The Technology for Marketing Exhibition at Earl’s Court on 26/27th February this year was buzzing. I would like to report to all those small to medium sized b2b companies who are unsure of whether or how to commit to a more automated marketing process or indeed to social media marketing, that the industry is still ‘proving’ itself among mass business and by that I mean the smaller b2b business.
A large respected marketing technology player like Eloqua will argue that a fully automated marketing system will provide tight control over the marketing funnel; that there will be no ‘wastage’. However, the investment in resource is generally beyond a £1m turnover company. The success of such a system is largely dependent upon how much time is put into it (initially). It’s still only as good as the brief and the early planning.
And social media marketing for the b2b SME? An increasing number of such companies are taking the plunge; to what extent this is part of a carefully planned, co-ordinated and managed content programme is more difficult to determine. The social media experts are the first to admit that measuring tools still only provide a ‘feel’ to effectiveness. One even cited making a judgement based on good old fashioned sales peaks corresponding to SM activity. It may never be possible to get a truly effective ROI because of the complexity of and number of possible client or customer touch points.
So, my advice to the b2b SME – use Social Media to listen and gather market intelligence. And then, by all means, have a dabble – test it. Use Twitter as just another medium – taking a snippet of your standard news release. And place the icon on your website. Introduce small elements at a time into your overall marketing plan. The only other point I would make is – if you start a blog – then you do need to commit to it. Whilst no one will notice if your twitters are relatively infrequent, you do notice on a blog. Brainstorm topics – you’d be surprised what ‘content’ you can come up with when you think about it.
And finally, don’t concern yourself about an inadequate number of followers. Even if you do feel you’re tweeting or blogging to fresh air – it doesn’t matter. You’re learning (without too much commitment to resource). By the time it really takes off for your industry, you’ll be a communications expert. Or, if you have no inclination to be such; you’d at least be able to provide a good brief to someone who is.