Being able to effectively market in the new research oriented, conversation marketing environment of the web must be a part of every B2B organization’s marketing strategy. We all recognize the opportunities that everyone is talking about in social media marketing, but what is really going on? How do we get our heads around this, when we have been successful in traditional marketing for so long?
Here are a few things for the rest of us to consider:
- You can’t control your message and your reputation – there are just too many channels. When there were a limited number of channels it was easier – magazines, radio, TV, newspapers – this is what people read and this is where businesses could tell every buyer what to think about them. Now there are many channels and many people driving the conversation.
- Every person with a connection to your business can comment on it. The good, the bad and the ugly can and will be mentioned about your organization. You need to be part of this conversation and you need to add value.
- It will take a diligent ongoing effort, not campaign based initiatives. Delivering a carefully crafted marketing message is not the goal, but an honest depiction of your company should be. We can all tell a polished sales pitch from a mile away and lies on the web only encourage research buyers to uncover them.
- Customer service will rule the day. See #2. Being better at customer relationships and vendor relationships is more important than ever before. It is now more directly tied to your public image and is researchable to those who care to look. How you interact with others is the now the foundation of your marketing strategy – whether you like it or not.
- Buyers want to be treated as unique people not as a member of group B from a market research study. Change how you reach out. Connect through conversations. People do business with people. Nobody cares about what you can do until you explain how they can use what you do to help them with the issue they are facing today.
As CEO’s, we need to understand the opportunities and the pitfalls of online marketing. Once we wade through the hype, the fundamentals are still there – deliver for you customers and deliver to you prospects.