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LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

IDG Connect 0811 LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

In this week’s marketing news roundup I will be focusing on LinkedIn’s new B2B ad services and B2B marketers turning to digital.

LinkedIn Launches B2B Ad Services

Last week LinkedIn launched two new ad products, Lead Accelerator and Network Display. These allow B2B brands to search for sales leads and place ads across various websites as well as its own. The professional social network has partnered with AppNexus to deliver ads based on LinkedIn data not only on LinkedIn’s site and apps, but a network of 2,500 of other business-focused websites.

This announcement follows LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of B2B marketing platform Bizo. The acquisition, which cost the social media company $175 million, looks like it has been busy with its new toy as it’s set to take on the advertising world.

linkedin lead accelerator product image 1 1002x625 LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

Source: Marketing Week

The Lead Accelerator product allows brands to place a pixel on their websites, which uses cookies to identify LinkedIn users so advertisers can get a better understanding as to the types of people visiting.  This captures missing details of professionals who have visited brand websites by overlaying anonymised LinkedIn data over the brand’s site traffic.

To reach these users, LinkedIn’s Network Display will use its targeting insights to retarget visitors to third party websites and on its own platform. This will allow marketers to deliver relevant content to the right audience.

It seems this is just the beginning of LinkedIn’s expansion into the B2B marketing space. With these type of offerings and access to 347 million professionals, LinkedIn’s positioning looks promising.

Read more…

 

What’s your content “type”?

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Whats your content type?

Jason Gorud – Vice President – IDC/IDG

I am not a thought leader.

I will not pretend to be one.

What you are about to read is not thought leadership. It’s just something worth thinking about.

My current role gives me access to some of the most interesting, influential, technology in the B2B space. More importantly, it puts me in touch with the marketing professionals and media agencies that sit at the forefront of the promotion of these wonderful solutions. Having had the chance to meet so many brilliant people I consider myself blessed. I am continually amazed by the tactics, strategies and little “tricks” employed by individuals and firms alike as they go about their business of building brand, pipeline and awareness for their respective companies.

My firm is often called into an organization in an advisory capacity to help groups understand a myriad of market complexities faced by tech firm executives; market share, vertical trends, new market entry strategy, channel ecosystem challenges are just a few of the areas where we attempt impart insight and actionable advice.

I have noticed that the aspirational goal of nearly every marketing professional I speak with is to position their firm as a “thought leader”. Almost with out exception the meetings I have with my clients, irrespective of the solution being covered, will meander into familiar territory: a chat about how to ensure their firm is seen as the“thought leader” in the [insert any tech solution here] space. Whether it’s OpenStack, smart cities, Software Defined Networks, mobile devices, printer ink, or cat toys everyone is zealously certain their message (and by extension firm, people and solutions) should, nay MUST, carry within it the holy seed of true THOUGHT LEADERINESS ( hmmmmmmm #ThoughtLeaderiness??? ).

In fairness, some do accomplish this goal, but most do not. Just like good and evil, smart and dumb, beautiful and ugly, Bert and Ernie, normal me and me being terse are mutually exclusive, yet co-dependent opposites, so too is though leadership content and the mundane. In each case one must exist in order to define the other.

So how do tech (actually you could replace tech with ANY) companies establish this coveted pre-eminence in the market’s collective brain? Why through effective content marketing of course! Thought leadership doesn’t simply descend from heaven in the form of an omnipotent alpha-Geek imparting the one, true path to CIOs by doling out wisdom via a series of arcane, magical gestures and select speaking engagements. If only it were that simple and TED talks that productive.

We’ve all heard that content is king. I disagree.

“Content” is this gigantic, nebulous, unchained beast to which all marketers have all become addicted.

Ladies and gentlemen, all you fans of irony in general, I give you the Ouroboros of marketing! King Content is king because we are told it’s king!

Content is not a monarchy, it is a meritocracy where only the best shall rule. Sadly content creation is out of control.

