Saturday, May 23, 2009

“Vertically Famous”

In marketing (as in life), there’s hardly any problem that can’t be overcome with great big budgets. In the absence of money, though, focus is everything.

At this year’s Online Marketing Summit in Houston, Robin Tooms (Principal and Web Strategist at Savage Design) spoke to a capacity crowd about thought leadership marketing using online mechanisms. It was a good reminder, since I’d helped Trevor Eade accomplish this for EMS Group, as you can read about here.

Thought Leadership is a smart tactic, with a considerable force-multiplier effect – especially valuable for companies which are just starting to expand their branding and marketing efforts.

Tooms presented a number of ways to make Thought Leadership work; her most tightly framed pass-along was, “Be vertically famous.” Pick a particular subject, a single arena of expertise…and work to become the (world’s) (nation’s) leading specialist in the subject.

Online marketer Larry Chase made vertical fame No 3 on his list of “13 Essentials for Thought Leadership Marketing.” He wrote about it forcefully and colloquially:

Let’s face it, you’re not going to be Britney Spears (not that you’d want to be). What you want to do is figure out to which audience you wish to be famous. At a Search Engine Strategies conference recently, I heard someone introduced as “a rock star of SEO.” You want to be king of a mole hill and be known by all in that very particular industry. This is what I call “concentrated fame.”

That SEO rock star is going to be just another Joe to someone in the tool-and-die casting business. But that’s OK. It’s much better for you and your firm to a mile deep rather than a mile wide.

Too many marketing programs are wasted because of that mile-wide effect: A little bit here, a little bit there and before you know it, the vital substance of your brand is spread way too thin and it evaporates. By concentrating your efforts on a single tactic, you can focus all media toward making that tactic work, and deepen (or heighten) the impact of your brand.

Making your brand the thought leader in a specific industry category is still a viable goal. Even if you don’t achieve it, you can climb a considerable distance toward it. Thanks to Tooms for reprising its value at OMS Houston.

Photo: “Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming, USA” by Carol Polich. All rights reserved.


Robin Tooms said...

Richard...So cool, thanks for the mention! I like seeing that you point to this in practice too... I had not read that post on your blog before. Have a good weekend as well.

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Robin, you made such excellent points - and connected "online" with "marketing" too. Thanks again...