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Using Your Online Community to Solve the Branding/Lead Generation Question

October 17, 2011
Companies in the telecom space have often wrestled with the notion of spending more money on branding versus lead generation. Since the benefits of spending money on branding are far less tangible than the immediate benefits of acquiring leads (aka landing a sale), companies frequently gear marketing techniques towards the latter. TMC’s CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) recently expounded upon considering the former in a podcast conducted with Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO (News - Alert).

Tehrani noted that, depending on the product, customers are “not familiar enough with the brand to actually convert at a satisfactory rate,” so companies are “spinning their wheels spending a lot of money trying to get them to the table to sign a purchase order” when most potential customers are not simply aware of who the company is or what it does.

With this fact in mind, it appears as though focusing on branding might be a bit more important than we all thought, which is where an online community comes in. An online community allows you to extend your brand beyond your corporate website which is obviously sponsored by you. All content on your corporate website hosts your branding, and while your online community may do the same, it also functions as a venue for third-party affirmation and thought-leadership that will only serve to boost your company’s visibility, and therefore the legitimacy of your brand. 

“The companies that don’t necessarily spend the most amount of money, but are consistent, are the ones that tend to do well over time because what they do is cement their brand in the mind of the customer,” noted Tehrani. “In the tech or telecom industry, we don’t live with an ‘impulse item’ kind of mentality. When somebody has a need for a product, they already know the companies they want to work with in general. That’s a challenge for smaller companies: To get inside the mind of the customer before they’re ready to make that decision.”

Ultimately, you do not need to shell out the big bucks to rebrand, or reposition your marketing strategy in order to improve lead generation, but you do need to leverage your online community as the tool for hammering home your message. Tehrani suggested an analogy: “Branding is like taking a nail and hammering it into a piece of wood.” Consider your online community the hammer, and your thought-provoking content, the nail.

What experiences have you had with branding or lead generation online? Connect with us and join the conversation: Facebook  | LinkedIn | Twitter

Interested in contributing a story to the TMCnet Online Community Connection? Contact us!

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

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