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B2B and Social Media



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August 30, 2010 10:03 am

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Does Social Media Make MORE Sense for B2B Marketers?

I was pleasantly surprised to find my blog mentioned in a post called “5 Good CMO Blogs: Why aren’t there more?“ written by John Ellett.

I’m not sure why there aren’t more CMOs blogging but I do have an idea why the majority of the five CMOs mentioned come from the B2B world (as one Robert Lesser pointed out on Twitter):

The crux of social media is conversations between and among people and Business to Business marketing is more about people and their relationships than Business to Consumer marketing.

In the B2C world, the relationship that matters is the one between the consumer and the brand or perhaps more specifically the consumer and the product. Does the brand (company) represent who I am or would like to be. For instance: Nike vs Adidas.  Coke vs Pepsi.  Walmart vs Target.  To me the impact of social media in B2C is among the consumers themselves and their collective and individual relationships with the brands they follow and the products they use.

In B2B,  brands are certainly useful in narrowing the selection process. But when it comes to the actual purchasing decision, it’s all (mostly?) about relationships.

I think the reason for this is that B2B purchases tend to be more enduring and strategic. The decision you make can have an impact on your organization for years even decades. You don’t just buy a thing – a server, an application, or what have you. You also often actually buy a relationship: support services, service levels, integration, consulting. The works.

What concerns you when making a B2B purchase is relationship driven. You are entering into what is essentially a partnership so you want to know if you can count on your future partner. Will this organization or this solution be viable over the long haul? Do they act with integrity? Can I trust them?

Because social media is personal and because it emphasizes connections between people it is an excellent channel for building relationships. That’s why, I believe, it’s a good fit for CMO’s, marketer, and sales people in B2B.

What do you believe?

John

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Categories: Expert Views, PR Blog

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2 Comments

  1. I would agree with you that on the relationship level, social media would be much more valuable in a B2B market. The main issue (for now) is the reach. In regards to B2B, would follower count matter as much as B2C or just investing in a few really solid relationships?

  2. John, good observation on the value of BtoB relationships. Thought leadership expressed through blogs is one way of doing that. BtoC marketers are embracing Facebook as their preferred venue for social engagement, so social media is still highly relevant to consumers, but in a different way.

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