Sometimes a case study inspires. This happened to me on Tuesday of this week, when Eric Majchrzak, Marketing Director of Freed, Maxick and Battaglia (FMB) presented at the B2B Marketing Summit in Waltham, MA.
Eric was speaking on a social media panel about his Buffalo-based CPA firm’s outdoor interactive Facebook billboard. Basically, this billboard projects for all the drivers and pedestrians who pass it by, the most current posting on their Facebook page. But unlike so many other corporate Facebook pages that just talk about themselves, this Facebook page promotes non-profit community events. Genius.
The billboard is set up as follows:
It also embraces social media best practices: creates community, encourages dialogue, stimulates interest.
By integrating one classic marketing tactic (billboard advertising) with another (social marketing), FMB has more than doubled the impact of both these tactics. A great example of how to integrate social media into the broader marketing context. Furthermore, I'm betting this not only gets them more new clients, but it makes their current ones happy they have FMB as their accountants.
Who would have thought that an accounting firm could have thought of this? I just wish I had. Hats off to Eric and the folks at FMB who gave him the green light!
I just joined over 200 business-to-business marketers at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Summit in Waltham, MA. There was a panel discussion about social media in the B2B landscape. Members of the panel discussed the value of establishing objectives for your social media marketing.
For B2B marketers, the typical objectives are often increasing and nurturing leads, having a conversation with loyal followers, increasing traffic to the website etc.
One of the speakers, Vanessa DiMauro from Leader Networks, said that she had worked with a group of law enforcement groups on their social media efforts. And she said they had only one social media objective: to solve more crimes.
Now I don’t often think of the police as being in the forefront of the marketing revolution, but what got me about this objective was how it represented thinking outside the box. It incorporated all of the good attributes of social media: conversing, listening, sharing, interacting, going viral, community building. It had nothing to do with using social media to actively promote the value of these law enforcement organizations, and yet at the end of the day, the entire social media program absolutely reinforced the value of these organizations.
I love the idea of coming up objectives that are not what everyone else is doing. That’s how to break through the clutter.
So how do you come up with them? What I learned from this example is to think in terms of your community rather than think in terms of your company. Your products might offer many wonderful solutions, but talking only about your solutions means you’re still talking at your consumers. Think about their problems, and not just those you can solve. Think bigger picture. For example, if you offer a supplement that helps the joints, don’t just talk about the knees, address the whole body. That widens the conversation to those who don’t need your product now. It also makes you more interesting to those who could benefit from your product.
In fact, when thinking about your social media objectives, think about what crimes you can solve within your customer community.
In MarketingSherpa’s latest benchmark report on B2B marketing, the trend shows that the majority of B2B organizations are increasing their marketing budgets for inbound marketing tactics. When it comes to outbound marketing tactics, budgets are staying flat or decreasing.
So what’s inbound? It’s social media, virtual events and webinars, SEO and PPC. Outbound tactics are telemarketing, direct mail and print advertising. Depending on how it’s used, email falls somewhere in-between.
So why the move to inbound? According to Sherpa, “The growing trend of utilizing inbound marketing tactics is a result of the cost effectiveness of these marketing channels and when applied with established sales funnel processes… organizations are able to effectively generate a high volume of qualified leads for their sales teams.”
It makes sense that B2B companies look at cost effective and ROI more closely because they were hit hard by the recession and their marketing budgets and staff were slashed. They had to operate smarter, and inbound marketing is all about ‘creative sweat’ combined with a sharp eye on the metrics.
So what are the most effective B2B marketing tactics? MarketingSherpa’s report ranks them as follows:
Notice how the inbound tactics dominate the outbound ones.
If you are at all interested in finding out more what’s working in B2B marketing, I highly recommend that you read MarketingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.