I had the pleasure of hosting an IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) workshop, “Building the Business Case for Social Media in B2B Marketing” at our London office this week. There were 12 IT services marketers attending, and we all enjoyed very informative presentations led by Moira Clark, Professor of Strategic Marketing at Henley Business School. Moira has lots of practical experience and did extensive research work for Cisco in 2009. We also heard from DNX Ltd, a marketing agency with several tech vendor clients, as well from LinkedIn.

I certainly learned a lot personally about using social media – there was quite a bit of “hands-on” work: assessing a company’s social media strategy, comparing listening platforms, and launching a community. Here are some of the highlights that I remember most (and consider me an experienced tech marketer now trying to understand the impact of social media on the marketing mix).

  1. You CAN leverage LinkedIn to start a new community. This is a very realistic proposition that you can drive from Marketing. We were shown a case study of how Philips Medical Systems did that for a community of doctors for one of their solution areas. Impressive! I would guess that medical professionals are one of the more inaccessible targets for marketing/sales. But there are tens of thousands of them already using LinkedIn. Also, I learned that sending a LinkedIn email costs nearly 2€ per person (so that is how they make money) but the investment paid back (even for 30,000 addresses).
  2. There is nothing better than Social Technographics®. I got the chance to present Forrester’s latest B2B tech buyer Social Technographics data. We discussed the European data in detail and also focused on services buyers. I was inundated with requests for more detail.
  3. Everyone has issues with ROI. There is still no holy grail for this. The classical marketing metric in our industry is based on lead generation while the true impact of social media investment is around prospect and/or customer engagement, which produces software metrics. I still think the major issue is that we need to reset expectations with our management of what Marketing is actually responsible for. Look out for a report from me called “The New Tech Industry Marketing Imperative” later this year.   
  4. Use “socialnomics” to make your case. If you still have executives in your company who doubt the relevance of social media in your marketing mix, just play them the socialnomics videos. They show compelling data for B2B as well as B2C.  

I have just co-presented our own POST Workshop for adopting social media three times over the last month, and we are scheduling further dates as we write/read. Some of this workshop will flow into our new, improved, materials (with due citation of course).

Anyway, I’m enjoying our conversations, so keep your comments and emails coming.  If you would like to discuss any ideas on “The New Tech Industry Marketing Imperative,” all inputs are welcome.

Always keeping you informed!