Can We All Say Goodbye to the Age of Social Media Theory Please?

by Marcus Sheridan

Jason Crawford and Josh Block speak at CMW

Without even a hint of “theory,” Jason Crawford (left) and Josh Block (middle) discuss their company’s transformation at Content Marketing World.

When I was asked by someone last week if keynoting Content Marketing World was my greatest professional accomplishment to date, I answered without hesitation:

“NO.”

Rather, what I was able to show in my presentation at Content Marketing World was my greatest accomplishment. Allow me to explain.

The Marketing Vision that is “Insourcing”

A little over a year ago, as I started getting more and more involved with teaching companies about the power of creating a culture of teachers with every employee (I call this “Insourcing”) , I heard more than once that my vision of said culture simply wasn’t viable—some of which came from respected people in the marketing space.

Notwithstanding the doubters, I knew the vision made sense, and if I could see it, nothing else really mattered.

It was during this time that Krista Kotrla of Block Imaging called me for help and as I explained in this article, after teaching their entire organization, there was complete buy-in from the staff with regards to content marketing. To date, over 40 employees have participated in producing content for the company blog—articles, eBooks, videos, you name it. In short, what they’ve accomplished over the course of 365 days (literally, today is day 365 since our first meeting) is astounding.

Oh, and for a serendipitous anniversary gift, I literally got this email from Krista an hour ago, which she received earlier today from an employee of Block (read it, because it’s awesome):

Guys,

Had a refreshing and revolutionary experience yesterday. It was like Marcus wrote it in a script of how it’s supposed to happen. Lead comes in from someone in New Zealand. I follow up with one email then he calls me. He’s been working with someone he didn’t trust, went to Google then downloaded and read our entire buyers guide, educated himself. He already was convinced I was the expert and he wanted to work with me by the time I picked up the phone, I didn’t have to sell myself at all. The funnel worked exactly like it is supposed to. With very little effort, we just narrowed down the models that will work for his budget and I will be sending out a quote tomorrow. He has the funds, knows what he needs, knows what refurbished means etc. Unless something crazy happens I expect to have the deal signed early next week. The snowball is cresting the hill – to use Marcus’s analogy.

Best Regards,

Chris Sharrock

Product Manager X-ray, Cath-Angio, C-arms

BLOCK IMAGING INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Although sharing this email may appear self-aggrandizing, please understand that such is not my goal. Rather, it’s further proof this stuff works. And when done right, it really works.

In other words, letters like this aren’t theory. They’re not a 20,000 feet aerial view of what marketing in 2012 and beyond “should” be.

And for me, as a guy that’s now working with unique companies all over the globe, it’s my only goal.

I want results. I want to see them. Then I want to show them. That’s my shtick going forward.

My Greatest Accomplishment

And it’s exactly what I did at Content Marketing World when I brought up Jason Crawford and Josh Block of Block Imaging on stage with me so audience members could see tangible, real, and touching results of content marketing done right.

Even better, the guys of Block weren’t the only clients who came to Content Marketing World. Steve Sheinkopf of Yale Appliance and Matt Stock of US Waterproofing were there as well.

More than once, we all sat together and over food and laughter discussed our strategies, failures, triumphs, and future plans. Our many conversations about content marketing centered around real results. Everything kept coming back to the bottom line. Potentially frivolous numbers like “tweets” or “shares” or “likes” were never even mentioned within the group.

Instead of being a “consultant”, I’ve now become tremendous friends with the people of Yale Appliance, Block Imaging, and US Waterproofing.

At one point, as I was sitting among them and listening to each interact, I couldn’t help but smile that these clients-turned-close friends were now bonding with and teaching one another. To say it was rewarding would be an understatement. And ultimately, the impact that content marketing (done right) has had on these businesses, and the bond that I’ve now established with each of these good people, is my greatest accomplishment in this field to date.

Social media, content marketing, and all this stuff we talk about are potentially amazing for any business—but only if done in such a way that leads to a stronger financial foundation for which to build the company upon.

The Age of “Social Media Reality”

Based on the tweets, emails, and comments I’ve been blessed to receive from audience members who attended the Inbound Conference and Content Marketing World, it appears to me the days of “social media theory” are coming to an end. People are ready to see real results, with real sales numbers, and real strategies for achieving success. And if this industry is going to ever reach its potential, theory needs to take a back seat to reality.

This is exactly why my message to audiences seems to resonate and this is also why I’m planning on pushing things to another level over these next 12 months—with a new crop of companies willing to embrace this culture of marketing and do what it takes to dominate the digital realm and experience the fruit of their incredible labors.

To say I’m a little giddy would be an understatement ;-)

Your Turn

OK, I’ve more than said my piece, now I’d like to hear yours. Would you agree people are growing less patient with theory? Do you feel the age of “social media theory” will instead soon become the age of “social media reality?” Jump in folks, this is a topic we can all certainly relate to.

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