Category Archives: B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing Awards 2012 – the crème de la crème of B2B Marketing

The greatest B2B Marketing event any B2B marketer should find time to attend; that is the B2B Marketing Awards. I was really proud to be part of this fantastic event not only from a marketer’s point view, but as a Judge and also handing out an award during the evening.

At this year’s awards it was nice to see the crème de la crème of B2B marketing on offer, amongst the winners on the night were some huge brands along with lesser known SMB brands, which just goes to show that the awards is all encompassing. You don’t have to spend mega bucks on a campaign or programme to enter in order to win at the B2B Marketing awards, it is more about getting that creative, objectives, strategy and results right. This was my second year as a judge on the awards, my first tenure was back in 2009 and I can categorically say that the submissions for this year’s awards have come on leaps and bounds in terms of the quality of submissions. The professionalism and creatives produced were amazing, who said B2B marketing can’t be as creative as B2C, if not better!

As a digital marketer my favourite categories on the night were;

  • Best Use of Digital Techniques or Technologies – WINNER
    ‘King’s Cross – Alive like never before’ for King’s Cross (Argent) by Billington Cartmell,
  • Best Use of Social Media – WINNER ‘Luv the nug’ for Scotsman Ice by Gyro Cincinatti
  • Best Use of Content Marketing – WINNER ‘Banking 20|20’ for Cable & Wireless Worldwide by The Channel Partnership
  • Best Website – WINNER ‘British Gas – Energy made simple’ for British Gas Business by Rufus Leonard

The full list of winners can be viewed here.

As always Joel Harrison and his team put on a fantastic event, this is most definitely the one night of the year you can’t miss for catching up with old friends and past colleagues along with making new acquiesces within B2B Marketing. My highlights from this year’s awards has to be meeting up with people I know, going on the dodgems, the photo booth – see B2B Marketing Facebook page for the hilarious shots and of course the after show party at Proud Cabaret.

If you fancy picking up an award a next year’s ceremony, then start thinking about the fantastic campaigns and programmes you been running from May 2012 and planned campaigns up until April 2013 you can enter for the 2013 awards. To help you get your 2013 submission right, why not register to attend the 2012 Awards Showcase on 5 March 2013? Good luck!

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How essential it is that B2B businesses get social media and become a social business?

On my quest for social media knowledge and learning I continue to attend lots of social media events, most recently SMWF Europe. After attending many sessions it sprung to mind that although there is still a lot of buzz around social media, most businesses are not truly utilising this channel. I hope that the following piece on social business may resonate with you to take action within your organisation and start your own social business journey.

Social media to become a ubiquitous business tool

Just as email has become a ubiquitous business tool so will social media in the coming years, therefore it is imperative that businesses take notice of social media. When I first started my digital career at Hyundai back in 1997, I was the only person within the organisation that had an email account and access to the Internet. Gradually over time more people were provided with an email account and Internet access and nowadays it’s expected you would have access or you cease to be efficient and effective in your work. This may seen completely alien for those who are generation Y, but this was the case in the late 90s early 00s. To some extent social media is seeing this restrictive access within organisations, where only certain people in certain business functions are encouraged, or in fact provided, with access to use social channels in their every day work.  Without full social media access for all employees within an organisation you can’t expect to develop a social business.

Today we see a lot of organisations blocking the use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter within the corporate network. This dictatorial attitude only forces employees to use other methods of accessing these sites bypassing the secure corporate network and accessing social media via their own tablets or mobile devices. It is far better for an organisation to instil social media best practice and governance than it is to demonise social media and drive employees off the network.

