record of results and not based solely on pricing. However, they do not overpay and are considerate of their budgets.

At Accelerator companies, each and every employee understands the value of blogging, tweeting and content publishing. The sales teams and marketing teams work hand in hand to attract, engage and nurture customers. Most times, these companies have a marketing automation and lead generation system in place. This system is also usually integrated with the customer relationship management (CRM) system so that leads can be automatically funneled to the sales teams. Accelerators know the return on investment for their Facebook account, their Twitter account, etc. They measure all aspects of inbound marketing and know what works and what does not. As a result, this is the only group of stereotypes that consistently sees success online.

 Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 via


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