B2B the full story #iStrategy

AKA: Everything You Wanted To Know About B2B Social Media (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)
It’s hyped by the name so let’s see how deep we can go.
And our cocreators are:

Menno Likendijk – Director and Partner, Milestone Marketing

Jeremy Makin – Director of Media Sales and Strategy for Optism ,Alcatel-Lucent

Ed Bezooijen – Director of Marketing, Citrix Systems

Moderator:: Martin Meyer-Gossner – Strategic Marketing and Sales Services Director, IDG

To give us a feel for the marketplace Martin quotes:
B2B online just released the impressive stat: 93% say they’re ‘using’ social media.
Quite what that means is another thing.
Heres some of the areas Martin is using:

“ @Jakes5000: #iStrategy  B2B social media blueprint http://t.co/1zEhr0H

Lead Generation and building relationships is at various levels across the panel. Some with every associate participating, others with trained empowered social media hub and node teams within the organisation.
Citrix, being very wary of code of conduct, nondisclosure and how you communicate. All associates are aware and marketing, PR and customer support, engage accordingly.
They’re also wary of being to pushy with sales.
Alcatel-lucent adding:  The B2B sin, is spending time planning the wedding not the marriage? Beautiful brochureware with no ongoing though leadership or content strategy will die.
Insight generation is something many have explored, yet again this requires an org structure and overall understanding of Social Media that let’s those on the front line raise issues with the appropriate leader/contact.
It is interesting to note those experimenting and retrofitting social media to their marketing strategies. Vs. An integrated approach.
Retrofit – Tweeting invites to the event you planned, tweaking posts to LinkedIn etc. Local twitter accounts, millions of pilots etc.
Integrated – Lead generation and insight generation funnel, leveraging the different communities and the interactions within them. A funnel and Social Media Architecture that aligns with the marketing and growth path for the organisation.
Parting nuggets:
“Just do it”
“It’s game changing”
Enable your teams, not with “howtos” but also content
Get your content strategy right.
Have a plan
The nugget I’d offer – if you’re starting out, think like Agile Software developers.
1. If you can’t have a full plan, then at least get your headline elevator pitch for the strategy.
2. Don’t do anything that conflicts with that headline.
3. Get going.
Then communicate and collaborate internally as you would on Twitter, LinkedIn or FaceBook
4. Get your content strategy in place.
5. Outside of your core streams and messages, allow associates the freedom to engage and make them aware of your strategy. Train then, offer the basics.
6. Don’t toe dip, but if needed, chop you’re presence development to bite sized stories.

What’s your Social Media Architecture? #iStrategy

OK, two of my favourite hashtags in one session – WOOT

Coming back from meat stew, and feeling it we get @jmichele Joshua-Michele Ross

We run some great kinestetics – getting us to trace clockwise circles on the ceiling with our finger – bring the finger down to eye level and down to your waist, and now it’s anticlockwise! Social media is a complete perspective shift. The way we see an org via social media, vs. how do I manage social media and how my org functions, are still totally different perspectives.

The current fast moving landscape
Our attention is a leading indicator, of where we will spend, a lagging indicator.
This reflects in the way even mainstream news is spreading.

Information is moving in realtime and we need to adjust to react, From twitter, to blog post, to mashable, to New York Times, and then print.

Here’s the report predicting when newspapers around the world will fall. http://www.futureexploration.net/recentmedia/

Social Media Architecture is moving from pages and campaigns to coordination and connectivity. @jmichele s view is that your architecture should encompass: Utility durability and beauty – customer centric, longevity and uplifting people.

Understand your communities When you’ve roped out stakeholders, audiences their shared passion, concern or need – take a look at your communities and their basic need – then focus on it.

Some of the basic needs communities will have:

– Inspired entertained – Earn status
– Learn
– Get support
– Be rewarded.

You could layer culture and language, but these are the basics for any community.

Your internal structure, hubs, nodes and centres for excellence should focus to the basic needs, eg, ‘get support’ need means realtime responses from experts, or ‘learn’ should come from true though leaders.

Empower those closest to the community, and scale this with guidance and a blueprint. Having decentralised social media communications or interactions, is a lot easier for organisations that aren’t stuck in a top down internal push model. And companies with a diluted sense of purpose or brand find this hard to shake externally especially in social media.


Topping out a GREAT post lunch presentation @jmichele Ends with a great slide on how to structure for Social Business that speaks for itself.

