Marketers Accepting Social Media

Guideline recently asked B2B and B2C marketers to rate the effectiveness of various online marketing tactics.

Almost all marketers surveyed used some form of social media. However, business marketers reported more success with podcasts:

21% of B2B vs. 13% of B2C listed podcasts as “effective”

17% of B2B vs. 6% of B2C favored blogs, and

14% of B2B vs. 11% of B2C preferred RSS feeds

As you know, I’m a big fan of using Second Life for promotion and it seems B2B marketers are starting to catch on with 8% of business marketers rating Second Life as an effective new media platform, while consumer marketers had either not tried it or the sample size was too small to include. As I’ve mentioned previously, I think B2C marketers are missing a major opportunity by ignoring Second Life. This virtual world has so permeated our society, while reading Dean Koontz’s latest book the other day, I was amazed to discover the double-life Koontz’s villain described leading was actually in Second Life. With members in the millions spending real dollars in this fake world, brand owners should really take a second look at “lifers.”

No surprise, the most common online marketing too in the B2B world is the blog—although I’m surprised to see the adoption rate of corporate blogging is still so small. Fact is, if you want to position yourself as a subject matter expert, a properly linked, digged and lensed blog will take you farther than just about any other method today.

About one-quarter of B2B marketers surveyed had tried a viral or participatory ad campaign, while 29% sponsored an online community or discussion site. Also in the study, B2B and B2C marketers revealed they were unsure how emerging vehicles such as blogs, games, social networks, virtual worlds, widgets and wikis would actually influence potential customers.

Clearly, we need to publish more ROI on the subject because – as many of you have heard me say – the immediate metrics captured in online marketing makes it the most effective promotional tool today. Never before has so much real-time information been available to us. The opportunities to play are there. According to Forrester, 53% of marketers surveyed anticipate increasing their overall marketing budget this year, and, of those, the average increase in spending expected is 28%.

However, there is a still a fear of new media here. Although the survey found more marketers used e-mail, search and webinars in 2007, B2B has a long way to go in terms of the transformation to digital media. Blogs, online video, podcasts and other emerging media were used by only about a third of survey participants.

Report author Laura Ramos, a VP at Forrester says, “There’s still a perception that it’s expensive and difficult to do online video, or create rich interactive applications that demonstrate your product and tell your story. Rich media is well suited for B2B because of the high-consideration product sales and the long sales cycle. It is a medium that is interactive, that is visual and auditory, and more engaging to the visitor and [which] may tap into their emotions and their motivations better than other media.”

The onus is on marketers and PR practitioners to demonstrate the value of online marketing to our clients and corporate leaders. So, let’s get our metrics out there and move that needle for corporate adoption!

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