Social business a possibility

Businesses need to realise that being social is not about your organisation having a social media presence just for the brand, but that it means empowering employees to use social media in their every day roles to influence, engage and join in conversations about business needs and opportunities. This is what leads to a social business. There are very few businesses that can truly say they are a “social business”; the businesses that spring to mind that are truly social are those who have built their businesses on social technologies; for example Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to mention a few. If businesses choose to always do what they have always done, then they can only ever expect to get the same results. Businesses should ultimately look to achieve being a social business within three to five years. The first step would be to look at social media as a new communication channel, which opens up new opportunities for businesses. Gone are the days where marketing is used in the traditional sense, and classed as a cost centre function. Marketing now needs to prove itself and show return on investment, a contribution to the bottom line and add value to sales pipeline. Social marketing allows for greater engagement in the buyers journey along with assisting the humanisation of brands. Next step is empowering your employees to be your brand advocates and utilise the social channels in their everyday work. Finally encourage your customers to actively be social with you and engage and leverage your content for their benefit.

Plenty of research has taken place over the years that says people don’t form relationships with brands, they form relationships with people. Social media accelerates the formation and depth of relationships by enabling quicker communication and sharing amongst their individual networks. If your employees are not allowed to use the social channels in their every day work then they are limiting their marketing effectiveness in this fast changing social world. So, what are you waiting for? Make a plan to pilot social media within your organisation. Enjoy and good luck!

I spoke about this at the recent IDM Knowledge & Networking event “Meet the socially skilled business marketer” on 19 April 2012 in London.

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VIDEO: Vital statistics for every B2B marketer inc. B2B Social Media stats

Vital statistics for every B2B marketer inc. B2B Social Media stats

Earnest would like you to use and abuse at your leisure… where possible the agency has tried to accurately cite the source and provide a link to the site where it came across the research. Here’s the references for this video. Enjoy!

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The 3rd B2B Barometer® Report reveals new confidence amongst B2B marketers

The third in a series of market surveys carried out by B2B specialist research agency Circle Research and supported by ABBA and the Institute of Direct Marketing, has revealed exciting, positive changes in the market over a six month period. The B2B Barometer provides a factual marketing perspective on how B2B companies are reacting to changes in the market.

The latest B2B Barometer survey of around 120 B2B Marketers and Agencies (FREE to download at www.b2bbarometer.co.uk) shows that optimism is building in the B2B sector, with the majority of agencies and marketers revealing rising revenues and improved future growth prospects. In addition 41% of the client marketing professionals reported larger marketing budgets for the next year, but 59% of the agencies surveyed reported a decline in the quality of enquiries and 30% of the agency sample actually experienced declining revenue. It has provided a true measure of what is happening to business markets and will certainly help both clients and agencies make future decisions based on real peer-to-peer information.

Debbie Williams, Chair of the IDM B2B Council, said, “The B2B market place is a real barometer of what’s happening in business. it is often very difficult for companies and agencies to keep pace with the latest market trends and this series of surveys has proven to be a valuable measure for B2B agencies and marketers. Some very interesting facts about social media and its relevance have been unearthed. I am delighted to be associated with this unique and ongoing survey programme.

Social media is declining
Just 28% of B2B marketing respondents actually had a strategy in place for Social Media. Many of the remaining group are beginning to question its relevance to the B2B sector. However, 86% still insist that spending on social media will increase over the next twelve months. An interesting fact is that 70% of client side organisations still have no social media strategy in place, which is a 7% increase from the last B2B Barometer survey in December 2009. A key issue for client marketers would appear to be the measurement of results, with 79% of those polled indicating that no actual measurement of social media activities was taking place, though 64% of the group believed it was possible!
Key factors for B2B Marketers and agencies
Many of the professionals surveyed were anxious to increase two way communication with their clients, and build on customer relationships. It was believed that email marketing could be a more effective tool in relationship marketing.

Data raised its head yet again as a critical factor and all those surveyed were in agreement that accuracy and quality in data were critical factors in B2B Marketing.

