B2B cloud

More and more B2B marketers are blending social strategies with their digital strategies which themselves are just a piece of the overall sales and marketing strategy. This layer-cake approach to "strategy" is typical for the moment and represents an artificial yet necessary attention on digital and social as those disciplines are new-ish still. The cake will settle over time to be one, integrated strategy in the future.

Over the past year, I have noticed a distinct uptick in terms of B2B marketers developing experience and cases around sales enablement, content strategies, peer recommendations each with a heavy social component. 

Adam Holden-Bache over at B2BSocialMedia posted this nugget from eMarketer within a useful post on B2B stats: 

"B2B product marketers were spending an average of 3.4% of their marketing budgets on social media in February 2010, and B2B services marketers were spending 6.5%. Respondents expected those proportions to reach 7.4% and 11%, respectively, over the next year."

So, essentially the spend will double or near-abouts. That doubling is happening despite our deep dissatisfaction in how we measure the value of these efforts. Imagine when we all get better at that....

I recently published a post on the Ogilvy SellorElse blog about the B2B buyer journey. I wanted to share that plus two other strong posts from other marketers on the latest in B2B social media marketing and communications.  

The B2B Buyer Journey Is a Social One

by John Bell

"The buyer journey begins earlier and earlier. Even before a buyer knows they will be a “buyer” they are researching a need via Google, reading what their peers are struggling with, and forming ideas for how to overcome problems or accelerate their business.

We talk in terms of demand generation and lead generation in B2B marketing. Sales is a whole other matter. But the split between sales and marketing and the entire concept of “demand generation” leave out a big piece of what customers need: business problem solving...

...No big mystery that B2B business and tech leaders do what we all do when we have questions. They use search. We have become adept at finding our own answers and ultimately this leads to a much more informed customer base. Not only that but  business leaders wrestling with the overall health of their business are online as much as the tech leaders charged with implementing systems to meet those business objectives. Yet, only 29% of reps are prepared to understand business problems..."

Read the full post: The B2B Buyer Journey Is a Social One

I have been using custom apps at more and more events lately and really like how they not only consolidate the most useful information in one place but serve as a small, specialty community for the attendees. In this post, Eric Schwartzman covers off on this phenomena and I like is brass tacks description of a tactic that works. 

HOW TO: Market B2B Events via Mobile

by Eric Schwartzman

"Make no mistake about it!
The killer app for B2B social media at trades events is, believe it or not, the app.
But not just any app.  Mobile apps.   More and more, attendees are using iPhone and Android apps to network digitally at events, and marketing them in the process...
...So powerful is the prospect of mobile social networking at events that a number of conference organizers have already taken a stab at building their own, branded mobile apps. So far, the results have been mixed.  Because just like any other social media channel, those that go the distance prevail...

Read the full post: HOW TO: Market B2B Events via Mobile

Interestingly there is not ton of strategic thinking in blogs around B2B and social media. What there is a lot of are "list" posts which scramble together "11 things" or "11 Trends" or "11 cliches" and then there are tactical instructions which are often useful (e.g. B2B and SEO, Content Marketing 101, and so forth). The following post from Niall Cook struck me as simple, strategic and useful. 

Three Tenets of B2B Social Media Marketing

by Niall Cook

"...‘Social’ is not the same as ‘personal’ - if the social aspect of social media is about relationships – regardless of whether they are personal (friends) or professional (business contacts) – then the important thing for the marketer to understand is how people can switch between personal and work roles throughout the day. It’s a big factor in what GyroHSR’s chief executive Rick Segal calls the ‘at work’ state of mind. People can be physically at work yet at times mentally at leisure – and vice versa – but regardless of this, when they are using social media they are still social..."

Read the full post: Three Tenets of B2B Social Media Marketing