B2B Social Media POV

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Our POV on how Social Media is now part of the B2B imperative.

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B2B Social Media POV

  1. 1. THE ONLINE M O V E M E N T: W H AT B 2 B MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW
  2. 2. It may be time to throw away those brand books you accumulated in the 1990s. Web 2.0 has changed the rules. And not just for the Amazons, Southwest Airlines, and Dells of the world. The online conversation has moved well beyond the retail, consumer and technology spaces. And it’s leaving businesses much more exposed than they’re accustomed to, or comfortable with. Tabling the social media discussion until next year, or the year after that, could be a costly mistake. And almost certainly will result in lost opportunities. “If you have a brand, you’re under threat ... and business-to-business Our mission is to create ideas that build the fortunes of our clients. companies are most vulnerable.” That means (among other things) staying on top of the changing Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research, Inc., marketing and communications landscape and sharing our insights Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies with our clients and friends. We hope you find our point of view of interest. We welcome your thoughts and questions. Online technology is growing at a thundering pace. It astounds even the most enlightened; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. No one can predict with certainty what’s next or what’s best. The only thing we know for sure is the way we communicate (and market our products and sell our services and build our brands) is very different than it was even five years ago – and it will continue to change – at an unprecedented and unpredictable speed. It’s an exciting time in our industry. So much is possible.
  3. 3. H O W I M p O R TA N T I S T H I S , R E A L Ly ? One thing has remained consistent over time. People – including your employees, customers, investors – love to share their opinions, ideas and experiences. They thrive on interaction. Of course, the difference 85.3 percent today is they’re able to have these discussions online with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people they haven’t even met before. And they are in complete control of when, where and how they will connect, and what they will experience. Individuals around the of B2B buyers globe are logging in several times a day to learn about issues, explore industry trends, research specific brands and product benefits, and determine what companies they will do business with and/or invest in. They may never call you. They may never visit your physical facility or surveyed would go even your Web site. But they will form impressions of your brand. They will make judgments about the strength of your management team, the reliability of your products and the imagination of your people. They will make purchasing decisions. And they will influence others’ online to research purchasing decisions. All from their laptop or hand-held device. Virtually anyone can write a review, start a blog, post a comment, facilitate a discussion group, even ignite a movement. The snowball purchases. effect of online communication has shifted the balance of power. In The Long Tail, author Chris Anderson, credits the Web for “unifying the elements of a supply chain revolution that had been brewing for decades.” The Internet’s unlimited shelf space allows companies to serve niche markets with a variety of products, and do it cost- effectively. The same is true of news and information delivery. It’s not about the mainstream and the majority anymore. The Internet makes it possible for any company, news organization or citizen journalist to emerge overnight or, conversely, to spiral quickly downward without warning. The “groundswell,” as Forrester calls it, “is global, unstoppable and affects every industry … And it’s utterly foreign to the powerful companies and institutions – and their leaderships – that run things now.” While there’s a good deal of debate over what we call it, where we house it and how we manage it, we’re here to tell you: It isn’t going away. And you really need to consider the implications and possibilities of the social Web in every aspect of your business. Source: Enquiro Business-to-Business Survey
  4. 4. M O S T I M P O RTA N T W E B 2 . 0 T E C H N O L O G I E S North Europe Asia-pacific China India Total America (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) Web services 57 62 45 48 58 58 Social networking 35 28 29 31 22 32 Blogs 37 21 48 35 46 31 Wikis 27 28 20 18 37 26 Among Web 2 .0 technologies that companies use for business purposes, Video sharing 20 19 22 22 26 20 social networking ranks second in importance behind Web services, according to a 2008 global survey by The McKinsey Quarterly. Social podcasts 20 20 21 7 23 18 networks ranked higher than wikis, podcasts, video sharing and RSS. RSS 18 17 7 15 14 16 peer-to-peer 9 13 12 22 11 12 prediction markets 7 9 5 14 6 9 Rating 7 9 7 4 9 8 Mashups 6 10 3 3 6 7 Tagging 6 6 4 4 7 6 Source: The McKinsey Quarterly, “Building the Web 2.0”
