Not a week goes by without the publication of findings from another study or survey confirming the growing reach of Social Media channels. Latest in this series is findings by NielsenWire. As per this study, “global consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from the same time last year”. This study further highlights that “Consumers in the U.S. continue to spend more time on social networking sites as well, with total minutes increasing 210% year-over-year and the average time per person increasing 143% year-over-year in December 2009. Year-over-year growth in average time spent by U.S. users, for both Facebook and Twitter.com, outpaced the overall growth for the category, increasing 200% and 368%, respectively” (for more see this link).
They called it the “Pizza Turnaround.”
The Bazaarvoice Pizza ThrowdownTaste tests and focus groups had execs at Domino’s Pizza cringing as unhappy pizzaphiles gave brutally honest feedback on the taste of their pizza. Domino’s executives had a choice to make: go about their business – as many brands would – or learn from this negative feedback and change their 50 year old recipe.
If you take time to look around, you will see that Social Media is being discussed and/or utilized almost every place you look. So as I was thinking about all of this the other day, I began to wonder what impact Social Media will have on high school or college reunions in the coming years.
It is my thinking that the past objective and main reason for wanting to attend such reunions has been to — “catch up” with old classmates and friends and to rekindle old relationships.
A couple of weeks ago, I identified three recurring b2b marketing trends and I shared them with you in this post, Three B2B Marketing Trends (To Avoid). Today, I introduce you to something you are more than likely already intimately familiar with, I am calling it, The B2B Marketers Dilemma. Here it is.
Am I right? Pretty close I bet. Quite frankly, if you are a B2B marketer, I think you have the most difficult job in the organization right now. You are likely championing your company’s B2B social marketing media efforts, while at the same time thinking the best approach would be for the entire organization to be asking itself, “how do we become a social business?” Not just, “how do we set up a Facebook Fan page?” If the former were the case, you could spend your time in a more meaningful way than convincing everyone a negative comment on a blog won’t kill you.
The reality is though, you are having to fight that fight, and to me that is just one of the reasons why your job as a B2B marketer is so challenging. But moving beyond those discussions, your most important work is in solving this dilemma for your organization. It’s vital to your success not only as a company, but also as a B2B social media and content marketing professional.
So how do you do it? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Reassess all your spending from a buyer persona perspective versus “target audience” – When you have well developed buyer personas for the people involved in your buying process (notice I am not saying sales cycle), you know them intimately. You know their online habits, their daily struggles, their education level and much more. Once you get this close to your buyers, you find an entirely different point of view to assess where and how you are spending your marketing and advertising budgets to reach them.
- Evaluate the structure and roles of your marketing department – When marketing is changing as rapidly and radically as it is today, new thinking in required. Now, I’m not talking about “new thinking” in the sense that you need to come up with some new breakthrough, magical formula. I simply mean looking at the old way of doing things with a 2010 mindset. Apply critical thinking and develop better methods to serve your needs now and in the future. This covers not only evaluating the skill sets of the people working for you, but also their job descriptions and operational responsibilities. Build your department to support ongoing content creation.
- Talent matters, it’s time to evaluate yours – Gone are the days when you leave someone on your team, “because they have been with the company for so long,” or whatever other reason you may be making for an under performer. In the new world of B2B social media and content marketing, each and every person on your team needs to contribute, every day. If they have the talent, but not the skills, invest in training and help them grow professionally.
- Outsource – I’ve long been a proponent of outsourcing because of its ability to allow an organization to stay focused on it core competency. The same benefits hold true for b2b social media and content marketing. So whether it be outsourcing the creation of a video, white paper, or hiring a writer or editor for your blog, these are sound business decisions and one you should consider if you are understaffed.
There you have it, a few suggestions to get you started solving the B2B marketers dilemma. Ultimately though, what lies ahead in solving this dilemma is transformation, renewal, and hard work (lots of it). But don’t let that prevent you from pressing on. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your b2b social media and content marketing strategy and execution.
Kindly share some of your ideas in the comments on how we can help each other solve The B2B Marketers Dilemma.
I was recently asked to lead a Round Table at Humber College PR’s Personal Brand Camp here in Toronto. Participants included University post-graduate students taking a one year Certificate Program in PR, with an emphasis on Social Media. My assigned discussion topic was, “What are simple Social Media Routines I can use to Build my Personal Brand.”
Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not a techie. While I adore the instant access to info and the joys of power sharing on the Internet, I’m hardly a guru when it comes to SEO and SMO optimization. Plus, my personal use of Social Media is so heavily focussed on Twitter, that my LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook (I’ve already folded MySpace) languish, sporadically tended to and virtually ignored.
It’s been an interesting week, to say the least.
In a lot of ways, we all just pulled each other up to a new frequency, I think. We’ve been sharing our ideas and perspectives of our personal discoveries for a while now, and all of a sudden all these perspectives assembled into an insight that helped me understand why the human network is so important, and why building a personal ‘trust network’ is critical for moving forward in society. (For anyone new here, check out An Idea Worth Spreading post and comment thread as an orientation to this site and the thinking going on here.)
So the past few days have been spent thinking about what just happened, and how we can keep doing it.
There are few things we value more than winning. From t-ball, to spelling bees, to the professional sports franchise we personally adopt, nothing matches the thrill of finishing on top. It impacts self-image, the way we relate to those around us, and even commerce. (Ask the folks in New Orleans about victory’s impact on the economy and psyche of an entire region.)
While it’s tempting to go off on the relative value (or absence, thereof) of a distorted focus on winning when it comes to pre and elementary school ranks, that’s a debate for another day. For today, as calls for collaboration, compromise and new solutions echo from boardrooms, C-suites and strategy sessions, a compulsion to win may be one of the greatest barriers to progress.
Here’s the question: is collaboration possible when everyone at the table is driven to win?
No matter the venue – political, personal or business — when winning is the measure of success, the interaction resembles more an effort to convert than a commitment to collaborate. When leadership is measured in terms of litmus tests, compromise is difficult. And in the context of unwavering agendas, true compromise is impossible.
Any of us hoping for compromise, not to mention sincerely wanting to collaborate — from political leader to C-Suite management – might do well to take a quick look at the definitions of compromise and collaborate.
And then check that drive to win at the door.
Our world is made up of silos.
People seem to instinctively create barriers around what they feel is their territory and so a silo is formed. Many people also feel the need to classify everyone and everything mentally tossing it into the bucket or silo where they think the person, thing or idea belongs.
Whether due to demonstrating personal power or simply for mental convenience, our instinctive urge to build a silo, or pop everything and everyone into one, inhibits both communication and performance.
And both of these actions divide us.
Silos inside companies, between companies, silos of nation, of class, of race, of religion, of politics and of sex have led us to today’s uneasy stalemate of apathy and inertia.
Living among these silos and allowing them to instantaneously limit our thoughts and actions as well as our perceived ability to create any change has in itself become a self fulfilling prophecy.
By so suppressing our urge to speak and the belief that anyone is listening, these silos have also effectively taken away our voice.
Social media gives us back our voice.
As employees, consumers and citizens the first thing we must do with this emerging communications ability is break down the silos.
Smashing the silos inside and between companies and interacting dynamically with employees, customers and suppliers with a single focus on goals through social media will determine which companies will thrive in the future verus those that will die along with the siloized past.
Effective communication mobilized into action is the key capability that has gone missing in our world and this competence can now be restored utilizing social media as the catalyst for change.
Every now and then it is important to take a personal inventory of your skills and abilities. I don’t mean an end of the year surface-level, quick, “hey, I’m great” type of thing. I’m talking about an honest, candid evaluation of yourself as a leader. A deep look inside.
Every time I have done this over the years, I also ask myself, “What skills do I need to develop to be more successful in the future?” There are four must have leadership skills on my list this year. They are:
Long gone are the days of being dependent on your doctor for medical information. A new Pew internet study on ‘The Social Life of Health Information’ cites data that states that in 2000, 46% of American adults had access to the internet. Now, 61% of all American adults look for health information online. This fundamental shift in our habits has revolutionized access to health information. People with worrying or embarrassing symptoms now often turn to the plethora of medical advice sites before presenting their symptoms to a physician, if they do so at all. This has led to claims by many physicians that people are being misled or inaccurately trying to ‘self-diagnose’, especially those lacking adequate insurance coverage.