Recently, I spoke with a division CEO of a B2B company that earned the majority of its revenue online. In this conversation, I anticipated that the business would be very savvy on the usage of all digital tools to grab revenue. The CEO had a background in areas other than marketing so naturally the first set of questions that she prompted turned to how we could grow the business using social media tools (she honed in on Twitter). Knowing who my audience was for this discussion, here is how I framed my message to inform her about the impacts of digital marketing:
- Map out a long-term prospect and customer contact strategy based on content that is relevant to their needs: Social Marketing is tactic that is to be integrated with other campaigns (email, webinars, podcasts) to drive demand/revenue without over fatiguing or over touching a prospect or customer. There seems to be too much press excitement and hype around tools like Twitter—those single tools alone are ineffective to drive revenue; the key for success is weaving all these digital tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos) correctly (tagging, linking, etc.) with relevant messaging to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. A stand alone social media strategy, like a stand along blog that does not link in any way to the business, will not drive revenue or search engine results.
- Blog for revenue impact, not to check the box for the C level audience. Not a surprising observation, but a large percentage of B2B companies do not use a blog or it is relegated to ‘one more activity on the plate’ so it gets little care and feeding. If a blog has the right content for the right audience, the results in search engine optimization (SEO) will improve which will drive revenue. The idea is to create and shift the game in blogging to relevant, community based engagement versus the spray and pray broadcast advertising messaging that you might see on Twitter or Twitter combined with blogs. The right combination of activities of domain naming, blogging, building links off the *relevant* blog, twitter, linkedin, will drive the right search engine optimization result – the blog drives SEO: SEO drives revenue into the business.
- Play offense, not defense. Know where the puck is going, not where the puck has been: ‘My buyers do not use social media based on a customer survey we just did,’ was the correct assertion of this CEO. You are right, that was how these buyers previously purchased their goods and services. Yet the puck is moving very quickly in another direction as the importance of word of mouth purchasing increases with new ways to talk about the product of companies. Forrester sees digital marketing a major driver in B2B purchasing decisions. Conversely, let’s look at the same situation from a different view—Domino’s, Amazon, and other B2C companies who are early adopters of digital marketing may have played too much defense on their unique digital media strategy. Based on this approach, there is a significant REVENUE and brand risk for not playing the game versus playing the game. In these companies, the CEO is likely now asking the CMO ‘what exactly is our integrated social media strategy?’ This stance is too defensive for a CMO to succeed with the business leaders.
The game is early in digital marketing yet it is a changing and evolving landscape. Now is a great time to build the right foundation for companies to extend to new revenue channels leveraging digital marketing strategies and tactics.