Don’t believe me? As far back as 2010 Eric Schmidt estimated humans created, every two days, as much content (information) as we had from the dawn of civilization until 2003. That was five years ago! Granted this is all content for allpurposes, but you get the point. And since the tech landscape hasn’t gotten simpler, and the range of personas buying solutions continues to expand outside of the CIO’s office, you can bet tech marketers haven’t slowed down in their Sisyphean attempt to keep prospective buyers abreast of the best [insert tech solution here]in the market. On a personal level, one of my clients told me their firm generated over 3,000 pieces of unique content last quarter alone. When I asked why I was told (verbatim): “We want to be the thought leaders in this space.”

So if you want a super-stressed, time and attention span deficient, self-educating, hyper-connected, socially plugged-in customer to actually read and react to your message, you’d best chain this beast. He’s not reading 3,000 pieces. You’re lucky if he reads three. Ask yourself: what am I releasing into the market and for what purpose? Is it worth the time, money and effort to get CONTENT X into the mainstream (and track it’s effectiveness)?

Here’s a handy little chart to help evaluate content types. I call it the Jason’s-Self-Evident-Quadrant-for-Content-Analysis, or the slightly more sexy version for the content cognoscenti the JSEQfCA . It just rolls off the tongue.

01c5ef6 Whats your content type?

NOISE: Do you produce a lot of content filled with jargon, buzzwords, aphorisms and techno-speak? Are your corporate videos super slick, produced by an agency rep that’s trying to channel his or her inner Fellini? Congratulations, you have produced Noise. Of all 4 types, this adds the least value to the market. It is neither informative nor interesting. No one intentionally creates Noise just like I don’t intentionally try and annoy my partner. It just happens. You start out trying to get a compelling message to the market and the next minute you’re being rather aggressively told to stop watching reruns of Escape to River Cottage and take the dog down (NOW) to go pee. This type of content is often created with the assumption that what is being released into the market builds brand. It usually doesn’t.

YOUR ACTION: Lazy marketing. Stop making this all together. How can you tell it’s noise? If you redact logos and any reference to your company in it and a 3rd party has no idea who the content refers to or what action he or she is meant to take after consuming it, then you have Noise.

FACT SHEET: Do you dig tech specs? Is feature/functionality your particular area of strength? Enjoy commissioning 20 page white papers on why your solution performs better than your competitors in a test environment? You’ve got Fact Sheet content! Please note that while this is quite useful to many IT decision makers, and can be quite important in the short-listing process, it does very little to engage the reader. It’s the content equivalent of eating a Clif Bar. Oh sure it has nutrients and keeps you going, but no one ever uttered the phrase “Damn, that was a delicious Clif Bar”. Fact Sheet content educates on specs, but does little to provide the reader with context vis-a-vis the problem your solution addresses. For some reason tech marketers love handing this type of content out at industry events.

YOUR ACTION: Important stuff but use it sparingly and never in lead gen or brand building campaigns. This content is best supplied as an “upon request” item. How do you recognize Fact Sheet content? If you hand it to someone not in your industry and they come away utterly dazed and confused, but when presented to an expert they say something like “oh X is .05 nanoseconds faster than Y? Neat!” you have Fact Sheet content.

FAST FOOD: We’ve all eaten McDonalds. Admit it. You have. Once in a while it’s the meal of choice because it’s cheap, easily procured, comes with a toy in some cases, and quickly consumed. It’s (possibly) a little tastier than a Clif Bar but you won’t ever fondly look back on “the best McDonalds ever” that inspired you to eat all the items on the menu because it’s just so forgettable. “Snackable” content such as infographics, “gamified” content, Tweets, this article I’m writing, and the like fall into this category. It will keep the consumer engaged for a short period of time, is great for building awareness, and is excellent for driving potential clients to more “dense” content. Unfortunately it lacks gravitas and usually won’t get people thinking of you as the guru in any field.

