Archive for June 2009
You would have to be in a fish bowl not to be aware of identity theft. Never give out a password or your social security number. Never click on a link from someone you don’t know or freaky banner ads promising you something for nothing. An article in the June 1 issue of the AARP bulletin warns Boomers of incidents of identity theft occurring on Facebook.
Author Sid Kirchheimer in his article “Scam Alert – False Friends on Facebook” relates one man’s nightmare:
“On Jan. 21, Rutberg discovered his Facebook page had been hacked with this alarming message: BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP! He tried to access his page to remove the warning, but his password had been changed. When he tried to alert his friends from his wife’s Facebook account that he was OK, he says, the scammer had ‘de-friended’ her, blocking any messages he sent. Meanwhile, Rutberg’s Facebook friends who had posted ‘what’s wrong?’ messages were getting replies from the hacker, who posed as Rutberg and claimed that he had been robbed in London and needed money to get home. One concerned friend, Beny Rubinstein, wired $1,200 overseas, which the trickster quickly collected…’
Is it any wonder B2B C-level executives are reluctant to participate in social networks?
Are hackers a valid reason for company CEOs not to blog? No. Hackers are a good reason to exercise good judgment common sense in every aspect of life whether you are on Facebook or responding to email.
Wired blogger, Natania Barron comments on June 15 that while the Internet has been a great unregulated frontier, as internet culture matures and people make mistakes that can hurt them professionally, we will see a trend back to the concepts of obligation and accountability.
She states, “My suggestion is to do things you’re proud of. Sure, there will be embarrassing pictures of us all somewhere, and likely some immortal forum rants. But if you do anything, do it well and because you love it. Do it without flinching, and be prepared to stick up for what you say and what you do. Because well, just about everyone may be watching. It’s Big Brother and it’s Uncle Bob. And soon enough, if it hasn’t happened already, it’ll be your kids, too.
Granted, before we know it something else is likely to create new, strange and unknown space and we’ll start all over again with a new sandbox. But until then, and as the online world grows, it might be that we’re learning something unexpected: accountability. Because you know what? Our kids are going to see what we do, too. Chances are, as never before, what we say will really go on after us.”
This is why B2B CEOs should, at the very least have an internal blog for their employees, if not an external blog to communicate with all of their stakeholders. This is how corporate CEO Blogs can build brand in unique and compelling ways. It allows CEOs to fulfill their obligation to provide clear and transparent communication to stakeholders, and demonstrate that they are accountable by allowing their audience to respond.
Links in this article:
Scam Alert – False Friends on Facebook,
GEEKDAD, The Internet is People: Social Media Anxiety and Web 2.0,
B2B is historically behind the curve in adapting emerging media. We have the great opportunity to stand back watch the B2C community suceed and fail at new methods, then after careful vetting, choose the strategies that work and ignore the ones that are passing fads.
I often think that B2B industrial marketing is the last social media frontier, until I read the June 23 post on UberCEO that in a recent study of Fortune 100 CEOs, not one had a corporate blog. These guys have full service communications staffs! What’s up with that?
This is the summary of the research findings:
- Only two CEOs have Twitter accounts.
- 13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.
- 81% of CEOs don’t have a personal Facebook page.
- Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.
- Not one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.
Contrast these results with the winner of IABC’s 2008 Excel Award winning blog by Bill Marriott, Marriott on the Move,
, and you can see that these CEOs are really missing an important opportunity to brand themselves as leaders with employees, customers, investors and the community. Click this link to view the attached slide show in .pdf format for a summary of the Fortune 100 results, ceos-socialmediaslackers-090619043113-phpapp02or view it live on their website at www.uberceo.com.
My thought is that these guys are not only busy, they are concerned about public exposure and having whatever they say misconstrued to the detriment of the company.
What do you think?
