Tag Archives: social media

More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.
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B2B agencies showing “gloom and doom” the door

Business-to-business ad agencies had it tough last year, with total ad spending down 2.6% from 2007, according to Nielson Monitor-Plus.

Though advertising took a hit, many b-to-b agencies were able to grow their business last year, with some reporting their most profitable years ever.

How did they do it?

According to a BtoB Online Special Report, those businesses found success by focusing on three major areas:

  1. Understanding their clients;
  2. Developing relevant, compelling creative
  3. Expanding into new areas such as green marketing and social media

Winners from this year’s Top Agencies Special Report added that in order to succeed in today’s market, B2B businesses will need a healthy dose of “optimism, boldness and creative thinking.”

“If you are smart, you get lifted up by the recession, not pulled down by it,” said Rick Segal, CEO of HSR Business to Business, Cincinnati, winner of the midsize category. “It is an opportunity to grow and become more profitable in terms of building your business and bringing new ideas to clients, even if they’re not asking for them.”

With an increase in revenue by 30%, 2008 was HSR’s best year on record. The agency explored new opportunities in online video and social media, even with some of the company’s most traditional clients like John Deere & Co.

“We live in a time of extraordinary change—change that will be amplified and accelerated by the recession, ushering in perhaps a new age of business transformation,” said John Favalo, managing partner-group B2B at Eric Mower & Associates, runner-up in the midsize category. “Business models, marketing and communications will transform, and successful agencies will be instrumental in helping clients through the dramatic changes.”

Read the full BtoB Online article.

How has your organization responded to the changing market? Are you using new media, including online video and social media to improve your chances of success?

Using online video ads? Use subtitles

The online video market is growing exponentially. By 2012 the U.S. online video audience alone will reach 190 million, almost 88% of the country’s Internet user population, according to eMarketer estimates.

“As with most everything else online, where the eyeballs go, advertising follows,” say the eMarketers.

In just the next four years, online video ad spending is predicted to reach almost $6 billion. Driving the incredible growth is more trust in video content and larger advertisers entering the online video market.

“The use of videos for advertising online is unquestionably growing—except among B2B marketers. They face a huge hurdle. Most of their targets—businesspeople—don’t have audio turned on in the office. Talking heads or voiceovers that no one hears are not very effective.”

The solution? Captions.

Use online video subtitles

Use online video subtitles

PLYmedia, a provider of closed-caption solutions, studied user response to videos where subtitles and captions were included on online videos. Overlaying subtitles and captions increased the amount of time users spent watching videos by almost 40%.

Additionally, videos that had subtitles were watched 91% to completion, compared with 66% to completion for videos without subtitles.

“As more and more online video is consumed in an increasing variety of settings—from office environments to noisy bars to mobile phones—it makes sense to add closed-captioning and subtitling features to digital video files,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst. “These enhancements expand opportunities for viewers to enjoy online video, even when it’s impractical for them to have the sound turned on.”

Read the full eMarketer article.

Marketing in a recession, beware of zombies

Todd Defren, author of the PR-Squared blog and a principal at SHIFT Communications, posted an insightful slide presentation last week on how we’re all going to survive through this recession.

The presentation is all about marketing in a recession and offers some great ideas that any B2C or B2B marketer can put into practice. As an added bonus, the presentation features advice from a brain-eating zombie. Yes, a zombie.

Check it out for yourself:

Who says B2B videos have to be boring?

There’s been a debate going around recently that business to business marketing has no place in social media. For everyone who questions whether B2B viral videos can be successful, we’ve found another example of how they can.

Since Cisco posted this video on January 29, it has had more than 140,000 views. Find out how you can show your love through Cisco in this funny B2B marketing video:

Signs of what’s to come? Marketers plan to increase social media spending

Despite the economic recession and marketing budgets being slashed to pieces, almost every social media marketer (95%) plans to maintain or increase social media spending.

Forrester researcher Jeremiah Owyang recently released his study called “Social Media Playtime Is Over,” based on a survey from December of 2008.

Marketers will increase social media spending

Marketers will increase social media spending

Some of his key findings reveal that:

  • More than 50% of interactive marketers plan increases in their social technology spending. Only 5% plan to cut spending.
  • The fastest growing categories include social networking, blogging and user-generated content.
  • Social media spending is small compared to other types of marketing efforts. While the marketers surveyed came from companies with at least 250 people, 75% are still spending $100,000 or less on social technology efforts.

From the report’s executive summary:

These inexpensive tools can quickly get marketing messages out through interactive discussion and rapid word of mouth, and properly managed, can deliver measurable results.

Though you may not have someone in your organization with the title of ‘Social Media Marketer’, the study shows that social media is a strong marketing investment, even when our economy is in the dumps.

Like the report says “Social Media Playtime Is Over,” it’s time to get serious.

Is your company planning to increase spending on social media efforts? Why, why not?

Social media and B2B, more evidence it’s a good mix

Social media has pulled ahead of email as the most popular online activity, according to the latest research from Neilsen Online.

More than two-thirds (67%) of the world’s online population visits social networks and blogs, making participation in “member communities” the fourth most popular activity online.

Social media more popular that email

Social media more popular that email

Activity on social networks and blogs ranks fourth behind search, portals and PC software, but has moved higher than personal email use.

Social networking and blogging now account for nearly 10% of all time spent on the internet and have “become a fundamental part of the global online experience,” said John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen Online. “While two-thirds of the global online population already accesses member community sites, their vigorous adoption and the migration of time show no signs of slowing. Social networking will continue to alter not just the global online landscape, but the consumer experience at large. This study explains why.”

This isn’t evidence that email marketing has become ineffective, it depends on what works for your business. What the research does show is that whether your B2B or B2C, more of your customers are active in social networks and are reading blogs.

Your customers are using social media and so should you.