For years, I have been working in the B2B industry and have looked, maybe a bit envious, at those friends who were working for BMW, MINI, Red Bull, LVHM, going to fancy parties with the guys from GQ, or those who enjoyed other sexy lifestyle moments out there in the B2C universe. When I was telling stories about B2B channel strategies, brand campaigns of mainframe providers, B2B community communication, and even if it was around web TV in the year 2000 and around brands like IBM, HP, Intel or Avaya, nobody seemed to be excited about B2B marketing the way I was. Not many eyes smiling (only with a sense of sympathy maybe). Not many questions were raised or asked. Not much fun.
Being a B2B marketer can be a challenging and somehow self-motivating task. But there are reason why I have never lost the energy in being one. And the funny thing with user-generated content and storytelling is that I do not even have to write why I do what I do (maybe good and bad that is). I just had to listen to those like-minded souls out there on Twitter, expressing their inner feelings and their drive for the fun in a B2B world.
Dough Kessler really took his approach to “The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing” but I would sign this for my career as well… and just have to curate his great presentation in order to make people understand my career and my B2B marketing story.
Whether you use hashtags “#” or not, they have made their history since first introduced in 2007 by Twitter. They became the filter, not only for Twitter – also for special topics, for branding, for trends, and for what not.
Although many people ignored hashtags from the beginning on the social platform, they find more and more acceptance today, now that people know why they are in the world of social web communication. Their real increase in use cam with the year 2009, when the 140 character network decided automatically linking anything preceded by the pound sign.
Nowadays, if you want to get retweets, you better use hashtags as these tweets are 55% more likely to be shared than those without any #. Even Google+, Facebook, Instagram or Vine have started to accept the hashtag value. And Offerpop now introduced an interesting infographic which shows the history of the hashtag.
PS: Interesting to see that more people use hashtags on their mobiles than on their laptops or desktops. Mobile information is consumed in short time periods, so you better make sure people grab your information when they jump on the bus, the train or at a break at an event. Hashtags are the access keys!
According to a recent “2013 Social Media Survey” by Proboards the interactive communication preferences across platforms are still heading towards forums. Although you might think that they asked their own users (which is probably right), the survey still shows the importance of forums and communities. For their results the company promoted the research toover 150 respondents via Facebook, Twitter, and the ProBoards customer support forum.
The study claims that online forums are still popular. What was interesting for me to see is that they were even preferred compared to social media platform for interactive communication. Two out of three respondents (67%) stated that forums were the social media tool they found most valuable. Obviously, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Google+ follow but the question here could be asked whether most people realize that all these platforms are also forums if used in the right way. That LinkedIn did not figure in as a significant social media tool is in my eyes not correct as the forums there within, are very powerful and interactive, plus they generate very valueable input for managers.
“The survey results do not surprise us since platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not give you the level of control that forums do,” said Patrick Clinger, founder and CEO of ProBoards. “Forums provide greater customization and more options…”
Forums -although we would define them as communities according to our Community Centric Strategy- offer a great way of engaged communication, and probably with better and deeper quality than any other social network. There is more information in the infographic attached…
There are many rumors how the Baby Boomers might deal with Millenials (GenY) in the workplace. We have shared some serious advice based on different studies on how Baby Boomers have to see and understand them, what drives the millenial teenager, how they see the future workplace, and why they might cause a headache for IT decision-makers with their BYOD trend. And you might read a recent report from Georgia Institute of Technology and the International Telecommunication Union which illustrates that there a digital native not always is what he or she seems to be, although they love their smartphones and the digital chat.
Still, many managers ask us what they could do to make their workplace interesting for this mobile and networking generation. It is time that someone gives us some more clear and fresh advice, on how to deal with the Millenials in the workplace today. This training video might be of help for those that have not yet met the expectations of those young geeks.
However, reflections often turn rumors into reality. So, what are Baby Boomers doing when the GenY strikes back and gives some response with a “Guide to Baby Boomers”?
The easiest way to bridge the gap between these two generations is to bring them together at one table and let both sides give their real pitch on how they can meet half way. Just do it, and when you need advice on how to moderate it, just get in touch with us. We have done moderations between these parties in different projects.
PS: Don’t take these videos too serious. You might fail…!
In many seminars I have been asked this question and hey, the guys from ExactTarget CoTweet have given an answer some months ago: What annoys people when they follow brands on the social web, and what makes them like brands? Discounts we knew it. Well, if you still think it is the frequency and too many updates on promotions, you might be right but it is coming worse.
