I had an enjoyable time presenting to the MarketingProfs Business-to-Business Forum 2009 in Boston this past June. Karen Breen Vogel from Cleargauge and I presented a session on building great business-to-business Web sites. The interest in creating user-centric Web properties that effectively drive business objectives is still in critical demand, and the sessions were well attended—proof that the corporate Web site is indeed thriving, critical and more important than ever. In line with analytics and Web sites, this year’s buzz was around social media and how it relates to business-to-business marketing.
Here are my two takeaways from this year’s conference:
1. Social media is not a strategy unto itself.
2. The charm of Twitter isn’t just in enabling dialogues but in being able to search and connect with dialogues that are happening in real time.
1. Sandy Carter from IBM led a compelling session that talked about IBM’s use of social media marketing. IBM parallels a lot of our clients’ experiences around using social media for hard-working and fruitful business applications: enhancing virtual trade shows, listening to audience conversations, launching products, leveraging user communities to help aid in R&D product development, propelling public relations, or using social media to help aid in service and support are all real-world business-to-business social media applications from which most clients can benefit. Seeing IBM’s work reaffirmed the adage that social media is not a strategy unto itself, but rather an exciting collection of new communication tools that should be used within integrated marketing efforts.
2. Stephen Johnson, fresh from his recently featured cover article in Time magazine, talked about Twitter. For those techno-skeptics, Twitter represents another new communication tool, another buzzword that needs to be learned and understood. But Twitter’s real-time search capability puts a whole new dimension on how users will leverage search in the future. Twitter search is an almost real-time search across occurring dialogues and culled from people who can be, in theory, known to you. And that is a very different search experience than what a traditional Web search engine creates. Twitter has put a new dynamic into play as to how people search and receive their results.
Senior Vice President- Global Practice Leader – Digital