Browsing Tag

social media

Jonathan Salem Baskin: Customers, Not Conversations – How Kodak Blew It

Kodak has been heralded for its work in social media, even writing a social media tip book. But recently Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection. As a kid I enjoyed photography as a hobby and the excitement of developing and seeing my photographs.

Jonathan wrote a piercing blog post on his blog Dim Bulb about the disconnect between branding/marketing efforts at Kodak and the reality of a market that was changing at blinding speed. It’s not that Kodak couldn’t create innovative solutions, it’s that they couldn’t “market its way out of a paper bag”.

“Its mainstream marketing was traditional to the point of irrelevance. Tag lines like “Take Pictures Further,” “Share Moments, Share Life,” and “A Kodak Moment” (the last of which dated from 1961) were catchy but had no legs, no motivational purpose for the brand other than being memorable. It looked good, like pictures, but there was nothing about the marketing that was uniquely Kodak, let alone uniquely prompting to purchase. Fuji or any other brand could say the exact same things.

If the goal was measuring conversations, the social media effort was a wild success and elevated the careers those involved. If the goal was to sell more stuff, not so much. Sounds to me there was a disconnect between the business goal and the marketing goal.

Is your message memorable but not motivational?

Is your marketing unique or can your competitor’s say exactly the same thing?

Read all of Jonathan’s blog post here

TopRank: 5 Tips on Better Facebook Marketing for B2B Companies

When teaching our Effective Product Marketing class I’m often asked for B2B examples on Facebook. Dave Folkens over a TopRank has a nice blog post that is all B2B.

Facebook has been a great tool for reaching consumers directly for many B2C brands. But can companies focused in the B2B industry use Facebook to enhance a reputation and grow new business? Absolutely.

In summary the 5 tips are:

  • Create two way conversation
  • Connect a community
  • Build relationships
  • Cross promote content
  • Make it shareable

Read to Facebook Marketing for B2B Companies article here.

Social media and product marketing

I often get asked how important social media is to product marketing efforts. It’s one of the few “it depends moments” I have, before responding. There is so much hype surrounding social media it’s easy to get caught up into believing that you’re not doing what all the cool kids are doing.

What adds to the hype is the explosive number of “social media consultants” on the scene. My friend Jay Baer (@jaybaer), a social media strategy guy really nailed it in his post “Attacking the Social Media Lynch Mob”.

“For most of the past year, there’s been a barrage of blog posts bemoaning the social media gold rush, and the number of self-proclaimed experts that seem to propagate like pink eye in a kindergarten class.”

Most of my readers are in B2B technology companies and their social media efforts range from denial (regrettably clueless) to damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead (tactics without a strategy). A few are thoughtful and strategic. The facts speak for themselves, with participation in social media continuing to explode

How are your buyers and customers using social media?

Do yourself a favor and do some homework. Tools like Technorati and Social Mention can help you determine what is being said, where it’s being said and who is saying it. If you’re selling a technology product, there is an almost 100% chance someone has said something about your product or company (and some times it’s not very flattering). Most technology buyers are savvy enough to conduct online searches as part of their buying due diligence. If they see a lot of negative, it could mean your company is not going to make the short list (ouch).

Your buyer persona research should lead you to where your buyers are going to get information. Don’t rush out and start a social media blitz if the buyers you need to influence aren’t there.

Where do I start?

Start by learning. Pam Dyer (@pamdyer) has a post with some good tips: “Strategy Before Tactics: The Basics of Social Media”. Then listening (Technorati and Social Mention). Be genuine and don’t let your Marcom or PR folks turn your social media efforts into watered down corporate speak.

Does social media influence B2B buying decisions?

A raging debate within marketing departments is how to use social media to drive sales leads. Unfortunately some marketing teams view social media as merely another way to SPAM us. They completely blow it when it comes to social media.

Because social media is cheap

As a B2B marketer you’re probably trying to figure out how to use social media in your marketing mix. You’re trying to stretch your marketing budget as far as you can – and let’s face it – you see social media as a cheap marketing channel. But you don’t want to screw it up. A small misstep and it could backfire.

It’s about thought leadership

For B2B marketers social media is about thought leadership not about generating leads. Thought leadership supported through social media will drive interest in your products and services, because it presents your company as an expert at solving a problem.

It’s about driving traffic

In addition to supporting thought leadership programs, social media is viewed as a tool to influence search engine rankings and increase inbound links.

What do the numbers say?

As a quantitative guy I look to numbers to provide guidance on which marketing programs are working – or not. Thanks to a post by Mac McIntosh at the Sales Lead Insights blog, I viewed a presentation by Forrester titled Using Buyer Social Behavior to Boost B2B Social Media Success. The presentation is a summary of a Forrester survey. One of the questions asked was “Which of the following sources of information impact your decision-making process?”.

Not surprisingly the highest response – at 84% – was “peers and colleagues”. In other words, Word of Mouth. You could conclude by reading these results that social media is irrelevant. However, I believe the question is too broad and doesn’t reveal what we need to know as B2B marketers. Perhaps the question “What sources of information do you use to initiate your search for a solution to a problem?” would have been more revealing. Many people read blog content they reach through search engines without even realizing they’re reading a blog.

My take

Social media should be a component of your marketing mix. It will impact on your ability to influence the buying process. To what degree you may not be able to quantify initially, but over time and with some careful experimentation the answer will present itself.