YOUR ACTION: This stuff is easy to crank out, easy to burn through, is great if you need to go wide and want your message shared socially. Understand that it does very little to affect a purchasing decision the further down the funnel you go, but it does grab attention. And just like McD’s builds item after item repurposing the same basic materials – really how different is a Big Mac from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese- crafting this content using source material from, for example, Fact Sheet content is a great way to “compound”, improve ROMI and create message cohesion. It works best in social media and ad campaigns. How do you know if you have Fast Food on your hands? If you read it and your response is “Ok cool… So?”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: You don’t tell the market you’re a thought leader, it tells you. In a recent study my firm completed comprising of nearly 300 CIOs in AP, we found that outside of security and compliance, a whopping 69% of respondents viewed the driving of profitable revenue via innovation as their chief responsibility. For your content and firm to be viewed as “thought leader worthy”, you must speak to this mind-set. Great content doesn’t talk tech or product or market leadership, it speaks about enabling possibilities. It fearlessly sees around corners and inspires new perspectives. People want to buy from thought leaders. They want to work for thought leaders. They want to partner with thought leaders.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing content form factor with respect to “types” but Thought Leader content can come in all shapes and sizes so there is no formulaic approach. What you say is more important than how you say it.

YOUR ACTION: This is tough. You can’t simply will this stuff into being any more than I could convince the students at my high school that I was cool back in the day. Stupid Northwood HS class of ’89… I digress. This is where you need to fundamentally begin applying the less-is-more approach to your broader content strategy. Focus and refine. Here’s a little trick: try having someone NOT in your industry interact with your content. See how they react. The ability to inspire the uninitiated is often a good litmus test.

So in closing I wish you all good luck in your pursuit of creating amazing content! #ThoughtLeaderiness!

Linkedin is the Favorite, Internet of Things & The Importance of Email

IDG Connect 0811 Linkedin is the Favorite, Internet of Things & The Importance of Email

While a lot of last week’s spotlight was on Katy Perry’s infamous Superbowl left shark, in the marketing world there was much talk about LinkedIn, the Internet of Things and Email.

Linkedin is the Favourite for B2B Tech Content

IT buyers still heavily rely upon traditional content to educate themselves throughout the customer journey. White papers are viewed as the most popular type of content buyers consume to receive analysis of technology or business issues and trends. However, more buyers are beginning to see the value of accessing content through social platforms.

As buyers are seeing this value, more marketers are beginning to adapt their content to social with 81% of marketers now creating content specifically for social media, according Eccolo Media report. However, when it comes to their platform of choice, their behaviour doesn’t match their expectations.

The report found while 21% of buyers receive vendor collateral through tweets, only 6% expect Twitter to be a source of content. Similarly, when asked which social channels they have received vendor content through, more respondents say Facebook than LinkedIn. But when asked which social channels they’re most likely to consume vendor content from, LinkedIn is the most popular platform. In other words, technology buyers actually receive more vendor content through Facebook but perceive LinkedIn as the more likely channel to receive such content.

This perceived preference for LinkedIn is supported from IDG Enterprise’s recent research which shows three-quarters of B2B technology buyers rely on LinkedIn, while less than half turn to Facebook. Demonstrating a brand victory for LinkedIn and opportunities for marketers in the future.

Read More… 

B2B Social Media: “You’re going the wrong way!”

IDG Global Solutions

By, Jason Gorud

One of my favourite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In it two mismatched travel companions are forced to endure each other and suffer through a series of unfortunate incidents as they attempt to make their way home for Thanksgiving dinner. In one scene, the two protagonists are on a snowy freeway late at night driving the “wrong way”. While they are on the right path directionally (homeward bound), they are literally driving into oncoming traffic. A concerned couple on the opposite side of the freeway starts screaming “You’re going the wrong way!” Not comprehending what they couple is trying to tell them John Candy assumes the couple is drunk and cynically asks Steve Martin “How do they know where we are going?”

This scene feels a little like what we see on a macro level from the increased push by B2B marketers into social media. Everyone has a goal(s) in mind, everyone seems to be heading towards that goal. Much like in the movie, the problem is one born not so much out of ignorance, but through a series of misaligned choices.

It’s only when we look at the unquestioning adoption of certain social media effectiveness metrics that marketers have been lead to believe are gospel and then examine the corresponding strategies being built on those metrics, that we start to see why some companies are heading down the “wrong way”.

