Capture Market Attention

During 2010 Social Media Marketing will have a shave, buy a suit and start working for professional service organisations. The techniques and technologies have matured to a point at which it is possible for serious B2B organisations to secure mind and market share over more sluggish competitors.

These changes are driven by several factors:

1. Content is no longer found in tidy silos – it is distributed, edited and commented upon. New clients are more likely to learn about (and engage with) your organisation via recommendations on third party sites.

2. Traditional models of SEO and SEM to promote corporate websites have been eclipsed by professional networking group referrals.

3. Direct (interruption) marketing channels have become increasingly ineffective: telemarketing, direct mail and even email for new business generation are highly inefficient and may harm rather than enhance reputation.

4. Technology and individual use of the Internet has changed: potential clients are willing to engage in online discussions. Content is no longer static.

5. Individuals do not need marketing: there is a wealth of information and comment on the web where professionals can keep abreast of the latest innovations and market developments. And if you are not at the party, you are not part of the discussion and not part of the solution.

Effective commercial networking requires organisations to publish good quality information, share useful materials and build a network of peers, clients and suppliers.

Commercial Networking Activities

Publish

Most professional organisations have a decent library of materials and an ongoing programme of publication. However, the majority of this material either sits on company websites or is the subject of email broadcast activity. It is a shame that after so much time, intellectual capital and money has been invested, that these materials are not more widely read. A relatively small investment can help organisations leverage Social Media technologies and get your material read. However, it does need investment in infrastructure (Blogs, Microsites, Websites) and active publication on third party sites (Google, Wikipedia, YouTube).

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Share

But it does not need to be you that does the promotion: your customers can be encouraged to publish (LinkedIn, Squidoo, upcoming.com) or support through bookmarking (Delicious, eHow, furl etc.). Many of IBM’s highly technical white papers would not register on search engines if it were not for IT professionals bookmarking the best information.

Network

The better your network, the stronger your business. Publishing and sharing materials builds connections with potential customers. Your company reputation will be influenced by how you manage these interactions. Where you interact is important. Organisations can configure Social Media Technology to develop their own ‘private social sites’: useful for getting  bidding consortia together, collaboration or product development. Potential customers are more likely to congregate (and discuss stuff) on public shared sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Gather, eons). The networking location determines how you act and respond as an organisation. It is a bit like a cocktail party: if you are the host, you set the agenda but it requires work. If your a guest, the workload is reduced but you might not have as much control over the conversation.

Is it worth it?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Marketing has changed. Increased Internet use has put the consumption of marketing collateral firmly in the control of the customer. Interruption marketing is ignored. And we now have systems which disregard marketing automatically.

If you are not implementing a Social Media Strategy today you are not at the party, but you may be part of the conversation.

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APM Digital generates business for clients. Our unique, knowledge based information gathering campaigns open meaningful dialogue with decision makers. We deliver qualified opportunities and set appointments for your field sales teams.

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