Sometimes I like to ‘connect the dots’. Ya know, see the big picture from the collected bits of information …
So I bring you three articles from the blogosphere that are instructive, quality posts about B2B marketing and the loathed social media marketing bubble (yes, I think we industrial marketers loath it):
1. Industrial Marketing Is Not Consumer Marketing by Mike Collins
As AJ (see article #2) says about this article, it is great and timeless. Mike identifies the challenges of industrial marketing (over consumer marketing):
- Product complexity
- Industrial buyers
- Bids and quotations
- Advertising and promotion
- Market information
- Industrial market research
- Product range
Really it comes down to the fact that we have to be skilled in marketing to a ‘niche of a niche’. The focus on providing useful information in B2B alone trumps focuses taught/required for consumer marketing.
This article is a great raison d’etre for the B2B marketer and back-up for anyone who questions what we do (and why). Go read it.
So, what’s that got to do with social media? Maybe you can see where this is headed. See the next article …
2. Are Social Media Right For All Manufacturers? Maybe Not by AJ Sweatt
AJ saw the same article by Mike Collins and went on a tangent about the fact that industrial marketing is so different, social media doesn’t make a lot of sense:
As I read Mike’s article, I realized it also provides compelling reasons why Social Media – despite its extraordinary adoption rates and promise – just aren’t up to the task of serving as many of the marketing requirements in industrial as they do today for consumer marketing.
Here are 3 weaknesses of social media when used primarily to serve the manufacturing & industrial buying cycles:
- Serving Discovery …the effort and resources necessary to ‘push’ messages with the cadence necessary to possibly connect with someone receptive to your product or services at the right time and in context are prohibitive…
- Serving Research Behaviors …buying events around discrete custom parts manufacturing or capital equipment purchases are episodic to the extreme. They just don’t happen frequently, which can somewhat lessen the importance of the ‘conversational’ qualities of Social Media….
- Building/Sustaining your Brand …the traction manufacturers will see using these tools alone to do that will likely be disappointing because an industrial branding message won’t find large samplings of the right buyers on current Social Media platforms…
3. 6 Reasons Social Media Sucks, But You Need to Use It Anyway by Tom Pick
Great article title, and let’s just take a look at those reasons: why SM sucks:
- It’s full of self-promoters…
- It’s more of a place to interact with peers than to engage prospects…
- It’s an easy way to waste a lot of time…
- It means giving up one’s privacy…
- It’s just another avenue for spam…
- It’s hard to measure the ROI…
Tom does offer a tonic to these six sucks, six reasons why social media “is essential anyway”. I’ll not repeat that list, but it does hit some talking points you would expect from the SM blogosphere, although much more contrite and realistic. The point is, there is some positive value, but back to Mike’s article, it depends on the niche of a niche you are serving.
What’s Dave got to say?
Here are three cases I think SM may make sense:
- Industrial products with high user customize/configure needs (programmable devices, for example).
- Ongoing promotion to your customer base is a stategic part of your marketing (selling ad-ons, upgrades).
- As part of a content marketing program (which, of course has its own needed justification).
That said, the capital equipment that I market doesn’t fit those cases, and there is a ton of work I could do within my traditional marketing tactics to support future sales … I’ve got bigger fish to fry!