Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Ignore social media at your peril: ten reasons why

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
Still on the fence about the value of social media when it comes to lead generation and b2b  sales? Or is your attitude more in the vein of: Why the hell should I even care? Here’s a brief video with ten reasons on why b2b sales and marketing reps   should care. The video puts the power of social media in perspective and makes a strong case that in sales, “conversation” may soon eclipse “campaigns” as a way to drive business and increase the visibility of your products and services. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLd9q88ohUs&w=500&h=306]
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Keeping Social Media Under Control

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
In what might raise a few eyebrows, top managers check their personal e-mail (90%) slightly more often than their corporate e-mail (89%), according to a recent study. That’s on top of regularly checking Facebook (55%), Twitter (40%) and blogs (23%) . The study, which was conducted by People-OnTheGo, took the pulse of 1000 business professionals to get a sense of how the use of social media is affecting the workplace. Employees estimate that they spend about four hours a day managing multiple “inboxes,” the study said. Constantly checking all of your “inboxes,” of course, can be counterproductive: 42% of respondents in the study said they interrupt their work to check their inboxes more often than they would prefer. While there are a bevy of online tools designed to automate social channels b2b sales and marketing executives also need to ask themselves a few key questions – and perhaps set some personal parameters – so using social networks doesn’t slide into a perennial time suck:
  • Write a social media playbook so sales reps have a few goals in mind when navigating the social media terrain. The playbook shouldn’t be too constricting, which may stifle any potential value that can be tapped from social platforms.
  • Lock in some metrics (however unscientific) about the value of using social media in terms of generating new leads, enhancing the visibility of the company’s products and services and growing word-of-mouth marketing. As the use of social media grows, so, too, will the ability to measure its value.
  • How much time per day (or week) should you spend using social networks? For time poor sales execs, a half hour (or an hour) a day seem suffice. The amount of time spent accumulating intelligence from social networks is separate from the time needed to put that intelligence to work.
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Do you need to hire a social media director?

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
As the use social media grows within b-to-b sales precincts, the need among companies to hire a “social media director” has started to creep into the conversation. A recent search on indeed.com for “social media director,” or similar types of services, garnered more than 7,100 results from companies, ranging from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to Constant Connect to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to a boatload of technology and media firms. How long before companies start to employ a Chief Social Media Officer, who, because buyers are increasingly congregating on social networks, has just as much influence at the table as the CFO? It’s not beyond the stratosphere. In order to stay viable, b-to-b companies will need to hire a social media director/general manager or at least elevate the role of their senior marketing executives to the social media sphere. For many b-to-b organizations, this will mean creating an entirely new position. Here are a few tips on getting the ball rolling:
  • B-to-b managers should initially define the role of the social media director and what his or her responsibilities/objectives should be. What specifically is the relationship between the social media director and the VPs of sales and marketing? Are their jobs measured similarly to ensure better alignment and to nip in the bud any potential turf battles? Ideally, the job candidates will have spent adequate time in both sales and marketing arenas and can present management with a package on how he or she will boost the bottom line via social channels. Either way, the folks on the short list should be well acquainted with demonstrating ROI. Only after companies have figured out these variables, should they begin their job search.
  • With apologies to ex-NFL head coach Herman Edwards, you have to play to “win the game!” Companies will need to create a budget item for “social media director” and offer competitive salaries. Jim Durbin, the creator of socialmediaheadhunter.com, said experienced social media directors can command $120,000 a year and up while community managers, who oversee a company's day-to-day social media operation, can earn $60,000 to $80,000, Durbin said. He added that Twitter managers, essentially copywriters with little business experience, typically earn $30,000 to $50,000. Depending on the size of the company, the sector and, most important, the use of social media channels among the audience being targeted, companies will have to employ “tiers” of social media jobs/programmers akin to other discipline.
  • The social media director cannot sit in an isolated office, but must be woven into all of your sales systems. Akin to sales reps, he or she has to be close to the customer and develop the social-media strategy as a function of where the customer is in the sales cycle. For companies who are still getting used to the notion of “Chief Marketing Officer,” the idea of a social media director may be jarring.  In the early days, there may be more misses than hits. But over time, employing a social media director, as part and parcel of the sales-and-marketing arsenal will show the customers that you mean business.
(An alternative version of  this column initially ran on FreshNetworks.com.)
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