  5. 5. It’s also one of the most cost-effective research tools around. Still, fewer than 45 percent of B2B marketers have begun to use tactics like blogs, Webinars, podcasts and social networking, according to a 2009 study by Forrester. We think that number is going to rise, and rise quickly, over the next few years. We’ve all seen diminishing returns from mass advertising, the traditional trade show, static newsletters, and the one-size-fits-all press release. If our companies are going to thrive in the 21st century, we have to think and behave differently. That doesn’t mean abandoning proven strategies, but we do need to learn to use some tools differently, and think about adding a few new ones to the mix. Your customers want to know you, up close and personal. They want dialogue. They want to know that if something goes wrong, they can trust you to make it right. They want to understand the technology behind your product. They want to talk with your engineers about potential design enhancements. They want to discover new applications through your other customers. They want to know what’s coming next. And they want to feel involved in the process. Social media allows you to connect more personally, frequently and cost efficiently with your customer (or other intended audience). Corporate brand messaging is not enough. Product information A R E yO u TA L K I N g T O M E ? is not enough. Your customers are looking for a relationship. You know this better than we do. They want insight, thought leadership and guidance. Conventional marketing methods If you are involved with your organization’s management, strategic can’t deliver personality, perspective or credibility the way social planning, research, marketing, sales, advertising, public relations, media can. investor relations, public affairs, human relations, legal counsel, product design, or customer service – and you haven’t at least started listening to the “conversation” – you’re missing a huge opportunity. The best way to determine the potential role for social Web relations in your organization starts with simply paying attention to what’s being said about you online. Monitoring the conversation can give you valuable insight into your customer, alert you to product defects and other potential problems, provide usable product development ideas, arm you with up-to-the-minute competitive and market data, and reveal all kinds of other business opportunities.
  6. 6. A N T I C I PAT E D M A R K E T I N G B U D G E T C H A N G E S B Y TA C T I C Marketing Budget Changes Tactics used Decrease (%) No Change (%) Increase (%) $ Company Web site 11 42 47 Search marketing 15 38 47 Online video, podcasts 16 43 42 or rich media Many business-to-business marketers are projecting increases or Webinars, Webcasts 14 45 41 no change in budgets for Internet-based programs, and anticipating E-mail 11 50 39 budgets for traditional advertising to drop. Discussion forums, social 11 53 36 networks or communities Blogs 7 58 34 Executive breakfasts, 25 43 32 seminars and events Other Web 2.0 media 14 55 31 Inside sales/telemarketing 15 54 31 public relations 17 53 30 Online display ads: 31 42 28 banner, pop-ups Virtual trade shows 40 35 25 Direct mail 34 43 23 Radio 48 32 21 Trade shows, conferences 43 40 17 (in person) Outdoor media 54 31 15 print advertising 55 30 15 Sponsorships 40 46 14 TV advertising 51 36 13 Source: “B-to-B Marketing in 2009: Trends in Strategies and Spending,” a study by MarketingProfs Research Insight
  7. 7. 2 W H E R E D O I S TA R T ? While social media isn’t a magic bullet, we believe in today’s high- Then there’s the issue of transparency. Social media requires it. If you’re tech, high-touch environment; it can be an amazingly effective not transparent, you’re toast. End of discussion. The problem is: B2B communications, marketing, research and relationship-building tool. marketers (and, by the way, B2C marketers as well) have worked hard But we know that with newness comes change and with change, a and invested heavily in building their brands. A lot of research, analysis lot of questions. The five areas of concern we hear expressed most and planning went into developing message platforms. We know that often are discussed in brief below. consistency of message is critical. How do we manage our brand and reputation in this environment? The sooner (and better) you understand the social Web, the sooner you’ll be in a position to make the new world work for you. Your customers are having experiences with your brand and talking about it; you