Is there any B2B marketing subject of interest today besides social media?

There is a discussion on LinkedIn in the Technology Marketing Community about email subject lines. An especially insightful comment from David Isaac was posted yesterday and reads as follows:

“As content manager at IDG Connect, I wrote more subject lines than I care to think about, and we often tested subject lines. The differences were negligible in most cases. What really seemed to matter when it came to subject lines was the subject. Our subscribers responded to what was important to them. Our ability to dramatically increase numbers with a great subject line was limited.

That said, people did respond more to fresh content. So subject line a) New 2010 Security Report Unveils Latest Trends would do better than, say b) Security Report Unveils Trends.”

His use of the term “fresh content” somewhat clarified why close to 95% of the marketing-publication content to which I subscribe (MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, eMarketer Daily, BtoB, eMarketing & Commerce [eM+C], Media Post Email Insider, Target Marketing) run lead stories, Webcasts and other info almost exclusively focused on social media.

Social media is the “fresh content” hot topic and likely attracts many readers because it’s new. But does this focus truly reflect the time and effort that B2B marketers are spending on social media?

I think not. In fact, I think social media should take no more than 5% of marketing time and budget. There are thousands out there who will argue with this figure. But for most B2B marketers, filling the pipeline with qualified leads using outbound email, direct mail, telemarketing and live events gives them the control they need to generate a predictable number of leads from each B2B marketing effort. Social media marketing cannot do this.

6 replies
  1. Bill Rice
    Bill Rice says:

    Susan,

    I’m not sure I buy this–especially applied to B2B marketing. Social media can be a significant part of your marketing mix. If done right it can be as consistent and predictable as other marketing channels.

    My guess is that you haven’t built or tested social media marketing strategies, campaigns, and metrics on par with what you have done in other media.

    Done in a coordinated way, my experience is that it can be every bit as measurable and predictable as these other channels.

    As droning and mind numbing as the chatter may be it is a part of the changing fabric of marketing. And that is so because people are engaging social media as part of their buying process.

    I’m not downing the importance or effectiveness of any of the other marketing approaches you mention. I’m just suggesting we have to figure this one out too.

    Thought provoking post–Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Susan Fantle
    Susan Fantle says:

    Bill,
    Thanks for your input. I see the value in Social Media as part of a marketing mix, but for lead generation — in which one wants to reach a targeted market with a specific offer, then measure the response to a specific action — nothing beats traditional outbound marketing, regardless of the channel.

    Can Social Media generate qualified leads? Absolutely. Its ability to reach out to specific, targeted audiences is growing as well. But like all channels it can’t stand on its own and for most B2B marketers it is still only a small percentage of their marketing focus.
    Susan

    Reply
  3. Jim Karrh
    Jim Karrh says:

    Susan:

    I am happy to have found your blog via MENG’s “Recommended” list! I don’t have a feel for that 5% social media number, but can attest without reservation that there is absolutely another B2B marketing topic that is of interest: “sales messaging,” or the conversational skills and strategies that salespeople have in the B2B world.

    I spend much of my consulting time doing projects with a firm called DSG Consulting. Nearly half of our engagements these days concern messaging — working with B2B marketing and sales leaders and teams to help them identify their prospects, hone the words they use and train them in tools such as using a whiteboard. During the last 12 months I’ve personally worked on messaging engagements for clients in healthcare, software, cybersecurity, IT outsourcing and web analytics. There is a healthy market for these services because (1) B2B companies need competent sales forces in order to sell high-dollar solutions, (2) most have cut headcount and marketing support to the bone, and (3) the efficiency of a company’s selling processes can be a real competitive advantage.

    This might not be as sexy as social media, but it has the attention of marketing and sales leaders as well as many CEOs.

    Jim

    Reply

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  2. BizSugar.com says:

    Is there any B2B marketing subject of interest today besides social media?…

    Learn why most of today’s marketing discussions focus on social media and how this should influence B2B marketing budgets….

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