To quote a fellow attendee:

” “@roelandeuser All you need to know to get started http://yfrog.com/gymgsqlj #strategy ”

Nick Allen


Social Networking & the B2B Economy #iStrategy #LinkedIn

Stepping into B2B mode Eugenie Von Wiechen from LinkedIn, bringing us the current stats continuing their impressive growth and looking at the network effect and putting things into context.

I keep giggling at conversations I’ve had with HR associates everywhere of how we shouldn’t promote the use of LinkedIn. “PEOPLE WILL FIND THEM. We will loose them to competitors!” – HR

“Sorry I didn’t catch the last part, I was reading a post from an HR though leader in Social Media….” Nick

Sharing or collecting information is still bound between three arenas:

Personal, professional and family – which provide relevance to the topic at hand. With as many levels of crossover as people. As mentioned coming out of the FaceBook keynote, it’s inherently more relevant if a colleague or peer recommends the B2B you’re exploring. – Generating new business via a FACE to your business is invaluable! The faceless organisation will become obsolete!

Providing relevance, a background and referees for the writer of your latest article, CEO of your company seems like a no brainer! On the platform
Some of their latest releases, news and extended company pages, addressing the on off nature of LinkedIn.


The table agreed there’s the creative and frictional costs to do viral campaigns and large social media efforts well. At a second personal level – Empowering and teaching non digital natives how to be social AND leveraging your base of employees to share, create and amplify the message of your brand is a todo NOW, not a FY2013 goal. Seems we’re all facing “we should be in social media” from the C-Suite which is promising.

Not acting outweighs the risks of getting it wrong? Well… We were split on that, still fears or repercussions. So do it with structure and with training and understanding throughout your org.

Philips commented in via their global head of digital with good nuggets:
– Plans and guidelines need to be in place, don’t prohibit, but teach them the basics. – Speak only when your really have something to say as well! – Be prepared for any change this engaging may bring to your org. – their winning LinkedIn Groups are free from ads and push, NO SALES PITCH, but are about educating clients and thought leadership!

Small biz nation from HP was another LinkedIn Group to check out.

On empowering your employees to act as brand ambassadors, we agreed:

– If your Brand values and employee engagement are right, you have a better chance of succeeding, and some recruiter not headhunting your biggest Klout scorers.

Now for LUNCH!

Nick Allen


I’m your number 1 fan! Keynote panel #iStrategy

Interesting session walking us through Facebook analytics, social CRM, and engagement 

Call me old fashioned (or daft) but working in a regulated B2B environment I’m less bullish on our engagement opportunities for ‘sales’ via Facebook. I’m not talking legal issues or fund management out in the open, I would however love to leverage it more for graduate recruitment.

And hey, it’s the new white pages – and if we (prof service firms) keep silent, just syndicating /RSS feeding our PR, we WILL begin to stick out!

On to the panel.

Jan Rezab talked SocialBakers.com and their analytics. 

Through great FaceBook analysis they highlight opportunities to engage – take your pages beyond just content syndication and into engagement. Bring to light their wonderful notion of Superfans those that would answer on your behalf about your Brand. 

Stephane Lee showed us Dimelo.com and their engagement come social CRM offering.

Showed nice segmentation of FaceBook page, search functionality and videos within.

Humoured me that Orange instead of addressing WHY people were asking questions, worked on ways to channel those discussions out of central FB page ‘message’.

Panel members

Manny Anekal from Zynga (farmville)

Julien Fourgeaud Rovio (angry birds)

and Arno Lubrun from FaceBook

Gave some nice nuggets.

With startups, and smaller companies it’s inherent that everyone is engaging via social media and spreading the word about their company, their @brand accounts therefore are manned by their executives, answering as many tweets as possible, replying to posts and questions.

Organic blueberries on farmville linked millions of users to a US farm – with some nice in game engagement, and I’m guessing lingering reminder in your space.

Facebook Pages – are they a good strategy going forward? 

FB say – keep it relevant, and distinguish yourselves. Organise conversations, engage, poll and prod your fans to come back. 

Some are saying the flow of wall posts from someone who is a ‘fan’ of many things, overwhelms. Hmm, like Twitter? Tweetdeck Hootsuite I say!

All reiterate that Geolocation will grow. FB to leverage this soon perhaps? Acquisitions coming?

Mobile is enormous focus – they’re improving for ads, media and games. Apps on their way.

The best way to build on Superfans?

– get them involved with the brand, Face to Face and let them participate and shape your companies direction.


An aside – Food for thought.

Via open API, and a quick ringround of all the point solutions, when can someone give me an integrated dashboard solution?