The Sweet Spot: Kimmel seeks to expand the DMA’s terrain

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
Larry Kimmel, who in the summer took charge as CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, buys into the notion that sales and marketing executives have to break down the silos if they expect to succeed in a Web 2.0 world. “When consumers are empowered to advocate for brands, it’s far more important that the sales people who have intimate information about customers' wants and needs be more influential in marketing and marketing be much more responsive to the voice of the customer,” said Kimmel, who until 2008 was chairman-CEO of ad agency G2 Direct & Digital, and its earlier incarnation, Grey Direct. Follow the Lead spoke to Kimmel as he geared up for the DMA: 2010 Conference & Expo, in San Francisco, which kicks off this weekend. Follow the Lead: What is your take on the benefits of social media marketing? Kimmel: If you’re an SMB, it’s great because it’s minimum expense to get in the game. In many business scenarios, you can build communities and those communities can be wonderfully supportive of each other, so that holds great promise. One of the things we have to figure out is how best to leverage the channel; lots of people assume that because the channel exists it becomes a promotion channel…I think success in social media is more about product then it is about promotion if you got to the classic 4 Ps of marketing (promotion, price, packaging and place). FTL: How do you think your background on the agency side will enhance the DMA’s relationship with its members? Kimmel: On the agency side you serve clients and that’s what an association does. We only exist because members think they need our support. I’ve made it my business to talk to two, three member companies every single day. I’m going to elevate that after our annual event to make sure that far more people here are much more outwardly focused in understanding what members’ needs are. I think we have been a victim of our own success. For 93 years, we’ve been an amazing supporter of the direct-mail community, so a lot of people think, ‘Well, that’s what you do.’ But our annual event this year has 160 sessions and 60 of them touch on social media, search, mobile, data across the enterprise, mail and interactive media. FTL: What do you think your constituents are looking for from the DMA as they navigate what in many respects is still unchartered water in marketing Kimmel: Answers; what works. What’s been tried and what doesn’t and how we can grow as quickly and efficiently as possible and build raging fans. We are planning an event online called Global Mobile for early November. For related stories on b-to-b sales and marketing trends, visit Follow the Lead on a regular basis.
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Social media spending up; still tiny portion of the marketing budget

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
It’s white-hot. It’s sexy. A feature film about the founder of Facebook is coming soon to a theater near you. Social media is all the rage, yet businesses are still trying to figure out how to make money from it. Despite the current economic headwinds, companies continue to invest in social media, and budgets for social venues online have actually grown significantly since 2008, according to a new study from the Direct Marketing Association. The study, titled, “Deploying Social Media to Cultivate Customer Loyalty,” based on responses from 369 executives with either all or partial responsibility for social media spending, was conducted by the Direct Marketing Association and market research firm Colloquy, to get a sense of how marketers are using social media today.

Social Media Objectives and Growth

Three goals surfaced as top priorities for social media spending:
  • building brand awareness, identified as the top goal by 28% of respondents
  • increasing loyalty and engagement from existing customer (25%)
  • acquiring new customers (19%)
Companies appear to be getting the biggest bang for their social-media buck through cultivating existing customers. From 2009 to 2010 customer loyalty/social media budgets increased by 293%, whereas brand awareness and customer acquisition budgets rose by 189% and 214%, respectively. Companies with an objective to cultivate customer growth/loyalty spend an average of $88,000, compared to $53,000 for brand awareness and $30,000 for customer acquisition.

Social Media in the Marketing Mix

Although there has been solid growth in social media budgets, it’s good to keep in mind that they still represent just a tiny portion of a company’s overall marketing budget. Asked what percentage of their company’s overall annual marketing budget was spent on social media initiatives, 24% of the respondents didn’t know; 17% allocated only 1% and 16% allocated 4% to 5%. “There’s continued resistance [to social media] because it’s hard to quantify,” said Yoram Wurmser, acting head of research at the DMA. “Companies are setting aside budget [for social media channels], but still want to quantify the affect and the revenue impact.” As with other marketing vehicles, one size does not fit all when it comes to using social media. Cultivating loyalty among existing customers is most likely to be among the top marketing goals for large companies and the product industry while small companies are more likely to deploy social media for customer acquisition, the study said. Facebook and YouTube are used markedly more for brand awareness than customer acquisition, the study said, while no clear leader has emerged for customer loyalty acquisition. For related stories on b-to-b sales and marketing trends, visit Follow the Lead on a regular basis. Subscribe to RSS
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Why scripted corporate social media bugs me

