Adopting a social mindset requires a change in culture. Tough to accomplish. Now layer on top the added complexities of a B2B sales cycle, strict industry regulations, and dozens of regional markets. Welcome to the world of Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist at Philips Healthcare and keynote at our upcoming Forrester Interactive Marketing summit in London on May 23. Clive has managed through these complexities to create successful B2B influence marketing programs in customer communities like Philips NetForum and public communities like LinkedIn. I recently caught up with Clive to learn more about how he did it. I hope to see you in London where Clive will share the full story!
CO: What’s unique about nurturing influencers in a B2B environment?
CR: Building relationships is the key aspect of nurturing influencers in a B2B environment. In many B2B industries the sales cycle can be quite long, and much longer than in B2C situations. It is important to work towards long lasting relationships, where you can learn about the needs and interests of the influencers that you have identified and that you supply them with information and continue to have dialogue that is useful to them. In that way both parties have a win-win outcome. It is also possible to find out the channels within which they are most effective.
CO: You gained the buy-in of Philips board on your social media strategy proposal. What tips would you give to others to gain the support of the C-suite?
In 2007, Forrester published our first report on engagement. We defined it as "the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence that an individual has with a brand over time." Fast forward five years: marketers still prioritize engagement in both principle and practice. Why? Two reasons, really. First, it's the right aspiration. When a brand gets it right and earns a place in the ongoing dialogue, its customers become its fiercest advocates and a kind of outsourced marketing department. Second, it's hard to do. Today, we're talking about ongoing interactions that somehow manage to stay authentic and personal despite the explosion of devices and customer touchpoints. So, as marketers, I believe that we prioritize engagement because we enjoy the challenge (Solving it makes victory all the sweeter!).
On May 23 in London, I'm hosting our inaugural Interactive Marketing Summit on the topic of Mastering Digital Engagement. Our external keynotes include Debbie Weinstein, Senior Director of Global Media Innovation at Unilever; Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist at Philips Healthcare; and Jermaine Dupri, Grammy-award winning producer, CEO of So So Def Recordings, hip-hop artist, and songwriter. I'm a bit in awe of their fabulousness. You can expect our keynotes to address key points such as: