My Walkabout Back to

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” — James Matthew Barrie

“So, how’s your walkabout going?”

When she asked me that about a little over a month ago, at first I was taken aback. Years ago she was an client, and now she works for, and I didn’t anymore.

That “walkabout” comment certainly hit the mark.

And because everything is correct on the Internet (wink), Wikipedia defines walkabout as “a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. In this practice they would trace the paths, or ‘songlines’, that their people's ceremonials ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds.”

Mine was almost 12 months, and while not quite heroic, I’ve learned a lot about business, myself and the rest of the world while watching it slowly thaw from its latest economic ice age. But I found no matter how I stretched myself, and where, I always snapped back to my “core” of marketing communications, business development, all things people management, all things social and greater marketplace evangelism.

No worries, though. I’ve survived the wilderness and I’ve kept in touch with Fisher Vista, LLC and founder and CEO, Mark Willaman, my old “partner in marcom crime,” and we’ve talked about how the HR space has changed, and how it hasn’t, how B2B business has changed and how it hasn’t, and again how too many companies come up short when it comes to their business marketing efforts.

For example, a new study titled 2011 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program found that 73% of CEOs believe marketers lack business credibility and are not proving to be growth generators for their companies. But in the same breath, 69% of CEOs said they believe marketing strategies and campaigns do have an impact on a company's business, although they can't precisely quantify results.

And we thought there was an innovation gap in HR technology. Gadgets be gone indeed. In all fairness there are many HR suppliers who know content marketing and how to make to business cases to the various stakeholders. Yet, there are still too many more who don’t.

These days in B2B we’re not selling in silos, we’re selling to the business at large, and that includes executive management, IT, operations, finance, HR, recruiting, talent management, training, and the list goes on. Not everyone is the primary decision maker (depending on what you’re selling), but everyone in your target companies are influencers, including their customers. It’s become a much more complex marketing and sales effort than ever before.

There is just as much diversity and complexity with marketing and PR “tactics.”

Social media marketing is important today, and more and more companies are coming online, but it should not exclusively be the only activity you engage in. Because while it may be enough to launch a new product or service, particularly one that incorporates “social” functionality and targets “social” buyers, it’s just not enough to build a sustainable growth business long term. I can’t tell you how many small businesses I’ve spoken with who have eventually burned through word of mouth and needed something more substantive in their marketing efforts. Take a look at the most successful HR Tech or other talent management companies. None achieved their success by focusing on just one marketing or PR tactic.

Back to the present, though – in all my collective careers, I have never met someone like Mark Willaman who has been so focused on professionally imparting marketing best practices to the human capital management industry, as well as now across all lines of business (IT, operation, finance). Also, someone in such relentless pursuit of creating a better marketing mousetrap in his software and services that truly help companies generate greater visibility, traffic and leads.

For example, the new "online voices" database that’s coming will track thousands of social voices in the HR and B2B marketplace (IT, Finance, Operations, Purchasing). Each "voice" will get a profile that includes an influence "score", recent blog and tweets, links to their social sites, their photo, bio, etc. Users can also search the content (tweets, blog posts, etc.) for each "voice".

And then there’s the aggregation of all tweets, blog posts and other social "conversations" for press contacts, analysts and online voices in the databases. With this information they’ll be the first in the HR marketplace to aggregate and analyze the "conversation" in real time and generate powerful trending data.

How cool is all that? And there’s much more where that came from.

This is why I’m returning to my “core” as the Chief Marketplace Evangelist at Fisher Vista, LLC and where I’ll be responsible for strategic marketing and business development initiatives, while still at the intersection of supplier and buyer.

You heard me right – I’m returning to Fisher Vista, LLC and as Chief Marketplace Evangelist.

In fact, I’ll be hosting webinars on July 19 and July 26, 2011, from 10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET), titled:

Marketing is Much More Than Social. Dude.

Register for July 19 here.

Register for July 26 here.

My brief work at Ventana Research wasn’t all for naught – I learned quite a bit from the very smart principal researchers there as well as helping to launch a research and education partnership partnership between Ventana Research and The partnership will provide technology research insights from Ventana Research to the subscribers of HRmarketer’s news and information services. In addition, we’ll collaborate on HR-related benchmark research projects that will benefit business users and software companies in the business intelligence market. And I will still be an industry analyst of sorts, at least from the marketing communications perspective, taking vendor “briefings” in order to help them with their strategic marketing objectives.

So Katrina, remember when you asked me how my walkabout was going?

Well, now that I’ve finally come home to one of the best marketing software and services firms out there today, let me tell you all about it…

P.S. – If you’re at SHRM 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition as I will be Monday afternoon through Wednesday, then ping me. Here’s how to find me:

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