can’t stop them. The same goes for your competitors. Your 1 investors. Your employees. The media. People are going to voice – and sometimes broadcast widely – opinions about your brand. You need to listen and react to what they say. You need to figure out how to give them information and access that will enhance their brand experience. You need to correct misinformation, but also admit mistakes when you Who’s going to do it? Where does the function belong? make them. We want to help you get the snowball of conversation Who has the time? going in the right direction. It’s a powerful thing. These are fair questions. But, we all find ways to get things done when we’re committed to them and when we know they are going to help us achieve our business goals. So that’s the real question we “Social media, done properly, is the closest thing yet to one-on-one need to ask ourselves. Will this deliver the desired business outcome? conversation between even the largest companies and the millions If not, don’t do it. If yes, divide and conquer. of people they do business with ... In truth, your customers have As to who specifically participates in a social media initiative? It depends. Know this, though, the geek (and we use that term with always “owned” your brand ... The difference with social media great affection) doesn’t suddenly become the subject expert. And is that you can listen to millions of people and learn, day-by-day, the subject expert doesn’t have to become a techie, either. Marketers and communicators who understand the social Web can help with how your brand is performing, where your company is strong, things like audience segmenting, research, strategy and process development, content ideas, monitoring and analytics. But they and where you have work to do; and then, you can join in don’t write the blog or participate in the online forum. The expert the conversation and positively influence your brand for the better.” does. (Of course, in some cases, the marketing guy could be the “expert:” you get our point.) Joel Postman, SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate
  8. 8. 3 4 What about the whole competitive issue? Why would any company What will legal say? Will they make time to review every post want to tell anyone – let alone its biggest competitors – about its and comment? next product rollout, its proprietary processes, what R&D is working on, how they solved a customer problem, how they acquire new Let’s hope not! In all seriousness, we know corporate counsel can be customers? Are you insane? a tough sell. After all, it’s legal’s job to protect the company from litigation and liability. It’s tough to expand your company’s exposure to the market and at the same time reduce its exposure from a legal “If your products suck and your customers standpoint. But there are ways to manage these issues. For example, many companies establish parameters for online comments by hate you, you probably have good reason to company associates. In the most conservative cases, there may be fear negativity ... For most companies it isn’t an issue ... guidelines identifying the limits of what can be said, which areas are off limits and which are open for personal perspective, reflection or unhappy customers are a fact of life ... In the interpretation. In the case of company-sponsored forums or blogs, same way that a ‘no comment’ is seen as you can opt to review posts/comments before they’re published – especially initially, as everyone gets comfortable with the idea. Your the quintessential pR dodge, refusing to company also has a right to remove comments that do not follow posted guidelines. Discussion groups can be by invitation only and acknowledge and respond to customer concerns can be password protected. A clear and pervasive mission helps, too. is simply an invitation to more criticism.” A company with high integrity that trusts and values its employees, customers and shareholders will be able to make the leap. Paul Gillin, Secrets of Social Media Marketing It is in the DNA of business-to-business companies to be extremely cautious about any sharing of information, particularly when it comes to customer relationships and new product development. It’s easy to treat everything as a trade secret and avoid dialogue with the public. But the direction in all business sectors is toward greater openness. Consumer behavior is changing – globally – and your customers are part of this new consumer culture. These new expectations will surely carry over to you. When you discuss information in an open forum, including ideas that may not be perfect or polished, you will build credibility with your audiences. Where you limit public access and remain closed with your information, you will build suspicion. Now is the time to make smart discriminations about what can be shared with key audiences seeking real-time dialogue with you.