Something that: Allowes us to collaborate on content, publish it to our web presence (brought and owned) to measure engagement, search for opportunities, report analytics, and disseminate best practice…

iStrategy notes day 1 #istrategy Philips keynote

Under the mood lighting of iPad and iPhone screens, we’ve just wrapped up the first of the morning sessions of iStrategy Amsterdam.

Some of the nuggets included fantastic storytelling through the Philips – Nigel and Victoria series on YouTube. Based around Nigel the Philips marketing guy and Victoria the product tester and actress. Leveraging stories their consumers could relate to, with comedy and cliffhangers to keep them hooked. They’re incorporating product placement, educating potential clients, adapting and shifting their story for:

Constant ongoing engagement! User experience as @ThomasMarzano reiterated reaches far beyond how well your website funnels sales. Could they find the answers to their problems at the moment they needed them, offline or online, and were they enlightened or excited enough to SHARE that! Moving from a product based Brochureware website to a needs based total web presence is needed NOW.

Educating clients and potential clients in language they understand is a lesson we can well learn in the B2B consultancy space!!!

Finding and providing methods for your brand advocates, clients and colleagues to amplify Your story. It’s got me thinking…

Better in Beta – Agile Marketing and Products

101/365 - Control

As I chew though our FY2012 marketing process, I couldn’t help but think of a more Agile approach. Why limit this iterative fast moving approach to just software development? Switching gears and channels at market speed.

I struggle to see how the market will be the same in a years time for any business these days. Let alone start-ups and anyone wanting to be cutting edge.

With an agile business – priorities will shift.

OLD: Am I meeting outdated budgets and targets. NEW: Have I balanced the risk of pushing a bad release vs. not being first to market.

What if Beta options become mainstream?

AB testing is a step towards this, but what if we marketed with bravery, tried that strap line that wasn’t quite on brand, or pushed the boundaries. Moving to weekly releases means you can adjust to topical issues, allow for the weather, factor in days your team are away. Or if man flu strikes, push lines with great Wife Acceptance Factor.

From a business perspective, moving your product or service to subscriptions or royalties is a great model.

The marketer in me wonders what opportunities outside software there are for agile builds in both marketing and daily life, here’s some ideas I have, would love to hear yours.

Life in BETA

TV Beta

  • Ad channel – where you can test various ads
  • Shows – run alternate endings to The Inbetweeners or the Event – with the winning scenario (social buzz) being the one the writers expand on for next week.

Phone Beta

  • Apple send you a shell, or motherboard that you can drop updates into.

Kindle Beta

  • For non fiction – receive updates to core data or facts in a book for a reduced price via subscription.
  • For Fiction – sequels, prequels, or alternate endings. Even downloadable movies once released.

Bike Beta

  • A bike manufacturer running Beta releases, where – for a subscription – you can expect upgrades parts to come out to you at a later date.

Car Beta

  • With hybrid platforms gaining traction, (its an old idea) but what if you could have a skeleton, strap on MPV for outings with the kids or the Ferrari shell for mum and dad night.


  • What about one in the value pack that’s different and a QR code to like it. Lychee in one bottle of cider, nappies with two fasteners, two bagels with raisins.

Life could be better in Beta, what would you like to see?

Photo: Micah Taylor – Flickr

Apps vs. Mobile Websites

NPR iPad App Ad

Like many I struggle with getting to grips with the distinctions of iPad and iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps. Let alone deciding which fits the people, objectives and strategy I have for our digital presence.

Tablets are booming, but still not yet mainstream. Many juggle their corporate issue blackberry and iPhone for a cross mixture of personal and business use.

To add to the complexity, is your company up to managing the development of apps, on top of all the other facets of digital marketing. A large learning curve, even if you’re outsourcing the development work.

So here’s a brain dump on the pros and cons


It’s cool to have an app. A mobile website has little fanfare nor a marketplace in which to promote it.


Scheduled releases, versions and weekly data pushes are good for road-mapping both functionality and content bundles. Good for resource planning. You’re at the app stores’ mercy for release dates though. Smaller shops may escape IT protocol by outsourcing their app builds, which could aid speed to market.

Websites do have the bonus of meeting all mobile devices in a single build, can be modified in hours, and data updated in seconds.

One decision to make, is, does an app allow you to address a specific need, that your website can’t do, due to the many stakeholders. But then again, a micro site could do this, and secure logins could be outsourced (I’m not sure about login protocols via apps).


Both websites and apps have similar functionality, the distinction being the use of native features and seamlessness of an app. Touch screen manipulation and shininess is a little better in an app too. You can tailor both to implied and explicit preferences.

