(Denver, Colorado) The world’s largest network of independent marketing communications agencies, Worldwide Partners, Inc. (WPI) with 87 agencies in 54 countries, representing $3.4 billion U.S. in capitalized billings, recently launched a specialized B2B network to better serve B2B clients around the globe, The Worldwide Partners B2B Network. The Worldwide Partners B2B Network is the world’s largest dedicated B2B network with 34 B2B partner agencies in 20 countries with $1 billion U.S. under management. Drawing on the expertise of several of the B2B partner agencies, such Wächter & Wächter Worldwide Partners, Germany; Godfrey, Pennsylvania; Traction Creative, Canada; and Carton Donofrio & Partners in Baltimore; WPI offers insights on maximizing B2B social media marketing – utilizing consumer knowledge.
Go With Goals.
Ingrid Wächter-Lauppe, of Wächter & Wächter Worldwide Partners in Germany,
stresses the importance of defining the goals of a B2B social media campaign. “Define your goals,” Wächter-Lauppe urges. “Define your target group, then find them and listen to them. And be sure to define the measurements you’ll be using.”
Wächter-Lauppe goes on to explain that the choice of B2B social media differs from B2C because of the need to create trust with the right content. “The B2B buying cycle is long and complex in comparison with most B2C cycles,“ she says. “To gain and retain trust is key and the social media recommendations are different. Facebook is less important. LinkedIN, Xing, Blogs and Forums as well as Youtube are better for reaching goals like thought leadership, improving SEO rankings, creating web traffic, getting feedback and lead generation.”
“Include customer loyalty in the marketing goals,” suggests Melissa Zane of Godfrey. "Set benchmarks and get feedback.”
“As part of your goal setting, remember to integrate social media in your business plan and strategy,” Wächter-Lauppe concludes.
Branding Is Better.
“Invest in the future and help position your organization in your audience's mind,” states Jeff Lucas, of Traction Creative. “If you are not actively doing it your audience may still have perceptions – but they may not be favourable.”
“Monitor word of mouth,” is how Zane puts it. “Practice branding discipline in B2B just as you would in B2C.”
Sell To The Individual.
“In all B2B communications, it’s important to recognize that, in the end, we are selling to people – not entities,” urges Zane. “Create emotionally-driven messages to reach that individual within the business,” she continues. “It pays off to go beyond sterile, company-centric messages. Communicate one-on-one using specifics as in segmented email campaigns based on specific browsing behaviors.”
Invest And Test.
“It’s important to assign people, budgets and time to B2B social media,” asserts Wächter-Lauppe. “And along with resources, you need to empower your employees to make it a success, even as you allow yourself to be patient with these efforts.”
“Extensive testing and measurement will allow you to dive deeper into individual behavior,” states Zane. “Examine multiple points of contact; connect Web analytics to the marketing program to monitor on-site behavior generated by each tactic. Use surveys to clarify buying behaviors. Use marketing-automation technology as in real-time data mining to enable personalized offers.”
Jeff Lucas of Traction Creative says, “Test different messages within each campaign. Programs tend to be smaller in scale and organizations can test different messaging to determine which tone generates a better lift.”
Make It Multiple.
“Market through multiple channels,” says Zane. “Consider social communities, smart phones and the like.”
Although there are many who make assumptions about what B2C can teach B2B marketers, Jamie Rice of Carton Donofrio & Partners in Baltimore, explains that B2C marketers can learn a lot from their B2B colleagues. “B2B marketers have always had to deal with multiple message channels, influencers and complex decision processes. That discipline of looking at the whole decision process and multiple influencers is something that needs to be translated to the way consumers are buying (with peer influence and checking experts – like B2B marketers have always done).”