  9. 9. 5 u.S. B2B AD SpENDINg ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES And finally, what’s the value? What’s it going to do for me? How am I going to measure the return on investment? And at what cost? What do we have to throw off the bus in order to get on board with this? 2007 $15 More than 80 percent of companies believe that 2008 $40 (169%) social media is most effective in accomplishing brand-building 2009 $80 (99%) goals, followed closely by goals for attracting Web site visitors. But marketers obsessed with only tracking social media 2010 $125 (55%) results quantitatively are missing the point and may find themselves employing much less effective 2011 $165 (32%) social media tactics for the sake of measurability. 2012 $210 (27%) “2009 Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Guide,” MarketingSherpa LLC Includes display, rich media, search, widgets, applications and other forms of advertising targeted to a business audience on any social network. There are technologies and service providers working hard to perfect social media monitoring and measurement. In the meantime, we can learn a lot simply from the content and quality of the conversation. The ability to know and understand your customers’ concerns and be able to respond to them personally – in real time – is certainly valuable. Further, you can very easily detect peaks and valleys in the volume of online conversation, and compare that to Web hits, inquiries, sales, advertising schedules, or any number of other metrics. Also, social media is relatively cheap – or at least has the potential to be. There’s eMarketer says U.S. marketers will spend $80 million in 2009 no printing, little (if any) production, and often no charge for space. advertising to a business audience on social network sites. And because Web 2.0 lends itself quite nicely to targeting specific The market has seen huge growth in the past two years and is demographics, behavior and work styles, there’s very little waste. But expected to exceed $200 million by 2012. And by 2012, U.S. B2B the question of value is more complex than that. And it really requires social network ad spending is expected to reach $210 million. an examination of your specific situation, audience, and desired outcomes. Social Web planning and measurement should consider – and ideally be integrated into – your overall business, marketing and communication plans. Source: eMarketer, August 2008
  10. 10. listen set track and objectives evaluate I N T E G R A T I N G S O C I A L M A R K E T I N G I N T O T H E M I x create a facilitate content and and amplify strategy identify influencers engage and tools Social marketing should be considered within the context of overall business, marketing and communication goals.
  11. 11. Description Owner Risk Reward Social Active listening, Marketing, Exposure Builds Networking reading and public relations, relationships (e.g., LinkedIn, commenting on customer Lack of with customers, Facebook) blogs, message service, HR, conversation prospects, SO M E O F T H E p I EC ES pA R T S boards, forums, product control employees chat rooms, development – and other key microblogs virtually anyone stakeholders and other (everyone) in We’ve talked about the social Web in fairly abstract terms. And there’s user-generated the company Helps you good reason for that. One of the big benefits to communicating in content monitor issues – the social Web space is the ability – in truth, the requirement – to making you LinkedIn has smarter about personalize. Your approach will be necessarily different from other more than your business, companies with different audiences, brands, objectives, budgets, 38 million industry, histories, cultures, CEOs ... the list goes on. But, it’s worth taking a look members in customers, over 200 competitors at some of the more commonly used tools, platforms and technologies countries, and other key associated with social media. representing influencers 170 industries Allows you Facebook is to identify used over 34 and correct million times problems or every day misperceptions and respond Industry-specific to customer networks concerns in a are gaining timely fashion popularity (e.g., Toolbox, Sparks ideas LawLink and for product the ACS development Network) Blogs Personal CEO, product Requires Lets you (Authoring) journal of designer, time from connect “posts,” engineer, committed regularly, usually with marketing person(s) easily and links and manager, inexpensively photos HR – anyone Requires with customers with passion transparency and other Should be and ideas who and does not constituents updated can represent permit a lot regularly – at your company of corporate Positions execs least once per well oversight as experts, week, ideally company as more often May have Must be open thought leaders multiple to criticism authors Humanizes the organization, building credibility Can showcase products, etc. Helps SEO
  12. 12. Description Owner Risk Reward Description Owner Risk Reward Instant Web Web, Immediate Allows personal podcasts Regularly AV, marketing or Time and cost Educational Messaging applications marketing or response and real-time scheduled communication associated opportunities serving as communication required to conversation and updated professional with content real-time, text- professional questions and online audio development, Completely based instant requests programming production and control the communication driving traffic message between two Audio can be or more people downloaded to Mobile on the Internet a computer or MP3 player Constant, flowing news/ Forums, Online Facilitators are Time Provides a information Message discussion that most often investment platform to Boards, allows people chief marketing monitor issues, SEO Chat Rooms to participate officers, No conversation trends and when and how product control customer they choose managers/ sentiment, Webcasts Broadcast AV, Web, Time and cost Simultaneous developers, allowing you Internet using marketing or associated interaction Your company division heads, to quickly flag streaming communication with content between users can facilitate chief engineers/ and address media professional development, and/or scientists, potential crises technology production and Great participate industry before they driving traffic educational in discussions administrators evolve tool hosted by others Provides Lead opportunities generation for insight and testing Online Video, Company- AV, marketing or Time and cost Brings ideas Demonstrates presentation created videos, communication associated to life, i.e., a your technology and photo PowerPoints professional with content picture is worth prowess Sharing and images development, 1,000 words and interest (e.g., youTube, uploaded to production and in industry SlideShare, the Internet, driving traffic Great for Flickr, available for education, myebook) simultaneous demonstration Virtual Trade A temporary, Marketing or Less personal Simultaneous viewing and interaction Show live, virtual communication interaction live interaction (e.g., unisfair) space allowing professional with target between The audiovisual Potential to similar users to customers/ users on counterpart become “viral” connect with audiences multiple levels to blogs one another SEO without travel, Opportunity to via the Internet connect with key audiences Lower cost and time commitment than traditional trade shows
  13. 13. Description Owner Risk Reward Description Owner Risk Reward Microblogging A combination CEO, marketer, Requires Facilitates easy, Wiki (e.g., A Web site Web, Accuracy of Effective (e.g., Twitter, of blogging, product time and immediate, Wikipedia) updated and marketing or information knowledge/ yammer) instant manager, HR, transparency frequent modified by communication data sharing messaging and customer communication various levels of professional Time tool news feed. Can service – No conversation with audience users, including investment be an open or anyone with control readers, Sparks private network knowledge Provides a face/ editors and collaboration and dedication personality administrators Limited space to your behind the for posting organization organization updates and builds Web Apps Applications on Web, Time to create Expansion available – in Must have the personal (e.g., widgets, a browser or marketing or of online most cases, capacity to relationships iphone other platform communication community 140 to 160 actively listen with stakeholders applications, blog designed professional presence characters and participate Facebook for a specific in real-time Provides a applications, etc.) function – Encourages eMarketer conversations platform for examples Web visits, reports customer include news interaction 12 million service feeds, weather are tweeting guides, quizzes Potential to in 2009 and Helps drive and games become “viral” projects Twitter traffic to other users will jump social networking to >18 million platforms and Real Simple Notifies blog Web, Time to create/ Allows key in 2010 Web sites Syndication subscribers of marketing or update audience (RSS) new postings communication members to and site professional receive news/ Search Engine Techniques Unpaid: SEO May be con- Ensures updates information Optimization to help your professional/ sidered costly, prospects, updates (SEO) brand(s) team, Web depending customers immediately come up early master or on industry, and other key and often in interactive selected constituents Creates a search engine team member keywords find you when following keyword and strategy they are in of people searches Paid: Preferably employed decision- interested • Organic a certified SEM making mode in your Organic SEO is professional Paid search is organization done through working with short-lived Increases Web site structure, interactive awareness content, social team networking Positions and internal company as and external leader and links. (Organic executives as search results experts are used 74 percent more often by B2B buyers than paid results) • Pay-per-click Paid SEO (also called pay-per- click) guarantees placement, much like paid media advertising
  14. 14. Description Owner Risk Reward Tags Keywords Web, N/A Helps search attached to marketing or optimization a blog post communication or Web site, professional working to RECOMMENDED READINg distinguish your post from other information on the Internet We hope we’ve convinced you to take the next step. Even if it’s just listening. Or reading a book, or a blog or two. Following are some of Online Internet real Web, Cost Drives traffic to our personal favorites: Advertising estate marketing, company site designated media Less credibility and increases for promoting communication visibility on the Forrester Research, Inc., Groundswell: Winning in a World online business professionals Internet Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh and driving Bernoff, 2009 – the bible, as far as we’re concerned consumer Builds brand traffic Can be Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester), www.web-strategist.com/blog highly interactive and/or The Society for New Communications Research, www.sncr.org educational Maintains SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate by Joel Postman, 2009 control of message, design and Scott Monty (Ford), scottmonty.com delivery Paul Dunay, buzzmarketingfortech.blogspot.com Charlene Li, blog.altimetergroup.com The NewPR/Wiki, www.thenewpr.com Seth Godin, sethgodin.typepad.com Secrets of Social Media Marketing by Paul Gillin, 2009
  15. 15. Contact: Beth Hallisy, ApR bhallisy@marcusthomasllc.com 216-292-4700 marcusthomasllc.com Highlands Business Park 24865 Emery Road Cleveland, Ohio 44128

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