Links to this post:
IABC Leadership in communications series,
International Association for Business Communicators,
Marriott on the Move,
The “How to” category in You Tube is an ideal emerging media application for B2B Industrial Marketing because it offers the opportunity to show product demonstrations and complex concepts in a brief but holistic format. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has this video posted to explain the concept of heat-treating:
Manufacturing typically has not taken advantage of this tool other than corporate overview videos due to the time involved in production and the cost. Today, with a low cost camera, even a small business can have a meaningful You Tube presence. The largest obstacle for manufacturers is showing too much detail that would allow a competitor to steal their intellectual property yet enough detail to help potential customers understand the benefits of their specific product.
You Tube video can be a market asset as an integral aspect of carefully planned campaign that outlines the beginning, middle and end of the product story with a good script, careful editing, attention to detail, and call to action.
Gary Anderson writing for Marketing Profs gives these simple tips: get good lighting, don’t wear stripes, pace yourself and it can always be shorter – don’t be boring. Well said!
Links for this article:
Marketing Profs Article, “Beyond You Tube: Getting Started with Video for Marketing and Sales”
Marketing Profs Website, http://www.marketingprofs.com/
Why does social media seem so time consuming to B2B industrial marketers? In my opinion, we are so consumed by handling email, we aren’t taking advantage of the new tools and technologies offered in the Web 2.0 environment.
B2B has an article in their June 8, 2009 edition entitled, “Prepare for the Social Web” by Paul Gillin. He believes that we are in the beginning stages of a new transition in B2B as the technology morphs and grows to accommodate social conversations in a more efficient manner. Paul points out that every social networking site requires a unique profile, and while all offer some functionality, people spend too much time filling out profiles and not having true connectivity among social media platforms.
No wonder the largest obstacle to companies adapting social media strategies is the lack of time. In response to this issue, he believes that, “our profiles and relationships shouldn’t be limited to branded communities; they should be persistent and portable wherever we go.”
He reports that Google has introduced a new technology called Wave, “a technology that lets people create discussions and embed them in other sites via a network of linked widgets.” Progress in this type of technology can support more efficient collaboration and overcome the limitations of email as a primary communications channel.
Watch Google Wave demo – it’s really cool
What is a Wave? According to Google:
A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
Sign up for the first release at
New technologies like Google’s Wave are under construction to streamline the communications and networking capabilities that will enable even the smallest business to thrive in the transparent and connected environment of Web 2, and eventually 3.
Links in this post:
Why don’t we use social media more in B2B? The simple answer is that people are far too busy with email to take the time to learn how to use social media tools and change their daily habits. It’s only been 15 years since old economy businesses did not want employees to have access to email or the internet, and now we cannot imagine being productive at work without them.
Lon Safko wrote a great article for Fast Company with some good ideas on how to begin to make social media an important part of daily life.
The 10 Commandments of Social Media:
- Thou Shalt Podcast (often).
- Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately).
- Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs).
- Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone).
- Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week).
- Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively
- Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy).
- Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere).
- Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them).
- Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find
Personally, blogging like crazy is a tough habit for me to cultivate, but a good one for a person who primarily writes for a living. I had an engineer ask me last week if he really had to join our Linked In group, because he doesn’t like to post profiles – no doubt not wishing to attract spam, but I personally do not have any spam problems on any of the social media sites where I participate. I can hit a delete key in less that a second!
Video and podcasts are one of the most underutilized social media tools, and such an inexpensive way to do product demonstrations and capture opinion. A testimonial in the customer’s voice has to trump a quotation in writing.
These tools have the potential to reduce travel expenses for both sales people and customers. In the capital equipment business, the technical buyer can reduce travel expenses to see equipment in operation, and the purchasing and maintenance employees can visualize what the equipment is and how it will be used.
Videos in particular assist international customers who find detailed information in English daunting to read; automatic translators are great, but not necessarily accurate for technical language.
There is a potential to save time and reduce cost by integrating social media into B2B marketing, we just have to take Lon Safko’s advice and take 30 minutes a week, or in my opinion, 30 minutes a day, to use it.
