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Your post illustrates that Blogs and (other web 2.0 technologies) will become increasingly important components of the marketer's toolkit. However, I think marketers need to be really careful here. Misunderstanding the medium or rules of a new channel could have a significant backlash on the brand. When experimenting with new new technologies and methods, marketers need to look at some basic rules of relevance and intent before shifting into "lead generation" mode. Blogging and social networking is fundamentally based on trust -- customers will quickly see through a disingenuous intent and will quickly click away from irrelevant information.

Brian Halligan

This is an interesting topic.

I personally would not be happy if I was spammed with product/sales information after I had left a message in a blog or a discussion forum. I think that crosses the clean marketing line.

Along a similar thread, what I think makes a ton of sense is for a vendor to "watch" what ever visitor to her site does and once that visitor "self-selects" into a lead form, the information filled into the lead as well as all the intelligence the site has gathered about the person should go into a database as intelligence to prepare the representative when following up with the lead. The information gathered would have interesting information, such as blog comments left, discussion comments left, search term that got the person to the site for the first time, pages visited more than once, etc. Having all this information will allow the rep to get right to the heart of a solution sale. It would also allow management to look across all the leads and see what marketing programs (i.e. search terms, paid search campaigns, links from blogs, seminar special url, etc.) reall worked to drive not only traffic, but traffic that ended up in the sales funnel.

-- Brian Halligan.

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