Twice a year, the CMO survey, sponsored by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association and McKinsey & Company, does exactly what you would expect them to do. That’s right. They survey top marketers at US companies. This year’s survey, which includes responses from 255 marketers, is the 14th version of this survey, so there’s lots of data for historical comparison.
One of the unique things about this survey is that the results are not just broken down by B2B and B2C, but they also look at the differences between companies that sell products and companies that sell services. Below are some of the most relevant results to B2B marketers who are managing social media efforts. Wondering how much budget you should be spending on social media or mobile marketing? Here are some benchmark numbers. This is especially helpful if you are a services company. This information is rarely separated out.
The entire highlights document is embedded below, so you can dive into these numbers, and lots more, in detail.Budgets
1. Marketing budgets of B2B companies are 10% of the overall company budget.
2. B2B product companies currently spend 8% of their marketing budget on social media.
3. B2B services companies currently spend 12% of their marketing budget on social media.
4. In the next 12 months, B2B product companies will spend 10% of their marketing budget on social media.
5. In the next 12 months, B2B services companies will spend 16% of their marketing budget on social media.
6. In the next 5 years, B2B product companies will spend 18% of their marketing budget on social media.
7. In the next 5 years, B2B services companies will spend 25% of their marketing budget on social media.Social Media Impact
8. 6% of B2B product companies have not been able to show the impact of social media on their business.
9. 17% of B2B services companies have not been able to show the impact of social media on their business.
10. 40% of B2B product companies have a good sense of the qualitative impact of social media.
11. 50% of B2B services companies have a good sense of the qualitative impact of social media.
12. 54% of B2B product companies have proven the impact of social media quantitatively.
13. 33% of B2B services companies have proven the impact of social media quantitatively.Analytics
14. Only 23% of marketing projects run by B2B product companies use marketing analytics.
15. Only 30% of marketing projects run by B2B services companies use marketing analytics.Mobile and Internet
16. Both B2B product and service companies currently spend 5% of their marketing budget on mobile.
17. In the next 3 years, B2B product companies will spend 14% of their marketing budget on mobile.
18. In the next 3 years, B2B services companies will spend 13% of their marketing budget on mobile.
19. B2B product companies complete 7.5% of their sales over the internet.
20. B2B services companies complete 9% of their sales over the internet.
The woman in the picture is Neslihan Uzun. She is a Survey Engineer for Hyundai Engineering & Construction in Turkey. She has been an engineer for the company for nearly a year and a half, and is helping to build the Third Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, also known as the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. I would recommend that she get the additional title of Chief Storyteller.
This is a high profile project for Hyundai and for Turkey. This bridge symbolizes Modern Turkey. A happy, smiling, female engineer high above the water is a great face for this project.
Hyundai Engineering has a number of social channels including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, even a blog, but none of them have been updated consistently or recently. This picture was not posted on any of those channels.
It was posted on Uzun’s personal LinkedIn profile. And her caption says that she was first woman engineer to walk from Europe to Asia on a catwalk. The main span of this bridge is 4,619 feet long, and when it is completed it will be the eighth longest suspension bridge in the world. It is 1,056 feet high. If strong winds or heights bother you, don’t build bridges. Note that the east side of bridge is in Europe and the west side is in Asia, even though the whole thing is in Turkey.
This photo on her personal LinkedIn page was liked by 16,269 people. That’s half as many as follow the anemic Hyundai Engineering LinkedIn page. And it got 1,793 comments. The story seen in this photo really resonated with people, and tells a much richer and more human story than the single bridge rendering that exists in the company’s online image library.
I couldn’t find any other instance of this photo online. It was not even on her Facebook page, but she did post a video where you can hear how windy it is up there.
What could Hyundai Engineering & Construction do to tell the story of this multi-year bridge project? They could start by seeing what the employees are already doing and re-share those images and videos on their social channels. They could feature a new employee each month and update the progress of the bridge through the eyes of that employee. A bridge is built in the sky, across a road and underwater, and the employees involved with each aspect has a different story to tell about this engineering marvel.
And while this is a B2B company who is looking to connect with other large organizations to hire them for the next project, telling the story of building the Third Bosphorus Bridge through the people building it will also connect it to the people who will drive over the bridge everyday.4 Takeaways from this Missed Opportunity for B2B Companies:
1. Employees create some of the best user-generated content out there. Don’t ignore it.
2. People relate to people. Make sure you are using them to tell your company story.
3. Visual content is more compelling than other forms of content.
4. Even if your social channels are stale and out of date, if something fabulous or relevant comes along, use that as a trigger to jumpstart those channels.
When someone tells you to follow the rules, are you more likely to take their advice or do you believe that rules were made to be broken? There are so many rules governing B2B social media and almost all of them can or should be broken at one time or another.
But the thing about social media marketing and rules is that nobody can agree on what the rules are. Even if you pull back from the strict approach of rules and call them guidelines, nobody can agree on that either.