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
Guest Blog | Ben Bradley Back in April, Sir Martin Sorrell, head of WPP, the world's largest marketing and communications group, voiced doubts about corporations using social networks: “…social media sites are less commercial phenomena,” he said, “they are more personal phenomena, more similar to writing letters to our mothers than watching television.  Invading these media with commercial messages might not be the right thing.” However, a ZDNet article, also quoting Sorrell, said that corporate social media use is not social at all because it is all about sales. As a real-world example, the author describes the dinner-party dynamic where “people will avoid that person that is selling something. Friends that invite their friends to Tupperware parties, or multi-level marketing, are tolerated for a while, but not for long. Similarly, companies that use social media as sales media must understand there is a time and place for it, or they risk harming their brand.” Separating sales from social media is a good idea. But in the b-to-b sector, the line in the sand isn’t always clear because all media, including direct b-to-b selling, is social. B-to-b sales have always been social. Making authentic connections is hard work. Getting on the phone and talking to people every day is social. But, the funny thing is, I’ve never heard a single sales guy refer to himself as a ‘social-selling guru.’ In Sir Martin’s big media/big brand world, “sales” is something you do to a person…no matter how much it hurts. In big media, social-media gurus script and sculpt social media into sales media. The problems happen when hypercritical consumers with highly developed BS filters quickly cry foul on the thinly disguised sales media. In the b-to-b world, audiences are a bit different. Sales are social, the fruit of a relationship cultivated by people being useful (and being at least mildly social) to other people. Successful sales people know that demonstrating character, integrity and trust is the only way to find new customers. A sales person is judged and rewarded with new business based on his or her product knowledge, honesty, integrity and whether or not he or she acts in the best interest of her customers.  Trust is built and established by individuals with individuals through repeat interaction. Sir Martin’s concern about the intrusive role of sales media lies in the fact that you can’t script unscripted social interaction. Really being useful requires that the entire organization be present for more unscripted moments of usefulness – moments when customers could use some guidance, information or focused attention. The best sales people and the best companies have known this for years. So that’s my rant. I’m sick of scripted sales media disguised as social media and I’m sick of the social media gurus doing the scripting. _________________________________________ Ben Bradley is managing director of Macon Raine, a management consulting, marketing, and lead generation company. He can be reached at ben@maconraine.com. For related stories on b-to-b sales and marketing trends, please visit Follow the Lead on a regular basis. Subscribe to RSS Share
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Weekend reading: Stats on social media in b-to-b

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
Check out this terrific package of b-to-b social media statistics, per Social Media B2B blog. The stats are categorized by, among others, usage, forecast, executive interest (in social media), channels, budgets, resource allocation and measurement.  Put the list in a safe place on your iPhone or make it a scroll, but, whatever you do, remember that social media is still in just the top of the second inning. Subscribe to RSS Share
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

The Sweet Spot: What’s your policy on social media?

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Dave Fitzgerald, executive VP, Brainshark

Buckle up.  Dave Fitzgerald, executive VP of Brainshark, is betting that it’s going to be sooner rather than later that inbound marketing starts to trump traditional sales. “I’ve been in the technology business for 25 years and I am absolutely fascinated by, just over the last four years, how much face-to-face time in the sales process has shrunk,” said Fitzgerald, who oversees all of Brainshark’s marketing and service operations. “We regularly do deals for $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 over the phone and there has never been a face-to-face meeting.” He added: “If you thought the last four of five years were scary, relative to sales-and-marketing processes and technologies being reengineered, redeployed and rethought, it’s going to quadruple in the next few years.” Fitzgerald talked with Follow the Lead about some of the trends facing sales and marketing execs. FTL: What are some of the way that companies can strike the right balance between automation and the human component in the sales process? Fitzgerald: You need to pick the right technologies, put the right processes in place and then provide the proper level of training so that salespeople truly understand, and therefore believe, that it’s not a question of ‘balance,’ it’s a question of the automation helping and supporting them to sell. If the organization is talking about ‘balancing,’ then something is wrong with their strategy. FTL: With customers demanding more and more content as part of the sales cycle, is there an increasing onus on b-to-b sales execs to work more closely with marketing execs in creating the content? Fitzgerald: When we talk about content – whether it’s written or audio-visual – communication is key and the salespeople are right in the middle of it along with the marketing people. They have to work together to sort out what content the salespeople need to be involved with in creating, and what content needs to be created for them by marketing to support the top of the funnel and generating pipeline…If you carry it to a more advanced setting, there are companies that are deploying communication tools to their salespeople to create on-demand content communications to send to prospective customers and prospects. On-demand content is becoming more and more critical as people become increasingly busy and that’s just one more reason for the need to integrate sales and marketing. FTL: Do b-to-b organizations need to start taking steps to fully integrate social media into the system in terms of budget and new skill sets? Fitzgerald: Yes, but every business is going to have to make a determination as to how big that budget should be and any budget that they allocate to [social media] they should be doing it with a focus on the ROI. On average, b-to-b companies are still at the early stages of determining which social-media tools they’re going to standardize around. They need to create policies that address how employees present the company-related content in the online/Internet/social-media world, where all of this stuff is going to live with us forever. But I would say one in ten b-to-b companies have a policy today. If I pick the tools and the policy, I [also] need to develop an infrastructure to educate and train employees. For related stories on b-to-b sales and marketing trends, please visit Follow the Lead on a regular basis. Subscribe to RSS Share
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Are you budgeting for easy listening in a rock-and-roll era?

