Three B2B Marketing trends have surfaced during my travels in the past few months that are worth sharing with you as we move deeper into 2010.
The first is that the overwhelming majority of marketers I am speaking with are thinking of social media marketing as something separate and distinct from the rest of their corporate marketing plans. I don’t believe this is being done intentionally, it’s just happening. We saw this same thing (and still do to some extent) happen when companies were first considering how to begin marketing on the internet.
While this approach may work on a small scale for a limited time, to realize the full benefits the social web has to offer your B2B marketing, your social media marketing needs to be integrated with your overall marketing plan and targeted to specific buyer personas. It needs to share the same overarching goals, share the same voice, and most importantly, share the same performance metrics. Thinking of it separately will not be giving it the attention it deserves (and the resources it needs) to truly help you realize its benefits.
Resources, that’s the second trend, B2B marketers are underestimating the amount of time and resources necessary to integrate social media and content marketing with their overall marketing plan. While the majority of social media tools and web sites are free to use, they all take time to manage. Lots of it. A blog can be especially time consuming due to the writing involved (at the same time though, it can be the most rewarding). My advice, prioritize and start small. But start, please start, as the benefits are far too great to ignore and to wait until you have all the available resources on staff.
The third and final trend is the continued finite “marketing campaign” thinking rather than regular, ongoing content production for social media and content marketing efforts. In essence with social media and content marketing, the job is never done. There is always something next on the schedule (or at least there should be). This is a very important shift in thinking for a variety of reasons, though to me the most important is staffing. My prediction is that many of the people who lost their jobs in the print publishing industry will begin finding their way into the marketing departments of tomorrow.
So let me summarize the three trends into actions for you:
- Integrate (don’t separate) your B2B social media marketing with your existing corporate marketing plans.
- Add a factor of 10-15% when estimating your resource requirements (both time and labor).
- Ensure the next person you hire in your marketing department can write on a deadline.
Are you seeing or experiencing these trends? Are there other trends you are working to avoid? Let us know in the comments and together we can work through them.