Links in this post:
The 10 Commandments of Social Media,
Email marketing is one of the best tools in IMC as it provides both an economical medium to tell your brand story and accountability in the form of measurable results. One of the great challenges in B2B for small companies is that while email marketing is highly desired, typically there is little to no budget. A big disappointment with the Microsoft CRM 4.0 CRM package is that there is no html email interface or compatibility with an affordable hosted solution.
After looking at all of the hosted solutions, I discovered a tremendous value in email – Mail Chimp. In their own words, “We make it easy to send email newsletters to your customers, manage your subscriber lists, and track campaign performance. Unlike some of our competitors, we don’t ‘dumb things down.’ We take extremely powerful tools that sophisticated marketers use (like segmentation, a/b testing, and ROI tracking), and we make them accessible to anyone. And because our platform uses an open API, it’s easy to integrate internal systems (like Salesforce) and web applications (like Magento and Drupal) with our email marketing engine. That’s why over 80,000 users, who range from small 1-person startups to Fortune 500 corporations use MailChimp.”
I chose this provider because they provide the first class tools offered by their high priced competitors at an affordable cost. Of particular interest was the ability for readers to select mobile format in addition to html and text. In the “view in browser” function there is the Google translation tool, social media tools, subscribe and archive links. Another great capability is the ability to link email campaigns to your Google Analytics account providing better performance measurement. I have used the Chimp Charts for several years now to compare our performance in terms of open & click rates, bounces and unsubscribes against industry benchmarks; it’s about time I looked at their service offer.
I have all of this added functionality without a penny of additional cost. It was very cool this week to tell my company President that we could exponentially improve our program without spending more money, and he could now receive our newsletter formatted for his Blackberry. In a value vs. cost comparison, Mail Chimp wins hands down.
Links for this post:
Follow Mail Chimp on Twitter,
The social media site with the most potential for B2B industrial marketing is Linked In, where users can post their profiles, join groups, ask and respond to questions, and network when looking for new jobs and new opportunities. While many of my colleagues tell me they have no time for social media, I have discovered three practical and time savings applications.
Linked In is a good spot to ask questions of industry experts, and get referrals to products and services
I just started working with the marketing module in Microsoft 4.0 Dynamics CRM, and was pretty disappointed in the lack of functionality. Our partner was not available for training or to answer questions, so I searched Linked In where I discovered 2B Consulting, a Microsoft partner in the UK who developed an add-on, eCampaign, in order to compensate.
Linked In is a natural networking community for finding business prospects
Fellow Edinboro University alumni, Brady McFadden of nearby Papa Advertising used Linked In to find alumni within his territory with marketing degrees, and contacted me to promote his agency. I was very impressed with this method which surely beats cold calling either on the phone or in person. While I cannot take advantage of the opportunity he has offered me at this time, you can be certain that when it is time for my company to get an agency, Brady will be on my short list.
Special Interest Groups can be created on Linked In where people can post news, engage in discussions, look for jobs
I have created two fledgling groups to promote and enhance two of our product conference/seminars – and it has been an uphill battle to get people to join and actually participate in discussions. Working in an old economy business, there are precious few early adapters.
However, in the marketing profession, I belong to many groups with lively discussions that are very useful. I am accredited through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and our accredited communicator group has had a long and lively discussion about why we chose to challenge ourselves with accreditation. As a member-at-large that rarely gets to meetings, it keeps me connected to my professional network.
Linked In is much more than a place to find a job; it is the ultimate business network.
Links in this post:
Furnaces & Atmosphere for Today’s Technology – new today,
IABC Accredited Communicators,
One of the breakout sessions at last week’s IMC weekend at WVU was with Professor Bryan Bennett who is also President of the Insight Data Group. He presented a talk entitled, “Customer Relationship Marketing: Tales from the Front.”
