We are starting a new feature called CMO Spotlight; interviews with the top technology marketers. These features will give you insight into their big initiatives, dig into areas of expertise and identify new trends going on with tech marketers.
Our first interview is with Paul Dunay an award-winning marketer with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is currently Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing for Avaya, a global leader in enterprise communications, and author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009). You can gain insights into Paul’s approach to integrated and social media marketing at: http://www.buzzmarketingfortechnology.com/.
What do you see the role of social media playing for B2B marketers in 2010?
2009 was the year that social media hit a “tipping point” – we have come too far too fast to ever go back to being “anti-social” – so I think social media will become even more pervasive in 2010. I would expect B2B marketers to include it on every campaign as a welcome part of their integrated marketing stack. It will certainly be an interesting year as budgets come back a bit and B2B marketers blend the traditional with the digital channels even more. But in 2010 social media (or just social) will start to leave marketing and begin to permeate the rest of the organization as well. Everything from Billing and Finance, to HR and Recruiting, to R&D and Product development will be getting into the act with social either by choice or by force!
You have been on the front end of experiencing and developing social media-driven programs as a marketer and have studied and written extensively on the topic. What is your BEST advice for B2B marketers?
Without a doubt – invest heavily in a really good listening engine. It’s perfect for supporting existing customers (a no brainer from an ROI perspective) and finding potential prospects. Sure there are conversations happening out there about your brand (you have heard that before) but have you thought about the sales conversations happening about your brand? You know the ones where you brand isn’t directly mentioned but either the product or service is referenced in passing. If you invest in having the right engine in place – you can begin to find those conversations and convert those to sales opportunities!
Which company or group is utilizing social media well in the B2B world? And what are they doing?
You mean the ones that make me jealous! Sure, I like SAP for their use of community. SAP has a rich ecosystem of both partners and customers (reported to be about 1M members large) on their community site where they can exchange ideas (in a typical forum style) as well as buy plug-in modules that have been contributed in an open source fashion by partners or customers – brilliant! I like AMEX Open for their vibrant Open Forum where small business owners can talk directly to other small business owners about problems that they face and get help from each other. I also like Salesforce.com for their use of IdeaStorm to help prioritize the development of their product.
Which application/service has better usage with B2B professionals and which has better traction with B2B marketers- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or “other”?
Studies show that for B2B LinkedIn wins over Facebook – which pains me to write since you know I wrote the book Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley) – but it’s true from a professional resume perspective and for tapping into some really vibrant professional groups. However LinkedIn is still 1/10 the size of Facebook – so frankly I would recommend you do both. From an overall winner – like it or not – I would say Twitter would get my vote. Where else can you set up an account and start talking with customers on Day 1 (yes marketers talking to customers). Again small total audience size compared to Facebook but rich dialog going on there that spans B2B and B2C!
How do you measure the success/ROI of your social media programs?
There can only be one measure of success on any program social or otherwise and that is sales. In our case pipeline and bookings. I get asked a lot about this topic – but frankly it’s not that hard to track social behavior – companies should try techniques like a unique 800 number or a unique hotlink or a unique email address embedded in their social activity if they want to track it more closely. This is how we did it in the early days of the web and it still works today! We have been able to affect pipeline and bookings by using social media to help items that are already in the sales funnel (middle of the funnel). I think it is better for the consideration phase (like traditional media has been – PR etc) for B2B. Sure you can use it for the awareness phase but it’s almost a tippy top of the funnel strategy since you still need the prospect to register so you can enter them into the funnel and begin to nurture them with techniques like social.