When my firm asks our customers what they expect from a broad social media strategy we often get the following vanilla answers:

  1. Enhance brand awareness
  2. Cost reduction (on marketing spend)
  3. Improve customer experience
  4. Enable innovation (this is more ‘vanilla-swirl’ as not all companies state this as a goal)
  5. Increase revenue

No ‘shockers’ on this list and I have ranked them in order of immediate achievability (the ranking is just my humble opinion). Rather unfortunately many of the clients I speak with state enhancing brand awareness as their initial objective when the discussion starts but only really want to talk about getting to ‘increased revenue’ as fast as possible. Unsurprisingly, very few can articulate how they will map their strategy to achieving revenue growth – they just know they must!

As the conversation continues, cost reduction is quickly reclassified; this isn’t a goal, it’s the a priori reason to use social media. “It’s free” they say, “and once people start sharing and retweeting, our promotional costs will just naturally fall. Hooray!”

Improved customer service and enabling innovation are both brushed aside as many simply pay lip service to “listening” as a way to address these goals. Further marginalization occurs due to the fact that most marketers don’t have personal KPIs tied to these activities.

From there we quickly get to the topic they really want to talk about: how can I generate more leads from social media (i.e increase revenue)?

So rather than view the new “IT” thing in marketing as vehicle to enhance existing programs and achieve those goals, many marketers look at social media as a stand alone initiative. This view essentially forces most to apply metrics they feel should link directly to achieving specific KPI’s attached to more traditional objectives like market share, NPS or new customer acquisition.

And here’s where the initiative ultimately begins to fail and the “social media thing” starts to feel like a whole lotta hype.

In 2014, Gallup released findings from a poll they ran that showed less than 40% of its respondents felt social media had any bearing on their decision to buy a product. I’m sure this is disheartening to marketers; companies in the US spent over $5B on social media advertising! Seeing as how only 5% responded that it “strongly” influenced their buying decision, you have to wonder how anyone is tracking ROMI against this channel.

It’s a fool’s errand to attempt to question a consumer on his or her personal buyer’s journey as it pertains to their response to specific marketing tactics, but the findings are telling nonetheless: Assuming your social media program is going to immediately net you new buyers and bigger wins is risky – especially in the B2B space. You simply cannot rely on the usual metrics people apply to social media activities to gauge overall effectiveness.

The biggest problem we see in the B2B space is this: rather than crafting a strategy that leverages the data that comes out of a well defined social strategy to achieve their goals, businesses are hoping that social and it’s impact on their content marketing strategy will simply net them wins. Consequently the metrics being deployed are not only too simplistic, they aren’t in anyway “linkable” back to executive level goals like revenue generation.

The many successful marketers we speak to have reached this conclusion:

Social media enables success; hyper-attention to social media ‘success metrics’ does not.

If you want social media to work for your firm quickly look at adopting the following mindset:

  • See it for what it is; a component of your marketing strategy that enables and enhances, not something tto be treated as a stand alone initiative.
  • Patience is key.
  • Move beyond measuring social media’s impact on your business via metrics that offer no real insight: page views, followers, shares, retweets, likes,etc.
  • Use the activity and resultant data from social media initiatives to form what we call customer-centric outputs.

So now you’re very likely thinking or shouting to no one in particular “Jason! Oh mighty king of useless jargon, what do you mean by customer-centric outputs?” Right?

So in the spirit of #ThoughtLeaderiness I give you the Jason’s-Blocks-of-Simple-yet-Difficult-Social-Media-Outputs. It’s more commonly referred to as the JBoSyDSO(note to the fellas: The ladies love them some JBoSyDSO so drop it into conversation the next time you’re out at the club looking to make a great first impression – pronounced just like it’s spelled by the way):

07009d9 B2B Social Media: Youre going the wrong way!

To enable an output-based program you have to be patient. The value of the “outputs” only grow over time. As data aggregates, the ability to conduct longitudinal studies grows; insight into regions, verticals, companies and even individuals becomes so much more rich – and with this your ability to make intelligent choices in marketing, sales and product development improves.