What does Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have to do with social or emerging media?
The answer is that advanced systems are web based, global, and according to Prof. Bennett, “CRM describes a fundamental business strategy to deliver services and products consistently across an entire customer relationship rather than just within a particular product or business.” The challenge is for companies to recognize customers as individuals satisfy individual requirements with personalized products and services and deliver based on what has been learned from customers.” This idea of continually learning about customer preferences in a dynamic environment is what differentiates CRM from previous strategies.
Arguably, one of the most effective channels for listening for the true voice of the customer is through social media channels such as Linked In Groups, Twitter and Blogs.
Prof. Bennett has given me permission to reproduce one of his most important slides that contrasts the differences between direct marketing, data base marketing and CRM.
If an organization is still based in the database marketing cycle, social media has no place. For an organization with CRM, social media plays an important role in the continuous learning aspect of CRM strategy.
Link to Insight Data Group:
Link to Biz Insights Blog:
Typically, any conversation surrounding the use of social media for B2B marketing includes dialogue on how time consuming it is and how companies have not discovered how social media will ultimately fit into the marketing mix. In my experience, many people don’t know how to interact in the real time environment of social media. The risk of making a mistake often prevents companies from taking the risk of becoming a savvy user of these new communication tools.
Jennifer Leggio wrote post in her ZD Net Social Business Blog entitled “A tale of two faux pas: When transparency meets bad behavior,” reporting on a Twitter incident where one individual felt slighted by another individual, and the result was a very public, online argument. As Ms. Leggio comments, “It ended… poorly.” For these individuals and the organizations they represent, the results of their unprofessional behavior are now recorded in writing, and indexed on Google for years to come. Is it any wonder corporate America is slow to adopt social media for B2B marketing?
I was fortunate to attend the WVU 2009 IMC Weekend welcome dinner and keynote address by Jeff James, Founder and CEO of Mythology, and former Microsoft employee. In his presentation entitled, “21st Century Advice from 1936,” Mr. James suggests that we re-visit Dale Carnegie’s international bestseller, “How to Win Friends & Influence People”, and apply the some of the same fundamental principles when using social media. A few of points he emphasized might have diffused the above situation:
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Be a good listener
- Talk in terms of the other (person’s) interest
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely
- If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
- Avoid arguments
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions
- Begin in a friendly way
- Appeal to noble motives
Mr. James says there is nothing wrong with throwing down a challenge in order to make the exchange interesting, but keep it civil. He shared that the major shift in social media communication is the introduction of user-generated content. This shifts the messaging from being exclusively institutionally directed (the company surgically crafts the message then broadcasts it) to being self-directed (individuals post information and breaking news that ultimately becomes the message).
Consider Danny Meadows-Klue’s 10 Golden Rules condensed here from e moderation (May 21, 2009):
1. Stay: Keep taking part
2. Ease: Make participation a single click
3. Initiate: Help start the discussion, don’t set out to own it
4. Think webspace. Not website.
5. Release: Give consumers content they can adapt
6. Share: Encourage brand advocates to advocate
7. Tools and content, not ‘marketing’: Give your community tools they need to achieve their goals, and content they enjoy
8. Encourage: Nurture creative talent, encourage them to create and enthuse
9. Amplify: Amplify the effectiveness of your offline
10. Honesty: Be yourself, be transparent, be true
Sound familiar? Did Dale Carnegie envision the Internet back in 1936? Probably not. While communications channels change, best practices in interpersonal relationships do not. The trend towards transparency in B2B social media is a positive change that encourages companies to abandon pontificating and get to the business of differentiating their offer and building real value for their brands.
Links for this post:
Leggio, Jennifer (February 11, 2009) A tales of two faux pas When transparency meets bad behavior. http://blogs.zdnet.com/feeds/?p=482
Fisher, Tia (May 21, 2009) 10 Golden Rules in Social Media Marketing.