Social Media for B2B

3 04 2014

Recently I downloaded the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. I know I am a little behind but it still makes very interesting reading. A common complaint among B2B marketing professionals is that social media platforms are often very B2C focused.

Here is what I picked up regarding B2B marketing use of social media:

  1. Improved search results are an important benefit of using social media;
  2. B2B companies are more likely to use social media for intelligence gathering;
  3. B2B marketers are more focused on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging whereas Facebook dominated the B2C space;
  4. B2B marketers are more likely to increase their blogging activity;
  5. As expected, B2B marketers are more likely also to increase their activity on LinkedIn;
  6. Similarly, Google+ and podcasting are more popular with B2B marketers.

Other marketing activities that B2B respondents mentioned were SEO and event marketing.

In general, given the 44% of respondents described themselves as being B2B it is encouraging to see the high level of involvement in social media marketing. I was surprised that Slideshare did not feature but perhaps it is too niche.





Entering the world of hyper-personalisation

18 01 2014

In a recent interview in the Sunday Independent Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, talked about the airline’s future marketing strategy. While the announcement of a collaboration with Google caught the attention of the headline writers I was more interested in a comment he made towards the end of the interview. “We will be doing more individual marketing” he said. “We will build individual profiles for each passenger.”

This struck a chord with me because it echoed a very interesting presentation at the CMO Summit 2013 organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland last November. Amanda Gosling, Associate Partner – Strategy, IBM, introduced the idea of hyper-personalisation. The simple idea is that mass communication, even with segmentation and tailoring to audiences, is not going to succeed in the future. What will succeed is having “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. This means having a deep understanding of each individual customer rather than a generic customer persona.

Amanda was presenting the results of a major survey entitled “The Customer-activated Enterprise“. A key finding of the report is the need to create engaging customer experiences. This is driven by social media in particular as it gives customers the ability to “bang on the door and demand to be heard”. This trend demands that a company be more than just customer centric. It needs to be customer activated. The customer needs to be part of the company’s decision-making process. There are clear overlaps here with the concept of open innovation.

The report is well worth reading if only to get an idea as to how some of the world’s largest companies are thinking about the challenges of creating an effective digital strategy and a winning customer experience.

To learn more about the CMO Summit 2013 please read my guest post on the Marketing Institute blog.

To learn more about the IBM report visit IBM’s Institute for Business Value.





Social Media trends for 2014

9 01 2014

The Social Media Today website recently published a very interesting article on UK Social Media statistics for 2014.

Some noticeable trends that interested me:

  1. Facebook’s growth has come to an end as it is now fully “mainstream”
  2. 40% of Twitter users prefer to simply read content and use it as a way to curate news feeds
  3. LinkedIn is by far the most effective social media platform for driving visitors to corporate websites which also reflects a move away from using LinkedIn as an online CV
  4. No confirmed user statistics for Google Plus
  5. Pinterest and Instagram are growing quickly but from very small bases
  6. Snapchat and WhatsApp are growing also, especially among younger age groups

What struck me most, however, is the lack of hard statistics for most of the platforms. One of the great strengths of digital marketing is its ability to provide measurable numbers but they seem to be sadly lacking here.





Marketing Campaigns

2 05 2013

Marketing campaigns, and in particular the current Sky TV and Broadband campaign, were the focus of the Marketing Breakfast on 1 May 2013. Mark Anderson of Sky Ireland talked the audience through the current campaign featuring Pierce Brosnan. Three things struck me from what Dave said.

Firstly, radio is hugely important in Ireland

Mark made the point the Sky adjusted their media buying to include more radio than they do in the UK. This is because radio is such a popular medium in Ireland.

Secondly, social media is difficult

I think we all know that social media is hard to do. Sky’s experience is that social media frequently turns into a customer service channel and a very inefficient one at that. This is a real challenge for social media.

Thirdly, integrating sales and marketing is not so hard

Sky simply sit their marketing team right in the middle of their call centre team so that the marketing team can hear the issues that customers every day.