Just imagine you publish a status update that carries some wording in poor typo or, even worse, a grammar mistake. If you read this infographic, you might get the impression that sending out hundreds of status updates asking people to go in shops, to buy tech gadgets, or tell them to buy those online, makes people not turn away from loving your brand. It is actually not that bad, it seems…
However, if you loose the appropriate tonality in your social accounts and a certain kind of quality control gets lost like poor spelling mistakes, then your brand might face a challenge in terms of reputation and followership.
“A lot of people talk about the need for brands to be less formal when they communicate through social media, but this survey shows that there is a danger in letting standards slip too far.” Lance Concannon, Director of Disruptive Communications.
“The findings also illustrate that you can’t take a one-size fits all approach in social media. Younger consumers clearly have different expectations and priorities – overall people said that not posting updates frequently enough wasn’t a major concern for them, but the 18- to 24-year-olds listed it as their most important issue”, says Concannon whose company put together the infographic.
How about you? What do you think annoys people when brands are on social media. Maybe it still is your hundreds of status updates on a day?
They are on increasingly on Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and Youtube (69%): Fortune 500 companies. However, in terms of blogs (34%), Google+ (35%) or Pinterest (9%) they seem to be a bit behind or not seeing the value. And the report obviously forgot to look at LinkedIn. This is the findings of one of the latest research pieces of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Although from our perspective, blogging is seen to be the essential starting point of a social media strategy, most companies are not there yet. Not all industries see corporate blogging similar. The use varies significantly by industry. It is striking that no company in the pharmaceutical and tobacco section blogs. In contract, 53% of Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications industry do. Almost 80% of the blogs show regular activity, have got RSS feeds, appreciate comments and offer subscription.
Twitter is used in eight out of the top 10 companies (Apple, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motors, General Electric, General Motors, Phillips 66, and Wal-Mart). All these companies offer frequently status updates on Twitter. Just Berkshire Hathaway and Valero Energy are missing out. Interestingly enough, Facebook has got most followers on Twitter. Google comes in second, then Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Walt Disney, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines.
On Facebook only Exxon is not showing up with an account. The rest, nine of the top 10 companies (Wal-Mart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy, and Ford Motors), has got a Facebook page. Obviously, the special retail shows strong use of Facebook (96% with a Facebook fanpage) versus 44% in the utilities sector. That Facebook has most Facebook fans is not surprising. Coca-Cola is number two with 66 million fans, followed by Walt Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Target. These companies all collected more than 20 million fans.
What we found interesting in the report is the mention that 59% of companies link to the social platforms from their corporate homepages, whereas for the other companies it required the research team some additional searching. Looking at further social networks and results shows the different strategies. From companies ranked in the top 10 just Berkshire Hathaway has got its own YouTube account. In terms of Google+, 35% use their Google+ accounts actively while 19% set up corporate accounts which are unactive. 50% of the top 10 companies got actove Pinterest boards (Apple, Exxon, Ford, General Motors and Wal-Mart). And although Instagram is now a part of Facebook, only Ford Motors opened an account here, as Wal-Mart is the only top 10 company making use of Foursquare.
In a recent Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey, PR Daily wanted to know from over 2,700 communication specialists in which way how their businesses use social media. Now, Go-Gulf.com took some of the data and created an infographic that ilustrates the main findings. Interestingly enough, and that is also what we are experiencing these days in our workshops and consultancy business, many of the compnaies have not found a proper way how to generate leads through social media although the capabilities on measuring data seems to be there.
Find the main findings as follows…
86% companies just look at main data metrics like fans and followers.
80%+ companies only have 3 people maximum managing social media.
65% companies see time as the main challenge using social media.
40% companies wish to increase sales: main goal of social media efforts.
31% companies are capable to track the customer journey from social media to sales.
As a fan of the series “Mad Men” TV series, I have to share this comparison of the sales profession development with you. When we compare the decades from 1950-2010, we realizte that there were some significant differences. From Don and his friends’ wild office parties and massive whisky as well as martini consumption to a straight organized reality where sales automation has taken over and social media rules the communication between people.
Although, we still here at the universities and in seminars from the advertising Gods like Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy, Don Draper’s world has seen a radical shift in sales profession. But in which direction…? The guys from Leads360 have created an infographic that defines the main trends we saw lately…
- 1960: In-person pitch.
- 1970: Door-to-door vacuum pitch.
- 1980: Not really specified in any direction…
- 1990: In the beginning email messaging, later customer relationship management (CRM)
- 2000: Social integration (Social Media)
- 2010: Intelligent sales automation
“Over the last 50 years, many of these fundamental sales strategies have remained incredibly valuable,” states the infographic. Maybe you find the reasons why when reading through it.