And this is the difficulty many firms have: patience and willingness to make basic investments in the systems that enable an effective strategy. I won’t spend time on specifics of tools out there as the topic is myriad, but solution types can broken into 5 basic categories: monitoring, management, engagement, analytics and influencer. We can save this subject for another time…

Let’s briefly cover the outputs which are unique in nature but overlap frequently:

CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION: Can be used to analyze the nature of conversations by individuals or groups. Practically speaking, discussions mentioning company name can be linked to brand awareness, while posts where specific product, tech specs or attributes are being discussed can be used to identify an individual as a prospective buyer worth nurturing, or an account worth exploring. Highly active individuals can more easily be clustered as Hi-Po targets with corresponding tailored marketing strategies.

COMPETITIVE AWARENESS: Useful when monitoring competitive product launch announcements to determine sentiment versus your offerings. Also allows for competitor campaign countermeasures – especially when said campaigns involve FUD or otherwise unfriendly information being used against your firm.

CAMPAIGN CURRENCY: A great way to garner near real-time insight into the effectiveness of media and marketing initiatives. Not only does it provide you with the ‘what-is & what-isn’t’ working feedback, you also gain the ability to monitor conversations as they evolve vis-a-vis brand comparison enabling you to improve on future campaigns. Properly utilizing this information enables companies to more adroitly tweak messaging to meet customer interests as they change throughout the lifecycle of their initiatives.

FOCUS GROUPS: This is kind of a no-brainer. From a psychological stand point, people in general don’t always give the most honest of feed back with respect to brands, campaigns or products when put in a room with a bunch of strangers. Plus conducting these on-site groups is expensive and a pain in the backside. The impersonal nature of the web however is a different story, it allows for much larger sample sizes and ensures that feedback (data) is more easily archived and used in a far more scientific manner.

Proper deployment of these ‘outputs’ with social media acting as the engine driving them allows for the identification of tangible metrics and actionable data with respect to the aforementioned 5 goals:

  1. Brand sentiment, buzz and growth are, as mentioned, the most immediate and directly affected by nearly any campaign; your ability to influence and enhance are greatly magnified via social channels.
  2. As campaigns and initiatives are now being more accurately monitored via live feed back, tweaks can be made to eliminate spend on inefficiencies. Very expectedly, through comparative study over time, firms begin to see content distribution costs decline as a result of shares, retweets and the like.
  3. Customer feedback – both solicited and unsolicited – can be viewed across multiple products, channels and regions; services can be proactively deployed (and communicated) to a broader audience before larger problems arise; specific individuals can be quickly identified for a more personal touch.
  4. Based on trends and aggregate voice, combined with competitive intelligence, companies can quickly respond to market needs from a product perspective, inform key demographics of their “Next Big Thing” should they so desire, and use inputs from the corresponding feedback to improve product/service enhancements as they are occurring.
  5. Whitespace accounts, high-potential buyers and at risk customers are more quickly identified and addressed.

It is therefore advisable that the traditional social media metrics be used versus the outputs on an individual basis, not in trying to create direct correlations to the goals one seeks to achieve. Companies are best served by endeavoring to create more tangible links (KPIs) from the outputs to those goals instead. By doing this your social media initiatives will net far more benefit to your organization as a whole.

So in closing, be patient, stay focused on your outputs and not the minutiae of the metrics. By moving away from gauging success based purely on tactical, easily counted data points, and redirecting your energy to building outputs that link to your goals, you will right your “vehicle” and start driving on the correct side of the road.

Spoiler alert: They make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.

3 Easy Ways to Put Mobile First in B2B Marketing

ClickZ

The world is increasingly mobile, but many B2B brands are lagging behind. Here are three steps to take your business mobile-first.

The Radicati Group predicts that by 2018, 80 percent of email users will access their email accounts via a mobile device — and this goes for all email, not just B2C email. B2C brands already understand the rise in mobility within their user base, and mobile-first strategies are proving to be big winners. In fact, Savings.com, a B2C website, reported a 1000 percent increase in revenue by adopting a mobile-first marketing strategy. But this mobile-centric strategy still evades many B2B brands, often because B2B brands feel their demographic isn’t engaging on mobile devices.

