Forget B2B or B2C and Focus on BwB or BwC Instead ~guest post via @BLichtenwalner




The terms “Business to Business” (B2B) and “Business to Consumer” (B2C) are outdated. These terms imply your business is doing something to a customer. That may be how business was conducted decades ago, but it’s always been better – and is now necessary – to conduct business with your customer. Business to a customer is a transaction. Business with a customer is a relationship.Whether your customer is a business or a consumer, they prefer a relationship over a transaction.

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4 Social Media Platforms to Empower Your Employees


Who knows your business as well (if not better) than you do? The people who work in your business, of course! And I’m not talking about a sales staff. I’m talking about your nuts-and-bolts employees who know the everyday ins and outs, whether they work with your customers, handle inventory or do the behind-the-scenes work that helps run your company. In today’s socially-connected world, employees are often an untapped resource that (with a little guidance) could exponentially expand your company’s word-of-mouth reach. Empower them so they can power your business.

Your employees can use these four social platforms to help spread the word about your company:

1. LinkedIn

 Especially if your company is B2B, have a company profile on LinkedIn, and encourage all employees to have personal profiles that link them to your company. Each person has talents and skills they contribute to your business that could be highlighted with your company’s keywords in each employee’s summary and experience areas. LinkedIn Recommendations can also increase your company’s visibility in the channel.

Ask employees to join groups where they can share their insights and answer questions.

2. Facebook

 If you have a business page on Facebook, have employees link to it in the “About” section of their profiles. Also, set up a private group where your employees can collaborate. Seek out groups that fit your company niche and encourage employees to join; not to SPAM others with your messaging, but to find ways to contribute, answer questions, share expertise, etc.

3. Twitter

 Twitter is a great place to provide an extra level of customer service that goes beyond your own company brand on Twitter. People-to-people interaction gives your brand a more human touch. Each person can actively “listen” for company mentions, questions and conversation around keywords and jump into the conversation where appropriate—even if it’s just to thank someone for mentioning or Retweeting your brand. Encourage employees to share Tweets around your company’s activities and content. Come up with a company hashtag or a series of hashtags (e.g. #companyname, #companyevent) and pre-craft Tweets to make it easy. They can just cut and paste to share on their Twitter feed.

4. Instagram

 Even if you don’t have a photogenic product, your employees with smartphones can still spread positive messaging about your company with Instagram. From photos of the lunchroom, to customer gatherings to company events, there are many ways your employees can pull in prospects with images.

Hashtags can now be used and tracked on all four of these platforms.

A little encouragement goes a long way!

Set some formal guidelines, keeping in mind that if you clamp down too hard, employees may back away from participating. Offer in-house social training, led by your best in-house and local experts. Provide incentive programs to reward the employees who provide the most relevant ideas and responses.

Remember that your employees are your company’s best resource—make the most of their passion and individuality. They’re already social, so start thinking of how you can empower your employees to have their own voice, and you will discover many can and will become your company’s most active and valuable social advocates.

Originally published October 2, 2013 at salesforce Blog

How to Become a B2B Social Sales Machine

Social adoption rates are rocketing and the impact of social networking within society continues to grow. But surprisingly enough, there are many in the business to business marketing sphere who still don’t “get” it. With this in mind I recently put together a fast moving and to the point keynote presentation to open the eyes of B2B salesforces and socially energize them!

“Becoming a B2B Social Sales Machine” in simple, sales oriented terms explains what the B2B social networking sales opportunity means. Sharing how both individuals and ultimately the combined organization can leverage content, connections, context, collaboration and community to drive real results!

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The Content “IS” the Ad

1There’s a lot of angst in marketing land right now. With Google’s Panda and Penguin changes and social algorithms that favor engagement, it may look as though SEO is dead, or that traditional ads will soon be going the way of the dodo. What’s a marketer to think? Are we supposed to throw out everything we learned about marketing and advertising to date and learn to ride a new horse? How the heck are we supposed to get in front of customers now?

Well, things ARE changing. Traditional advertising isn’t yet extinct, but there is simply too much noise out there, and people are sick of it. They’re shutting out the blast advertising that has crept into every aspect of their lives and centering in on the things they truly care about—friends, family, and social connections. You need to take a step back and study this shift in order to take advantage of it.