Measurement was again highlighted as a critical area for attention. Suggestions indicated that more integrated systems and better sales force alignment was required to make ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) more effective. Only 43% of client side respondents actually measured ROMI and the metrics used were the ‘easiest’ to gather rather than those which would have the greatest benefit for the business.
An executive summary of findings has been published at http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk. To find out more about B2B marketing budgets, key trends and insights into the social media phenomenon – including how project fees are calculated and how the impact on reputation is managed please visit www.b2bbarometer.co.uk The new report will be available shortly in PDF format for FREE download direct from the site. Copies of the original benchmark study and the second survey are also
available for download.

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IDM Content Marketing Experiment: B2B Social Media Opportunities and Threats

The IDM is currently running a content marketing experiment today, there’s quite a few articles written by thought leading B2B marketers on a range of subjects. Check out John Bottom’s article on B2B social media opportunbities and threats. Here’s my thoughts on the B2B social media research conducted:

“Great synopsis regarding the future of social media from some senior B2B marketers. For me the main opportunity is social media opens up a new two way communication channel with customers, prospects, brand enthusiasts and influencers that transcend all parts of the business from marketing to sales to customer service. Although, I do think the main threat to social media is where it should live within an organisation, what function should take charge of social media? PR, Marketing, Customer Service, Legal etc? Whilst this is still undecided organisations are often running many diverse social media strategies or should I say social media tactics, which aren’t in sync with the brand messaging and goals and are often fragmented diluting the effort put into social media to create engagement.”

What do you think the B2B social media opportubities and threats are? Post your comments on my blog or on the main IDM page.

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Top 10 B2B Social Media Tips

I recently presented a B2B Social Media case study at a recent B2B Marketing training workshop on “Create the best social media strategy for your business” during the session I shared my top 10 B2B social media tips with the delegates. So, here’s a summary taken from my own experience of running integrated B2B social media campaigns:

  1. Understand – in order to truly understand social media you need to be actively participating in the medium. As digital marketers you should be able to market and create your own personal brand presence within the major social networking sites. Being active in social media will help you understand the opportunities and limitations of social media.
  2. Purpose – before rushing full steam ahead with a social media strategy, stop and think about your purpose. Are you using social media for awareness, brand engagement, research, crowd sourcing ideas, listening to customers or watching your competitors? You need to be clear on your objective before starting out.
  3. Research – so you now understand social media and have your purpose identified, you now need to identify your audience and where they are. Please don’t start with technology first, as you will fail. Your audience may not be active in Facebook or Twitter, your top influencers may be in a niche social network or discussion forum. Hence you need research to identify this. I would recommend that you spend at least 4 weeks in this stage of your social media planning.
  4. Resource – social media campaigns won’t succeed unless you invest in resource, to be successful you need to allocate resource to execute the campaign either by allocating someone internally to manage your social media or commissioning an agency to develop and create your campaigns.
  5. Sponsor – for social media to succeed within an organisation there needs to be an executive sponsor who really understands the benefits of social media and drives through social media organisational change without this you won’t get the organisation to commit to social media.
  6. Plan – make sure you create a social media plan before starting your social media campaign, including how your are going to measure and monitoring the campaign. Your measurement goal and social media monitoring software should be in place and tested before the inital pilot project is launched.
  7. Pilot – start off with a social media pilot; initiate a small project once successful then plan out a more advanced social media strategy. Always allocate about 20% of your project time to pilot new techniques as you find them so that your social media presence evolves over time.
  8. Test, test and more testing – it is so important to test and refine your social media campaigns, don’t just let your campaign run on its own, continue to test and make adjustments to obtain the best results.
  9. Integrated – don’t run your social media as separate campaigns, to get the best out of your campaign integrate with your other digital outputs.
  10. Investment – contrary to what most people believe social media is not FREE. Yes, it is free to open an account on most social networks, but in order to create engagement you need to invest in appropriate content creation for your target audience, for example, video, premium content, competitions, games etc.

If you found these tips really useful and wnat to hear more I’ll be presenting some of my B2B social media case studies and offering advice at the forthingc B2B Marketing Magazine’s seminar: Create the best social media strategy for your business.

For my latest digital finds and thoughts, why not follow me: @zoe9?

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