Tag Archives: web 2.0

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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Great B2B subject lines tell the truth

I know, I know … April Fool’s Day was a week ago, but this was too good to pass up sharing.

Next year when April 1st rolls around, make sure you don’t find yourself in someone’s blog post covering the worst examples of a bad April Fool’s joke and pay attention to the lesson outlined in a recent post from Andrew Lennon at the Daily Anchor.

Lesson one: Don’t use your Facebook status to try to get a rise out of your significant other on April Fool’s day.

You can take a look at the screen shot of an example of this bad April Fool’s joke here. When you joke that you’re worried about “how to break the news” to a boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook, chances are they’re not going to appreciate it. Even worse, all of your Facebook friends will be embarrassed for you and your bad decision.

Lesson two: If you’re going to joke around with your customers on April Fool’s Day, tell at least a half-truth.

On April 1, Brenthaven sent its customers an email with this subject line: “Today Only! Buy a Brenthaven – Get a FREE CAR!!!”

When customers opened the email, they found out that it wasn’t a joke — they would really receive a free car with their purchase. Unfortunately, they would never be able to get behind the wheel of that car because it was a HotWheels.

If this email was sent out on any day other than April Fool’s, I’m sure there would be an incredible amount of upset customers calling the company and complaining. Since it was the funniest holiday of the year, they got away with it.

The moral of this story: Unless it’s April Fool’s Day, make sure your B2B email subject lines only speak the truth.

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?

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:

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.

Taking terrible customer service to the Internet

Thirty years ago, when a customer was upset with a company over their poor customer service they could spread the word by calling friends on the phone, sending a complaint letter, or could possibly go as far as to write an editorial in their local newspaper.

Today, letting others know about shoddy customer service is as simple as pressing the power button on your computer.

Case in point, this disgruntled customer and author at Gaebler.com:

If you are doing business these days, you have to recognize that the world has changed. As consumers, we expect good customer service. If we don’t get it, we don’t just forgive and forget. We never buy from you again. We tell our friends not to buy from you. We tell the world not to buy from you.

That’s right. In the days of blogs and search engines, customers have the final word. That’s why you need to bend over backward to keep them happy. Because the happy customers stay quiet. It’s the angry customers who speak up, and deter others from doing business with you.

After a terrible experience with a major computer manufacturer, this customer made it his “new hobby” to let everyone know about it. He’s estimated that his tactics could potentially move $500,000 in sales away from the company by not buying their product for his organizations and compelling others to do the same.

Whether he hit his goal or not will continue to be a mystery, but it still shows the lengths to which an angry customer will go in order to get their voice heard.

Training customer service representative to resolve customer complaints is essential to the success of your business. As soon as a customer feels like they have been mistreated, they can quickly get online to start telling all of their friends and online connections about it.

Always remember the tried-and-true formula that a happy customer will tell one of their friends, but an unhappy customer will tell three. If that unhappy customer is active in social media, they may be able to quickly spread their story to 300,000 of their friends in just a matter of minutes.

Technology is forcing customer service to reach new levels of satisfaction. Representatives must be aware that the customer on the other end of the phone can easily spread the word about their experience just minutes after the call is over.

But it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. When a disgruntled customer vents about their problem on the internet, it could give your company a second chance to resolve their problem that you may have initially overlooked.

Say you come across a blog post from a customer who recently had a terrible experience with your company, what’s the best thing you should do?

For starters, you could leave a comment on their blog as a representative of your company. Tell the customer that you’d personally like to help with their problem.

If you can’t personally do anything to remedy the problem, continue to work with the customer until they are satisfied. Connect them with someone else in your organization that could help and remember to follow up to see if their issue was resolved.

Listen to what customers are saying about you online with tools like Google Alerts. If what they have to say is positive, tell them ‘thank you’ for their kind words. If their words aren’t so kind, ask them how you can help.

When customers share their opinions about your company on the Internet it can either be good or bad (sometimes, really bad). It’s up to you to determine how to handle the comments once they’re made.

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?