You are in the midst of a terrific game of musical chairs. Suddenly the music stops and you can’t find a seat. That’s it. You’re out!
B2B Marketers are in the midst of a great game of musical chairs as they struggle to out-innovate their peers to prospective customers’ attention-share. The staples of customer acquisition are ‘a changin’ rapidly: direct mail became passe, email effectiveness plummeted, the inbound revolution changed the game, and now forms are going away. Getting the RIGHT content, at the RIGHT time, to the RIGHT audience is more challenging than ever.
Social Media offers untapped opportunities to Marketers for 3 reasons:
1) Prospective customers are on social media and are primed to be educated.
As of late 2016 / early 2017, Millennials became the largest generational participants in the workforce and are expected to account for 75% of the workforce by 2025, according to the Brookings Institute. More importantly, 73% of millennials are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies- with ⅓ rd being identified as the sole decision-maker in their departments. The people responsible for purchasing decisions related to products and services are and will be Millennials for the foreseeable future.
Having grown up social, they have come to leverage social networks in decision-making across all aspects of their lives. Business products and services decisions are no exception. 82% Of millennials say word-of-mouth is more likely to influence their decision to buy vs. 62% of baby boomers saying that advertising and advice from a sales rep is more likely to influence their decision to buy.
Millenials buy differently - and social is a crucial part of that decision-making process. With the average Millennial spending 6hrs a week on social media, that is 6 hours where YOU- Mr. / Mrs. Savvy Marketer- could be educating decision-makers about the value of your product or services. To go back to our musical chair analogy, should the timing of the music be foreknown, wouldn’t that put you in a better position to get a chair?
2) Social Media is sales validated by FAT STACKS OF CASH in paid sales commission
One of my former mentor / managers used to repeat ad nauseum that ‘revenue solves everything in business’. Social Media is lowkey influencing sales and it’s no longer a secret. According to the Aberdeen Group, 73% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. As cold calling and spam emails’ effectiveness are diminished, salespeople that leverage social media to build relationships and entertain authentic conversations with their prospects are rewarded handsomely.
3) Unparalleled Learning Opportunity
Nineteenth century Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” This adage has been repeated countless times in B2B Marketing circles often to illustrate the challenge of quantifying “brand awareness” efforts. Such that there is a veil - of sorts, between a company’s branding efforts and its lead generation ones. The importance of both programs is acknowledged, but which matters most at which stage, remains subject to speculation or the realm of anecdotal evidence. Thanks to Social media, that veil is becoming more transparent: a company’s “Day-in-the-life”, “Cultural value position”, and “recruiting event” can come together with your business value proposition to influence your bottom line in a very real way.
There is an adage in Silicon Valley that is preached like gospel, “Fail fast, fail often.” The underlying premise being that failure is one of the most valuable learning opportunities one can encounter. As such, entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply an iterative mindset to product development so as to best tailor their offerings to their customers’ needs. On social media, every single post’s impression, like, tweet, and share offers a unique opportunity to better understand your customers and align your value proposition to their needs - learn, refine, and iterate.
Effective marketing has always been about getting the RIGHT message, in front of the RIGHT audience, at the RIGHT time. Social Media offers an unprecedented opportunity to B2B marketers: prospective customers are engaged and looking to be educated, its impact is sales-validated, and it offers an unparalleled opportunity to better understand one’s customers.
The music is about to stop. Make sure you get a chair!