Great customer references fuel great B2B marketing. But getting customers to testify or submit case studies is challenging. Good references require investment. But how do you keep customers from feeling like shills for their vendor firms? By involving them in communities of like-minded advocates! That is one hypothesis I plan to explore further in 2009 -- investigating the connection between social activity and greater customer advocacy.
Wow. I am overwhelmed by the response I received from my first post on this subject. Looks like I hit a nerve and inspired some great commentary. In particular, I'd like to call attention to the thoughful response from Arthur Einstein, who is the VP of Marketing at Loyalty Builders. I wanted to comment briefly on what I am hearing from all of you so far. To avoid obsolescence, readers believe B2B marketers must focus on:
Today marks the beginning of my 8th year at Forrester and my 4th year researching B2B marketing.
I’d like to use this anniversary to start a blog conversation about what I see happening in B2B marketing and to think about what’s next. And, frankly, I am concerned about the future of the business marketing profession.In particular, for those of us marketing high technology products and services.
In a recent survey of over 2100 IT professionals who buy or recommend telecom and networking solutions, we found buyers turn to peers and colleagues first, followed by vendor, industry trade, or professional Web sites, to inform their purchase decisions. In fact, 88% said Web sites were important in helping them decide what to buy. However, many tech buyers visit vendor Web sites many times to learn about and compare products, yet few register or leave evidence of their activity.
Last Wednesday, Dan Klein — who heads up tech industry consulting here at Forrester — joined me on a teleconference to talk about how B2B marketers should “Define Your B2B Social Media Strategy.” Web 2.0 marketing is a subject of great interest to business marketers as almost 700 signed up for the Webinar, just over 300 attended, and 120 participated in a pre-show survey. The vast majority of the invitations went out to Forrester clients and, judging by the list of attendees, the participation ranged from large tech firms to small business services providers. Folks from software, hardware, telecom, agencies, start ups, database marketing, and media were present.
What did we learn from this interactive session? Here are a few highlights:
I dug Dave Taber’s latest newsletter edition about “The Life of a Lead”. I mean, I really “Dugg It”. The article includes a link to digg.com, so I clicked it, registered, and voted for his document. Not simply because I like his ideas, but because I want to experience the “wisdom of crowds” firsthand and see how communal voting might apply to B2B marketing.
Recently I saw a preview of Eloqua’s spring release and it got me thinking about the role lead scoring plays in determining campaign effectiveness. I hadn’t seen the product in a while and was impressed with the UI improvements the Eloqua team has produced. They have added new capabilities for delivering highly personalized direct mail, SMS/voice reminders, and on-demand fax and RSS delivery – interesting stuff that, while I’d need to talk to a client or two to be convinced of their specific usefulness, show that Eloqua is delivering a broader range of lead nurturing, drip marketing capabilities. Lastly, new campaign design UI will help shorten the time it takes to get first campaigns up and running.