In the real world, rules are created in response to some complaint or action by someone or many someones. I recently checked into a beach hotel and there was a list of rules on the nightstand. Along with a reminder that guests not clean fish in their room (really?), was one that said they were not responsible for inclement weather. Wait, does that mean that someone complained to the hotel about the weather? I booked my beach vacation and you were supposed to guarantee my family five out of seven sunny days.
In social media every blogger, speaker, consultant and street corner huckster has their own set of rules. And they all contradict each other. Pick a common question and try to find a single answer. Try this one. How many times should I tweet? Once a day? Ten times a day? Multiple times for each tweet? And is that my content or someone else’s? You can pretty much find any answer you want. Want to justify your plan to your boss? You can probably find a blog post out there that supports what you want to do. It may not be from the most reputable source, but someone has likely recommended it.
The makes it easy to follow the rules. But it makes it even easier to break the rules.
What’s a B2B marketer to do?
Since so many B2B companies have very different audiences and marketing requirements, here are some suggestions for creating your own rules for social media. And by following these steps you will have a much better understanding of why you are doing what you are doing. You won’t need some blog post telling you what to do. Well, except this one.
1. Establish goals and objectives for your social media efforts.
This will help you measure success.
2. Decide if you are using social media for lead generation or customer retention.
This will drive your content and calls to action.
3. Determine if you need a local or global presence.
This will set the times of day you share content.
4. Talk to your customers to learn what social media sites provide value to them.
This will identify what sites to focus on.
5. Review what your competitors are doing on social media
This is give you a sense of social media awareness in the industry.
6. Realistically examine your resources.
This will keep you from over-extended you or your team.
7. Test and measure everything you do.
This will ensure you keep doing the things that work for your audience and drop the ones that don’t.
8. Give it time.
This shows you understand that social media does not change your marketing overnight.
Photo credit: Flickr
All B2B marketers are aware of the funnel. The basic idea of attracting a larger number of buyers with marketing or advertising so that you yield a smaller number of customers has been around for more than a hundred years.
Whether you are a funnel-purist, who still firmly believes in this construct, or you think marketing has gotten way more complicated and customers enter the process at various stages through various means, there is still some value in using the funnel as a means to represent the overall approach of the marketing itself.
I call this the content funnel and it sits alongside the B2B buyer’s funnel. You create different kinds of content at each stage of the funnel to move buyers through the process of becoming a customer. Most content marketers focus on the top of the funnel, but important to think about content at all buyer stages.
Top of the funnel is the high level, helpful content that attracts the most people to your company. While not all B2B companies practice this form of content marketing, many do share content that they hope will work at the top of the funnel. For the sake of this conversation, let’s say that your content is entertaining, solves business problems and provides value to your prospects. They gladly fill out your lead form in exchange for your artisanal, lovingly crafted content.
They are now in your marketing database. What happens next?
They download the content, review it and form an opinion about your company. The next move is up to you.
Email them. Spam them. Nurture them. Ignore them.
You may think you know the right answer, but the answer may be it depends. You may actually want to ignore them to see if they do something else. Downloading an educational ebook does not demonstrate product interest. Ask any overzealous inside sales rep who followed up with a phone call. Maybe a high lead score precipitated this call, but the prospect may still not be product or sales ready.
What about an email thanking them for the download? Even though you are really thanking them for surrendering their email address so you can contact them again. But what is the most important thing in that email? A link to the content they just downloaded. That’s right. Here’s the thing that you just looked at in your browser. Or on your mobile device. It’s not always easy to save these things when you are reading them, especially on your smartphone. This also ensures that this email is specific to the content they just downloaded, rather than a generic email with links to other unrelated ebooks. If I downloaded something about social media management I really don’t need to know that you have more information about mobile marketing.
So what about that content funnel idea?
You need to follow-up with something that moves them closer to your product or service. Are they interested in what you have to offer? If your top of funnel content is good, you may have no idea if a prospect has any interest in ever becoming a customer. But if they show some interest in a case study or how a customer has found success in their business by working with your company, they have moved to the middle of the funnel. They have a problem that they are looking to solve.
These middle of the funnel customer stories could be videos. They could be Slideshare decks. They could even be a series of animated GIFs. You can definitely include these in follow-up or nurture emails, along with other relevant top of funnel content. Remember that you are building a relationship with this prospect. If one ebook solved a problem, maybe another one will solve a related problem.
And why is this marketing funnel just as leaky as the sales funnel? Because you can also share this middle of the funnel content on the company social channels. And if they are smart, well-produced content pieces that tell good stories, they will attract buyers who may already be looking for a solution to their problems. And they never saw the top of the funnel.
Next is where content marketers start to get twitchy. The bottom of the funnel. We’re not responsible for that, they say. That’s sales’ job. Or product marketing. I don’t create content about the product. That’s like selling on social media. Oh wait, we do that now.
This makes a lot of sense if you think of this like a funnel and you have the content experts manage the whole process. Start at the top with the theory and strategy of how to do things. Follow that up with how specific customers have succeeded by doing those things. And finally, show how you do those same things with your products. Think of this as storytelling and the funnel moves your marketing from a general and theoretical place to one that is very specific. Rather than disjointed content across the different stages of the buyers’ journey, it is all connected.
And whether the buyers find and follow all this content themselves through search or social media or it is supported by nurture emails or sales reps, they will get a clearer picture of how your company can solve their problems. No matter what stage they are at when they discover your content.
Photo credit: Flickr
B2B Marketers are embracing social media like never before. A report by Content Marketing Institute found that these professionals increasingly view social as essential for developing business, with over 90% distributing content on LinkedIn and 85% on Twitter.
No doubt this increase is the result of B2B marketers leveraging the unique power of social media to deliver information to a customer. As many have discovered, creating and distributing targeted content allows a marketer to build brand awareness, demonstrate industry knowledge and even establish contact with buyers.
But while reaching out through content is important, many B2B marketers may be missing a source of intelligence found on these same channels: social data.Tapping In
Because social media provides unprecedented ways to share and engage with each other on a personal level, it is also a constantly increasing source of customer data. Even a professional channel like LinkedIn has gone far beyond the original resume format, providing a seamless connection between a user’s work and personal lives.
Take, for example, Virgin Founder and LinkedIn Influencer Richard Branson. His posts on LinkedIn cover a broad scope of his interests, from ending poaching and the war on drugs, to more expected content for a professional channel like company culture and entrepreneurship.
It’s not surprising, given that around 25% of the average American’s workday is spent on social media for non-work related activities, that a single platform now offers a combined view into our personal and professional interests. A user can make connections that often range across professional industries, non-profits and even community organizations. Like other social media channels, LinkedIn also gives its users a way to share and discuss topics of common interest, offering an even deeper view into an individual.
So in the same way a marketer’s content distributes information out, this level of social sharing provides data back at a level never before possible.The Opportunity with Social Media Data
Whether selling electronics or tires, B2B marketers must win their buyers’ preference over another brand. Often this starts by making a memorable connection — a key benefit of social media outreach. But by leveraging the social media data provided by channels like LinkedIn and others, a marketer might now be able to learn more about a buyer’s personal interests, the organizations that are important to him or her, and even his or her opinions on an issue. These insights can make connections even more effective.
These levels of data also improve the marketing communications process. By engaging with buyers on social media and paying attention to the information they provide on those channels, a B2B marketer can develop messaging that might better influence them. As a result, marketing content can be crafted to align with those influencers. The instantaneous environment of social media also allows immediate testing of messaging while at the same time identifying new target audiences and informing strategies. With this social data intelligence, the marketer can then activate outreach with greater accuracy and precision.
As its use within B2B commerce continues to increase, marketers will benefit most by leveraging the power of social media to work in two directions: as a means to identify and inform customers as well as engaging with them in a meaningful way. This can be best achieved by tapping into the vast resource of social data.
Photo credit: Flickr
The latest social media industry report from Social Media Examiner is loaded with statistics about social media usage broken down all different ways. Since 39% of the respondents of the survey were B2B companies, many of the statistics are further broken down by B2B versus B2C. Since many of us use these kinds of statistics as benchmarks, I pulled out all the B2B specific stats and grouped them by platform to make it easy to find what you are looking for.
Do these stats reflect your usage of these platforms? Share your thoughts on Twitter with #b2bstats or in the comments below. You can also tweet any of the stats with the link after each one.
- 88% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn (Tweet this stat)
- 41% call LinkedIn their most important platform (Tweet this stat)
- 80% plan to increase their use of LinkedIn (Tweet this stat)
- 71% want to learn more about using LinkedIn (Tweet this stat)
- 88% of B2B marketers use Facebook (Tweet this stat)
- 36% say their Facebook marketing is effective (Tweet this stat)
- 30% call Facebook their most important platform (Tweet this stat)
- 53% plan to increase their use of Facebook (Tweet this stat)
- 57% want to learn more about using Facebook (Tweet this stat)
- 75% have run paid Facebook ads (Tweet this stat)
- 83% of B2B marketers use Twitter (Tweet this stat)
- 19% call Twitter their most important platform (Tweet this stat)
- 77% of B2B marketers have a company blog (Tweet this stat)
- 57% say blogging is their most important content (Tweet this stat)
- 56% have a mobile optimized blog (Tweet this stat)
- 61% of B2B marketers use Google+ (Tweet this stat)
- 55% of B2B marketers use YouTube (Tweet this stat)
- 39% of B2B marketers use Pinterest (Tweet this stat)
- 41% plan to increase their use of Pinterest (Tweet this stat)
- 38% want to learn more about using Pinterest (Tweet this stat)
- 26% of B2B marketers use Instagram (Tweet this stat)
- 40% plan to increase their use of Instagram (Tweet this stat)
- 39% want to learn more about using Instagram (Tweet this stat)
- 24% of B2B marketers use Slideshare (Tweet this stat)
- 43% plan to increase their use of Slideshare (Tweet this stat)
Photo credit: Flickr