Today, we are talking of Facebook as the barbeque with “friends and fans” and of Twitter as the chatter at the toilet. Well, it seems that we haven’t moved away from socializing. Maybe we just need to add some drinks next to our screens…
We had written about a Curata content marketing survey some months ago. Now, I came across another research which is making it’s way through the web, and I am glad as I have been asked at a University St. Gallen event for some new insights on the topic today.
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 benchmarks shows what the challenges for marketers are: producing enough content (64%), producing the kind of content that engages an audience (52%), or producing a variety of content (45%).
Sounds like we have heard that before, right…?
If you think lack of budget is still the issue, you might find yourself being in the wrong corner. Just 39% of the respondents said that they lack budget. Furthermore, traditional restrictions and limits like buy-in/vision (22%) or finding trained content marketers (14%) is falling out; not even senior level buy-in is their biggest challenge (7%).
All lies? Well, seems like that… And when just 14% say, they are having problems hiring in this field, i would suggest some clever journalists or PR managers have found a way to market themselves.
So, a questions arises that also came up today in my moderation: What is the real issue, why marketers don’t challenge the content marketing business?
We have probably all heard what Outbrain told us today in their speech that push is the new pull, advertising becomes marketing, creation the modern editorial, campaigns are the always-on of tomorrow which makes sprints the new marathons. Still, the question is whether marketers understand why this should become the new budget engine for a change in an emerging shift towards content marketing and away from advertising?! Maybe marketers need to understand what makes them a media-house? Content curation, distribution and measurement might be more of a big bang theory to address…
The challenge might actually arise in the definition where content marketing gets propelled. Many marketers see still search engine advertising (SEA) their wholly grail. If companies get turned around into SEO engines, the whole result-driven aspect of the fluid content marketing world would not be questioned any longer. It just depends on getting the right people engaged inside the office and to find the commitment that lets the formerly outsourced world stand in the shade. And have companies ever understood the value of content? Content is not a test budget! It is an attitude towards business, towards communication, towards social business. Or have you ever put into question why you send out newsletters, flyers, whitepapers, or even company brochures? Blogs, status updates, tweets… written in an intelligent way, is increasing the way your conversations will arise…
Are you really hiding in the content marketing fields, marketers – or is it a real challenge…?
It is one of those generations marketers always try to understand and get their heads around as these young people will significantly define the future of brands: Gen-Z (18-23 years) is changing the way marketers have to do their communication around brands and companies. They are closer to and trust more Social Media and mobile than other generations, but they also still like email. At least if we believe in the results of one of the latest Forrester report.
The report author Tracey Stokes stated in blog post last month “Gen-Zers are open to a relationship with brands, as long as those brands are authentic and live up to their high expectations and consistently deliver what they need”.
For the Gen-Z target-group the world means anyone, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. The digital communication world sets no limits for them. Unsurprisingly, according to the Forrester report, this generation will consume more media online than offline. However, there is also a massive challenge for the world to come as distraction is a massive issue in the world of Gen-Z’ers.
The study makes clear that 84% multitask, using an Internet-connected device while watching TV. On average, this target-group is working with 1.5 other Internet-connected devices (e.g., laptops and cell phones) during their TV sessions. While some earlier study from Nielsen tells us that ads and promotions are not so much trusted these days, the Forrester study claims that the Gen-Z target-Group trusts online content -also ads and promos- more than other generations.
Blogging also adds to the credibility of companies and brands in the Gen-Z generation. The research states tat 22% of the surveyed Gen-Z consumers state they trust somewhat or completely posts by companies or brands on social networking sites. Compared to other generations, this is almost 49% higher. Also, the Gen-Z target-group is 48% more likely than other generations to trust somewhat or completely the content on mobile applications from brands. Even text messages from brands are trusted still. Still, search remains one of the biggest forms to get access to content.
The Gen-Z target-group is facing many forms of communication, promotions but also a massive variety of brand messages. This makes buying decisions more difficult for them but also turns them into a demanding form of consumers. Getting into conversations becomes the main business approach for companies and brands. The old penetration and persuation way of communication won’t work with the Gen-Z tagret-group. The more brands participate in the brand conversations, the more the target-group will open up to receive the brand messages. However, the fluid transition between online and offline communication is essential in brand communication. Marketers should better prepare their business to deliver a seamless brand experience.
What experiences did you make so far with Gen-Z…?