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
BtoB Roundtable Discussion: Switching Marketing From Mono To Surround Sound In our efforts to diversify the content of Follow the Lead, today we present our first podcast. The podcast, in partnership with DemandGen Report, is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of podcasts exploring many of the hot-button issues of b-to-b sales and marketing, such as data management, lead generation/nurturing, cold calling in a digital age and whether social media is a legitimate sales vehicle. Our first podcast, titled “Switching Marketing from Mono to Surround Sound,” features Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Labs, and Steven Woods, CTO of Eloqua and author of  Digital Body Language.  Follow the Lead co-moderated the discussion with Andrew Gaffney, editor and publisher of DemandGen Report. Shih and Woods discussed how social media is affecting b-to-b sales and marketing and the tremendous (and ongoing) shift that social networking is having on buyers’ relationships with prospects and customers; how social media is affecting budgeting and how listening more closely to social conversations online impacts brand reputation. “Social media is really changing the way we sell and market,” said Shih, who was formerly a top executive at Salesforce.com and author of  "The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff." “Look at how people are sharing more information about themselves than they ever have in history, so through LinkedIn profiles, through ‘tweets,’ our customers and prospects are revealing a tremendous amount of information.” She added that social media “presents a great opportunity for b-to-b sales and marketing executives to, obviously, respect privacy boundaries, but, also, when possible and where it makes sense, to be able to use this information to better target the messages, offers and the experiences they create for customers and prospects.” Woods elaborated on the “flywheel” effect that social media is having on b-to-b sales, in terms of b-to-b sales execs moving away from one-time transactions and toward long-standing relationships, as well as why sales execs ignore social media at their own peril. To listen to the podcast, please click here. Subscribe to RSS Share
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Pivot in marketing means more personalized messaging

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest
“The future of marketing will be more like the past than you could ever imagine.” – Ted Levitt In the classic comedy “Broadway Danny Rose,” theatrical agent Danny Rose (Woody Allen) explains to a prospect his life-long approach to serving his clients. “Remember: friendly, but not familiar,” Rose says. We were reminded of Rose’s advice after listening to Christa Carone, CMO of Xerox Corp., deliver Tuesday’s keynote address at the Direct Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Days in New York. Amid the explosion in social networks, Carone stressed that marketers need to step up their efforts to create more personalized messages that can cut through the proverbial clutter and create a dialogue with prospects. “The [marketing messages] that break-through are creative communications that make me feel like someone is actually talking to me,” she said. “Connecting with customers and prospects with the right messages, with the right media at the right time has never been more challenging. It really comes down to relevancy: Are you talking to me? That’s the main filter that all marketers should be applying to their messages.” In an increasingly Web 2.0 world, marketers need to understand the “unique aspects” of different sets of customers and deploy the messaging accordingly, Carone said. “Customers are now seeing 3,000 messages a day, and you know what? We’re paying attention to maybe 52 of them, and we’re remembering only four – a little more than one-tenth of one percent,” she said. “Now try telling that to your CFO, and defending your marketing budget.” Carone said marketers must communicate with clients and prospects using both traditional marketing channels and myriad forms of new channels online. “The difference with using cross-media is you can differentiate every single piece of communication you’re exchanging with clients and start moving the conversation forward.” And while technology enables marketers to get closer to their customers, the underlying issue is the experience. “The true intrinsic value comes from the experience, not the technology,” Carone added. “Technology is important, but as marketers we need to create value for exceptional experiences.” Subscribe to RSS Share
Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisPin on Pinterest