June 14

Social Media Pundits Disconnect from B2B Marketing

Social Media


As someone in B2B, do you feel left out of the social media buzz? I read a good article on "What’s Wrong With Social Media For B2B Marketing" by John Miller who also writes the Modern B2B Marketing blog.

John’s article highlights something most of us in B2B marketing have come to accept. B2C marketing gets the vast majority of links and clicks while B2B hears the quiet sound of crickets chirping.

I remember when I started blogging in 2003 and there was only 11 true B2B marketing related blogs. Now there’s are over a hundred. John lists about 80 of them on his blog.

John concludes, "The result is that there are fewer pundits and thought leaders writing about B2B marketing, resulting in fewer links to those early adopters who do write about business marketing techniques. And since links mean leadership on the web, the result is that the less-trendy subjects in B2B marketing—like marketing accountability and lead management—get left behind."

Personally, I think the reason B2B marketing receives less attention comes down to time and momentum.

I don’t know a B2B marketer who isn’t swamped and time constrained. They often have more projects than hands to do them.

Plus, there are more B2C marketers than B2B marketers. Why? There are simply more consumer buyers than business buyers. And as consumers, it’s easier to understand B2C marketing experiences, concepts and ideas. There’s just more to write about, more people and thus there’s more momentum.

B2B is more complex. Complex things are harder communicate and take more time and effort to build momentum. For example, my business partners and I were talking at lunch about why Steven Hawking is less known at this stage of his life than Albert Einstein (don’t ask why were talking about this). One person said, "You can put Einstein’s E=mc2 on a t-shirt and then a consumer will buy that. You can’t do that with Hawking.”

My point? Those who spend more time talking about the trendy marketing mediums (ie. Blogs, podcasts, WOM, etc.) are easier to link to than those who are talking about the strategy and execution aspects that B2B marketers really need. It’s a momentum thing.

B2B marketers may never have the same amount of buzz as those in B2C and that’s okay. B2B marketing isn’t a popularity contest. It’s about results. Without us, B2C marketers wouldn’t have anything to sell and our economy would suffer. That’s a fact. And that’s why I love it.

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Hi Brian:

    I enjoyed this post and have worked with many tech companies that have struggled with how to best utilize social media in B2B markets.

    Insight24 is a tool that is successfully utilizing social media and Web 2.0 functionality for B2B marketers http://www.insight24.com .

    If companies have invested in developing rich media assets that you describe (podcasts, webcasts, corporate videos, etc.) the network gives them a new life in the “free to post, free to use” site. They are developing a community and resource for people to understand what technology leader’s offer today and the direction that they are heading. There are also some community participation features such as the ability to rank and comment on content and the ability to subscribe to keyword and category-specific RSS feeds.

    I thought that people might be interested in the service for their own use. There is also an upcoming webinar on the topic http://showcase.insight24.com/?techtrends


    Mark Peterson

  2. If it’s true that B2B is, as John Miller say, the “stepchild” of B2C marketing, it is not because of it complexity or because is quality content is underrated by search engines. Content is still what people look for first. Unfortunately, websites and blogs are optimized based on keywords, and once where words were ambiguous, they no longer seem to be.
    I am in the promotional advertising arena, which is considered the “stepchild” to Madison Avenue advertising. I focus on B2B. I read Brian’s blog because if provides content I want to know and in turn, helps me get the results my clients want. However, I did notice the words “Buzz,”sexy, and “trendy” in the post and in the comments. These are B2C words, expressively created by those who market to consumers. So, if we adopt their words, we have to play by their rules. At one time, these same words were considered complex terms, but now they are popular.
    Also, If I were to put a graphic of the cosmos on t-shirt along with Stephen Hawkin’s autograph, some consumers would definitely buy it. If I were to print the same graphic on a t-shirt but underneath it printed,”You want it, you got it! Toyota,” nobody would buy it.

  3. Good post Brian. I have focused almost exclusively on B2B internet marketing over the last six years and have learned that B2B lags in adoption. One of the top reasons is conservative top management. Another key reason is direct sales leadership that does not want anything challenging their influence – internally or externally. I just completed a comprehensive review and presentation of Web 2.0 for a B2B client. I had to pound through 500 pages of analyst content to get a few useful links out of the deal, but it was worth it. Maybe I’ll do some posts on findings if I get time. But, just like you said, I’m swamped!!! 😉 Gotta go

  4. I have experience in the B2C world (ad agency) and the B2B world (media and software companies). I think that the main difference between B2B and B2C is that even the most widely bought business services are inherently niche. In any organization there is usually only a few decision makers for any product, be it office supplies, labor, or software. Where as, for B2C, almost everyone is a decision maker or influencer. A Nike ad can directly influence almost anyone to possibly buy their product where as a Cisco ad, no matter how effective, will not be of interest to most people.

  5. I agree with your post. B2B is about results and it may not be sexy and we may not beable to do a lot of fancy promotions and cool branded entertainment, but we do show the true economic and business results of marketing. A social media strategy is appropriate for all marketers (including B2B). Our’s just may be a bit more challenging. Thanks for all the great info!


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