Watch my interview with Mark to learn more.





A great use of Twitter

8 04 2013

What is a good use of Twitter? This question is asked by many people every day. At the moment I am endeavouring to put together a Twitter strategy for a professional services firm. What I find very frustrating is that people who do not want to engage find it very easy to provide examples of how pointless Twitter is. However, there is one bright shining example of how to use Twitter really well that can beat back all those arguments against Twitter and social media in general.

Much of what runs over Twitter is tripe, pointless comment made over the minutia of life, but Hadfield is able to transcend this, turning the ordinary into insight.

 Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times

That example is Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut currently based in the International Space Station. He combines a beautiful eye for photography with a real ability to engage with ordinary people. He also has a rare ability to include a really meaningful comment that seems to go beyond the simple interpretation of the actual words. Follow @cmdr_hadfield now.





Is Graph Search a game changer?

18 02 2013

Niall Harbison, co-founder of Simply Zesty, will be a popular speaker, I suspect, at DMX Dublin 2013. The Simply Zesty story is fantastic and it’s great to see an Irish company doing so well. Niall recently spoke at a PM Forum event in the newly refurbished offices of Ernst & Young. He gave the following advice which I thought cut through the haze that often surrounds social media.

  1. Pick one channel and get it right
    The four dominant social media channels are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn with Google+ coming in fifth. Niall’s advice was to ignore this months trend and get one of these channels right.
  2. Blog
    Simply Zesty owes its success to top quality blogging. If you blog then you own the content, it is always yours.
  3. Set goals
    It might be a bit of a cliché but how many so-called social media experts fail to set real, meaningful goals that make a difference to your business. Collecting ‘likes’ or followers is not a real goal.
  4. Avoid the “arms race” for Facebook likes
    The new Graph Search feature currently being rolled out by Facebook will make chasing vast numbers of ‘likes’ almost irrelevant. Facebook will allow users to search based on what their friends recommend rather than the quantity of likes.

I was very struck by how powerful Niall believes Facebook will become. He cited the example of Netflix using Facebook logins to illustrate how he believes that Facebook will soon be the real backbone of the Internet. Combined with the potential of Graph Search Niall sees a strong future for Facebook.





Turning Leinster Rugby into an elite organisation

6 02 2013

Mick Dawson, CEO of Leinster Rugby, addressed the January 2013 Marketing Breakfast. Mick took the audience through the journey that Leinster Rugby has taken from the amateur to the professional to the elite era. To give some perspective, when rugby union turned professional Leinster Rugby had no structures, no fan base, played three matches a season and was seen as a stepping stone to the national side. Today it has:

  1. 145 employees
  2. A turnover of €17 million
  3. 13,000 season ticket holders
  4. State of the Art facilities in UCD
  5. Plays 28 – 33 matches a season

We live in a moment where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when is it already disappearing” RD Laing

From a marketing perspective a key message that I picked up from Mick was the importance of managing people and relationships. Mick and his team have to manage relationships with professional sporting bodies, players, sponsors, supporters, volunteers and the amateur side of rugby in the province. I was very interested in the emphasis Mick put on this. For example, the supports club is a separate entity to Leinster Rugby but they meet regularly to keep in touch with what the supporters are saying.

Leinster Rugby has also invested in trying to understand their audience and their brand. They carried out a brand study to see how they were perceived by a cross-section of stakeholders including season ticket holders, clubs, schools, staff, players and sponsors. Based on the result of this study they made three key decisions:

  1. the brand was Leinster rather than Dublin and they need to expand outside the traditional south Dublin stronghold
  2. a new logo was need to drive the brand forward
  3. the profile of match attendees needed to change from men in their 50’s to families

This clear understanding of the brand has helped position Leinster Rugby as the “12 county army” and a remarkable sporting and commercial success story. Mick’s full talk is available on the Marketing Institute’s YouTube channel or you can view my interview with Mick below.