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Lead Generation Continues To Challenge B2B CMOs

B2B customers have become more independent buyers in the procurement process as a result of their increasing access to information, research and peer-recommendations.  In fact, this modern buyer is something of an enigma to B2B vendors.   Traditional lead generation efforts such as trade show and publication advertising, direct mail, email, etc. are decreasing in effectiveness. Lead generation through social marketing has received much hype yet case studies demonstrating real bottom-line impact are still few and far between. How does one capture their attention (and wallet-share) in an environment where competition has surpassed competitive vendors to include the increasing availability of information and perception driven by customers and non-customers alike?

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Curiosity May Have Killed The Cat But Complacency Will Kill The Marketer

Recently I told you of the One Quarter Of American Consumers (who) Are Brand Loyal. That indeed is a very telling statistic which came from a survey conducted by Ernst & Young. Today comes the results of another survey, this one done jointly by Acxiom and Loyalty360, which sheds some light on why so few consumers are brand loyal. And it all comes to down one word.

com·pla·cen·cy – a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger

I give you exhibit A:



That’s right boys and girls, 60% of all the respondents – who were comprised of executives in both B2B and B2C companies from a cross section of industries, dedicate less than 20% of their marketing budget to customer retention.

See where I’m going here with the whole “complacency” thing?

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B2B Storytelling Case Study: Some Ideas Take Off In Unexpected Ways

I’m in the idea business. As a senior creative director and partner at a B2B marketing agency, I work at creative ideation and storytelling as it relates to branding and content marketing.

Every once in a while, when I have a really wild idea I think may have no chance of flying, I’m reminded of a story I was once told. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it.

Barbershop-to-Biplanes: A tall tale turns out to be a true story

I don’t remember his name, but I will never forget him. One summer during a break from college, I was working as a physical therapy assistant at a rehab facility when I met this interesting old guy with a great story. He was a patient recovering from a stroke, and he told me the tale while I was helping him exercise one day.

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B2C vs B2B Marketing: Do the Differences Really Matter?

As a professional marketer, you have to know your customers and what motivates them to make a purchasing decision. But are the buyers of products and services in the B2C world really that much different from their counterparts in the B2B world?

The primary differences between B2C and B2B marketing are derived from the emotional perspectives of the buyers. Often, the consumer is focused on quality, comfort, and price, while the business buyer is concerned with increasing profits for his/her company.

“As a general rule, B2B marketing relies more heavily on rational–rather than emotional–product or service benefits,” said Kim Hennig, a B2C marketing veteran and principal of Kim Hennig Marketing, who has delivered record sales, award-winning advertising, and profitable marketing plans for some of the nation’s best-known brands, including McDonald’s, 1-800-Flowers, and Subway. “This is certainly not to say that the business buyer doesn’t have emotional connections to the brands he or she purchases, but there is a far greater need to justify how the features or benefits of a product will have a demonstrable impact on the company’s bottom line.”

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B2B marketing without creative has no punch

The purpose of this post isn’t to argue the merits of inbound marketing with creative content. I believe that any B2B marketing professional still debating against that is probably not open to the points I want to make.
Since I speak as senior creative director, you may be surprised at how broadly I apply the word “creative” to B2B marketing. I think every part of the process, from assessment of an opportunity or problem, to the formulation of a strategy and budget, to the creative development of messaging and imagery, to the way your story is told all benefit from being more creative.

Fight for your right to be more creative.

Quite a few years ago, I was introduced to an assistant general manager of a client’s field office by one of their marketing directors. She mentioned I was a creative from the ad agency and, as we shook hands, he said,“Oh yeah, you guys are the ones that do all our fluffy stuff!”

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Peeling Away The Layers

By nature, I am an analytical person. Growing up, I was that kid in class that was constantly raising his hand, asking more questions and wanting to understand why. I haven’t changed.

Lee Odden of TopRank (a personal favorite blog), wrote a great article this week titled, Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media?

It really got me thinking. It brought back to mind a wonderful metaphor I learned over 10 years ago during Franklin Covey’s Helping Clients Succeed™ Consultative Sales Training program. It goes something like this.

In helping clients, before providing a solution, you need to discover the core of the problem. It’s typically something that is most shielded from view or not yet revealed (the core). As you peeling away each layer (by continually asking, “Why?”), you learn each of the surface issues until ultimately you are led to the deeper truth revealed at the core. The root cause of the problem.

In Lee’s article, Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media?, he identified a number of the issues (layers of the onion):

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