When it comes to this blog, I try my hardest to stick to the topics that deal with databases and cloud computing. Why cloud computing on a database blog? Because I am convinced that cloud computing is how IT capacity will be delivered in the years to come. And since databases need IT capacity (compute, storage, networking) to operate … well these two things go together.
The subject of this post, however, has nothing to do with either cloud computing or databases. I am a big believer in social media and a huge proponent of its use for “inbound marketing”. What is “inbound marketing” you may ask? I think that is the question that is best answered by, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Haligan the two guys who invented wrote the book on the subject … literally. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series) is by far my favorite book on the subject. I have recommended it to anyone who would listen and even those that wouldn’t. Let me put it this way, if you were to only read one book on marketing or social media, this is the one. I think Guy Kawasaki summed up the value of the book and the technique it describes the best
If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing by reading this book.
So, what do the authors say about “inbound marketing”? Their premise is that traditional marketing is dead … actually ineffective and irrelevant but not dead since many companies are still spending money on interruption based marketing, and we, the former victims of this marketing have found some really good countermeasures. The concept of the inbound marketing is simple; stop pushing your messaging out and start pulling your customers in. Pull them in to a discovery and a conversation about your company and your products. Stop trying to fill their ears, site and brains with marketing drivel. How did Dharmesh and Brian come up with the ideas and perfected the techniques? Well they did it themselves by starting HubSpot.com, a company that is focused on, what else … “inbound marketing” or I should say marketing platform for small and medium size businesses that helps them practice inbound marketing. The most interesting part is just how much venture capital HubSpot has raised. Just today, Sequoia, Google Ventures and Salesforce.com invested $32 million in HubSpot. This is on top of the $33 million raised in the previous rounds. Holly Crap!
Another interesting funding story today is Stack Overflow raised $12 million. If you are a programmer and care about your craft you no doubt know about Stack Overflow, a hugely popular forum for programmers where you can ask smart questions and get even smarter answers. And if you are more of a systems guy/gal then you may be using the newer ServerFault.com. Here is me at at StackOverflow.com. It is run by Joel Spolsky a veteran of social media. Joel has been writing a hugely popular JoelOnSoftware.com blog that has become the premier destination for programmers to learn about landing a really good job where good is defined as working on stuff that really stimulates your development as opposed to jobs that may pay well but lead to atrophy of the programmer’s talent. Soon enough, the “jobs” tab on the blog became careers.JoelOnSoftware.com which is a premier destination for recruiters looking for the top programming tallent and a place for programmers to come to to be found and hired. But, before all that, there was a book Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity. Actually, there were many books but this first one is simply a republishing of much of the early blog posts from JoelOnSoftware.com. But, let’s get back to money and investment. $12 million is the latest round which is on top of earlier $6 million raised in 2010.
So, why are VCs pouring all this cash in to these social media companies? There is only one reason why VCs and it is because they believe they will get a return … a great return on their investment. Social media marketing works and old style marketing no longer does. Smart money is on what works.