Ruud Questions: Michelle Corsano

by Ruud Hein November 13th, 2009 

I love following people from all walks of life on Twitter. To learn from and be inspired by.

Michelle Corsano is a marketing professor at the University of Toronto where she teaches Tools & Fundamentals of Web Marketing. On top of that she runs Burst Marketing.

You teach "Tools & Fundamentals of Web Marketing" at the University of Toronto in 13 three hour sessions. If you'd only have a paragraph or two to convey the essentials here, how would those paragraphs read?

Michelle Corsano Building a 39 hour curriculum in Web marketing sounds daunting, doesn't it? The challenge lies in distilling a vast and growing library of digital marketing knowledge down to what is of greatest value to a diverse group of professional learners.

This particular course was designed to deliver a play book of pragmatic tactics and approaches to digital marketing – so that students could immediately act upon the learning, while peeking their interest to seek out the numerous referenced materials and resources.

Learners come to class with hoards of questions and engagement in the topics covered: Website property management, Email marketing, SEO, SEM, Social Media and Web Analytics. I believe their engagement signals the appetite organizations have to integrate digital marketing into the traditional marketing mix.

A lot of what we hear and read about social media marketing sounds very, very familiar. Peter Davanzo described it as "Much social media theory is nothing new. It's regurgitated brand theory."

Is it?

Michelle CorsanoI am in the practitioner camp, not the theoretical camp when it comes to social media.

Yes, there is plenty of din about social media theory going around. And a lot of pressure to be doing it.

Social media is not an island. It is best to start with a strategy aimed to meet a defined market opportunity. Marketer know the mix is important. After all, social media marketing does not make obsolete the principles of marketing.

Your company specializes in business-to-business marketing. How or why is that different? Isn't selling selling and marketing marketing?

Michelle CorsanoDo you buy girl guide cookies the same way your organization purchases software? One size does not fit all. Today, segmentation and personalization are more engaging and are demonstrating higher returns on marketing investment.

B2B segments are distinctly different than B2C segments – as are their buying cycles, purchase behaviours and return on investment (business case) considerations.

Donald Draper was not concerned about content. Content marketing is an integral play in B2B marketing – thought leadership, case studies, knowledge sharing, stories – accelerate sales velocity and reduce selling expense. A good example is Eloqua having recently been awarded a Forrester Groundswell Award for The Conversation. The interactive sales tool realized an 18-20 percent conversion rate.

Marketing, selling, advertising, branding — how are these layered?

Michelle CorsanoOne of the loftiest definitions of marketing as cited by Peter Drucker: The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fitsand sells itself.

How do you suggest people measure their investment in using social media?

Headcount and share of voice.

The former because social media requires resources. The latter because it matters what conversations are taking place about your brand/product – and how you are responding, or not.

20 years from now, what do you wish you would have said here today?

Michelle CorsanoSocial media sabbaticals will be Generation Y's vacation preference.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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