Russell Glass, head of marketing products for LinkedIn, says, “Mobile is becoming increasingly important to B2B marketers because they recognize the captivating nature of that experience. We’ve seen this phenomenon on our own platform with 47 percent of our traffic now coming through mobile.” Meeting your customers where they are is the best way to provide a better experience, and gives you the highest probability for engagement.

Many B2B brands may have forgone a mobile-first strategy because they may not fully understand what “mobile-first” really means. In these three easy steps, any B2B brand can put mobile first in their 2015 marketing strategies, and easily provide a better marketing product — and a better experience — for their customers.

Read more…

Software Marketers Blaze Trails in Data-Driven Marketing

IDG Connect 0811 Software Marketers Blaze Trails in Data Driven Marketing

Technology is changing marketing in a hurry, and some CMOs have acknowledged that the unrelenting pace of the transformation intimidates them.

In a survey conducted by Forrester Research and Erickson Research, 85% of 117 CMOs surveyed said their responsibilities had changed significantly in the past few years. Amazingly, 97% of respondents only expected the pace of change to accelerate. The change is coming so fast and so furious, in fact, that 34% of the CMOs in this survey described the changes as “overwhelming.”

There’s one group of CMOs, however, that seems undaunted by the pace of change, and that’s software marketing executives. Because of their comfort with the world of technology, software and tech marketers, in fact, are far ahead in embracing marketing technology and the data-driven, customer focus this technology enables.

A study we conducted last year at my company, Bizo, before it was acquired by LinkedIn, provided some insight into just how far software marketers are ahead of their peers. Software companies have long been pioneers in B2B digital marketing. They were among the first to build websites back in the early days of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s. They blazed trails with display advertising and were among the first to see the value in search advertising, content marketing, and social media. Even when they made missteps, such as jumping on the MySpace bandwagon, the experience of these early adopters allowed them to quickly grasp the significance of other social media launches, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

The Bizo special report, “The Data-Driven Marketer,” indicated software marketers are also leading the way in adopting data-driven marketing practices. In The Data-Driven Marketer survey, Bizo queried more than 850 marketers. The responses showed that the subset of software marketers is far ahead of all respondents in virtually every aspect of data-driven marketing.

Read more… 

2014 B2B Content Marketing Report

 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report

IDG Enterprise partnered with the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn to conduct the annual B2B Content Marketing Survey to better understand the current state of content marketing and to identify new trends, and key challenges as well as best practices.

Key findings include:

  • Lead generation is by far the number one goal of content marketing, followed by thought leadership and market education. Brand awareness is now the third most mentioned goal, taking the place of last year’s number three goal: customer acquisition. (Click to Tweet)
  • Companies with a documented content strategy are much more likely to be effective than those without a strategy. Only 30 percent of companies have a formally documented content strategy. (Click to Tweet)
  • The most mentioned content marketing challenge is finding enough time and resources to create content. The next biggest content marketing challenge is producing enough content, followed by producing truly engaging content to serve the needs of marketing programs. (Click to Tweet)
  • Content marketing ROI remains difficult to measure. Only a minority of respondents consider themselves at least somewhat successful at tracking ROI. (Click to Tweet)
  • LinkedIn tops the list of the most effective social media platforms for distributing content marketing. The runner ups are Twitter (moving up one rank compared to last year) and YouTube (moving down from second to third place). (Click to Tweet)

This new Content Marketing Report is based on over 600 survey responses from marketing professionals.

