Whether you drink champagne, coffee or whisky behind each of these iconic drinks you will find an appropriately named ‘Master Blender’. The job of this highly skilled individual is to source the finest natural ingredients and blend them together to create a consistent and high quality product year after year.
Creativity, passion, craftsmanship and precision would be words used to describe legends of their professions like Dom Perignon, Etienne Moernaut and John Ramsay.
With the explosion in recent years of new channels, new technologies and new perspectives on the world, it’s become increasingly important for B2B marketers to become Master blenders within their own organisations.
The challenge is to constantly assess which channels are required to achieve key business targets and then manage budgets and resources to deliver against them. Sound familiar?
In recent months, I’ve felt a little uneasy writing this column and focusing solely on social media. To me, the challenges we face in B2B marketing are more about the blending, integration and optimisation of channels and resources and less about social media per se.
Every now and again something new will pop up like Vine or Google + and they are deserving of special attention but the real value these days is integrating and blending social media with the rest of the business.
Here are my 5 quick tips for fast tracking this process:
1: A sense of purpose
A recent Harvard Business Review article stated that companies with a clear sense of purpose (above and beyond making a profit) outperformed their sector by a factor of x 10. Your purpose (or mission) is what drives and motivates all your internal resources and when executed well creates empathy and loyalty with your customers and partners.
2: Outcomes not Outputs
We’ve all lived with social long enough to understand the basics of what it can do for our business. As we mature, it becomes ever more critical to focus less on the social outputs (tweets, re-tweets, likes, followers, conversations…) and more on the business outcomes i.e. customer experience, meetings, sales, loyalty.
3: Trust in your data
It’s easy to get lost in the jungle of organisational data and business intelligence. B2B marketers need a snapshot view of which media channels work best. If your newsletters and email campaigns are yielding x 10 returns vis-à-vis social channels, then it’s only sensible to question the value of social media in your overall mix.
4: Don’t fake it
Even today, many B2B brands still try to manufacture content in order to kick-start a sales conversation. The real goal is to try and source the original content owners and story makers within your own organisation and give them a platform to share their experiences in an authentic way.
5: Keep listening
Business today is in a constant state of flux. Social media gives companies real time access to the thoughts, opinions, issues and conversations of any given market or community. Integrating this insight with business and marketing strategy can create real advantage if executed well.
There is a great distance between where we are today and where we need to be. The journey looks different for every organisation and that’s what makes business so interesting and dynamic.
Take some inspiration from Dom Perignon who was attributed the famous quote: “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars” and see if you can put some fizz back into your integrated marketing strategy.
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