Can CSS3 and HTML 5 (Flash and or Silverlight if you’re that way inclined) let you cut and split data, infographics, build stories and customise, just as an app would?

You can be offline, with an app. But clients could be offline, with an error, that you can’t push an update to! Mind, they could print it too, heaven forbid…

Locked In

Locking your customers into a app, forces the app to meet your projects needs, or implies constant upgrades. Not only to improve functionality, but also to keep clients entertained.

It does mean, with a good app, they’re not tempted to browse away.

They also miss out on opportunities to see what else you’re doing on your website, less you pipe it in.

App Opportunities

I think transactional apps and data manipulation apps have legs. What’s enticing for me in an app is the ability to seamlessly tie functionality together. I see client and corporate dashboards as a more interesting proposal.

  • See your calendar, emails, tasks, documents, collaborate and analyse all in a single tool. 
  • Monitor stuff, get reports and analytics from otherwise disconnected sources in a single place,

Does anyone have any other B2B dashboard apps they like?

Photo:via: Camera Slayer

Structuring Your Company for New Media Success

A Framework for the Social Business

After co-creating live with @briansolis last week I’ve been thinking through organisational structure – with a specific focus on the marketing arm of course.

With an SME, managing CRM, Digital Marketing, Customer Service,The Brand and budgets is relatively easy as you’ve got all those specialist, usually within arms reach. Spread that across an organisation in 5 continents with thousands of employees, and it’s a different story.

In today’s economy, with the emergence of New Media and the expectations our clients are setting, large corporations need the agility to react, just to stay in play.

Its time to arm the organisation!

Training Hub

A central team, formulates the Brand Strategy and scalable tactics for engaging with clients. This hub has the power to teach and spread skills, discovering regional experts. Best practice and guidelines are spread, and adapt with Agile velocity.
Together with training, the central hub helps with: “listening” tools and setting up internal communication streams. It sets paths and priorities for connections with HR, Accounts, Sales, PR and internal experts. The central team ensures New Media and engagement are a priority for these teams.

Regional Spokes

Spokes lead to these trained, or digital natives, empowered throughout the organisation. They are charged with evangelising the brand and marketing best practices, highlighting failures as well. Local nuance, tactical site choices, regional preferences are made, yet central learnings and “tone of voice” (set by the Brand definition) remain intact. Country level or service/product level hubs develop.

Feedback Loop

With the entire marketing organisation engaging with clients, actionable insights and leads need to be spread. Connected marketing analysis is recorded via a global campaign management system, or engagement “logging” mechanism of sorts. A weighted best practice library will develop, honing organisational learnings and adapting the training manual. Leveraging the engagement log as validation.

Hub nodes, with their local or specialism insights, feed back to the central team. The training manual adapts, budgets expand, and revenues rise. With hubs, nodes and spokes in place, the model will expand beyond marketing. Silos, knowledge, thick hierarchies and power hoarding will recede. Replaced by a customer and community centric, learning, agile organisation.

Armed with insights, outstanding levels of sales response, customer service, and in contact with their brand evangelists, the company can attack 2011!

Dellb2b huddle with Brian Solis – My notes

Quick thoughts from today’s DellB2B FIR Google huddle.

To really leverage Social Media- It starts with a company that is behind your efforts! As a whole, top down, from the Csuite.
So to get buy in, budget etc. Stop talking about social media, talk about who you’re trying to reach.

By not saying anything in social you’re saying everything. Does that mean you don’t value having conversations with your buyers!?

You can’t let the conversation happen without you and it takes homework and personal engagement to grow a B2B social media presence!

Brian’s recent research:

93% of business buyers say companies should have a presence in social media.

But 83% believe you should engage and add value at a personal level. Not just an rss feed of Marketing speak!

The true value is one to one to many!!

Using social monitoring software to search key terms and brands, may not give you a full understanding of what social media can bring to your organisation and lead generation available. So people may not be discussing your brand per se, but they’re definitely talking your topics! Maybe not in Twitter or FaceBook – but forums, blogs, comments, ratings.

Every company is a media company, proving to client bases that your the thought leader in your space, and at your employees are as well. And taking that to the next level that they are engaging and discussing their topic speciality with clients. To refine these interactions, in terms of spreading your thought leadership, Klout and other measurement tools let us spend time with our potential brand advocates. Leverage their reach in their niche.

The future of business is not created, it’s co-created. As our Brand image in the social space, more and more dictates the direction of our companies. Engaging in social media is investing in insight, becoming the experts you used to employ to spread your brand, learning about the marketplace and adapting first. Putting customers back to the front and centre of your business.