View the slides now… 

Global Social Case Study: C Level Spain LinkedIn Group

DIRECTIVOS DE ESPANA C LEVEL EXECUTIVES LINKEDIN GROUP
ENHANCED COMMUNITY THREADING – SPAIN

GOAL:

IBM NEEDED TO GET 300 ATTENDEES WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THEIR DIRECTIVOS DE ESPANA EVENT

EXECUTION:

IDG SENT EMAIL PROMOTIONS LINKING TO THE DIRECTIVOS DE ESPANA LINKEDIN GROUP AND POSTED POLLS/QUESTIONS TO THE GROUP WEEKLY TO DRIVE ENGAGEMENT

RESULTS:

Screen Shot 2014 11 18 at 6.23.25 PM Global Social Case Study: C Level Spain LinkedIn Group

For more about Enhanced Community Threading…. 

 

 

Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

We Are Social

A very smart ebook was produced by the team at We Are Social (a social agency) to talk about how brands need to become social businesses. This ebook is a fantastic read for all. Below is a quick summary from their site, as well as a link to download the full ebook. Our clients are going through this revolution to become social businesses… what more can we do to help?  / Colin Browning, Director, Social Media Marketing Services at IDG

Social Brands: The Future of Marketing
Social brands aren’t just brands with a social media presence; they’re brands that put social thinking at the heart of all their marketing.

They’re brands that are social, not just brands that do social.

They’re brands that always strive to be worth talking about.

But how can marketers actually build a brand worth talking about?

Building a Social Brand
This is the topic we explore in “Social Brands: The Future of Marketing“, our in-depth eBook that explains how to put social thinking at the heart of yourbrand.

You can download the complete book by clicking here, but here’s a quick overview to get you started:

1. Social equity drives brand equity
The brands that drive the most favourable conversations are the brands that can command the greatest and most enduring price premiums.

01 Everything should drive conversation 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

2. Communities have more value than platforms
Marketers need to use new technologies to add new kinds of value; not just to interrupt people in new ways with new kinds of advertising.

3. All marketing must add value
When it comes to people’s attention, interest and engagement, your brand isn’t competing with your competitors – it’s competing with everything that really matters to people. Marketing that doesn’t add value will simply be ignored.

4. Go mobile or stand still
Mobile devices are already vital to half the world’s population. Very soon, if you’re not bringing your strategy to life on a mobile, it’ll never come to life at all.

02 Todays media reality 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

5. The rise of the comms leitmotif
Now that marketers are no longer constrained by the crippling costs of broadcast media, we don’t need to distill all our communications down into lowest common denominator messaging. We can tell more complex – and more engaging – brand stories that evolve over time and across channels.

6. From selective hearing to active listening
Social media monitoring isn’t just about post-campaign reporting; the real value lies in listening to the organic conversations of the people that matter to you, and using these insights to develop richer, more tailored strategies.

06 Social listening can add value everywhere 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

7. Experiences are the new products
Product differentiation is no longer enough to ensure lasting success; brands need to deliver a more holistic set of emotional and functional benefits that engage people’s hearts as well as their heads.

8. Civic-minded brands are best placed to succeed
Society increasingly expects brands to give back at least as much as they take. As a result, marketers’ concept of CSR needs to evolve away from one of mere guilt relief. We need to see CSR as an opportunity, and use resources to build and nurture communities where people will welcome brands’ presence and participation.

07 Rethinking the concept of brand value 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

IDG Connect 0811 Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

In January 2006 Twitter didn’t exist, blogging was mocked, and Facebook was for students. Over the following five years social media took off, but still many people questioned the importance of social networks in the B2B space. Now in 2014, its usefulness has been proven over and over again and it continues to gain momentum. In fact, as content marketing gradually grows in importance, social media is playing an even more significant role.

Summary

New research conducted in November 2013 by IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B Information Technology (IT) buyers are currently using
social media networks in their purchase decision process. Social media is not only important for companies, but it is now a necessary investment and crucial element of any go-to-market strategies. And findings suggest this is only set to increase over the next couple of years.

  • 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process
  • Social media is used most often in the general education stage of the buying cycle
  • 89% of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content in their favored social media channels
  • 62% of IT buyers are most interested in seeing e-seminars (virtual events) from social channels
  • Product/Service reviews are the content types that IT buyers prefer to see links from via social channels
  • In two years, social, peer-generated content will have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions

Please or in order to access this content.

Screen Shot 2014 01 13 at 4.39.11 PM Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014