Light thoughts: A B2B Web Presence

A B2B web presence should be at least a collection of: targeted, integrated, interlinked, ongoing interactions.
For a B2B Consultancy to stand out from the masses and warrant a premium price, the company must stand out. Be it for: knowing the most, offering the best service, consistency, innovation or quality. And their Online presence should express this, be it at a corporate level, or extended to that of its associates, alumni and fans.
The tools are there – PDF thought pieces, ebooks, quick email updates, in depth analytic material or tools, insights into current market developments, events, forums, networking groups, surveys and web-casts. The hard part being creating themes and learning paths to take your clients down – something that engages the client and links to their interactions with their account manager/consultant. Something that rings home with their current issues and the wins they’re after.
A plan might roll out something like this.
  1. Marketing translates and polishes great though pieces into quick to market, well thought out, easy to digest (and share) nuggets.
  2. Events are booked to discuss the emerging themes.
  3. LinkedIn groups form post event, and webcasts or one to ones are booked for further dissection.
  4. Collections of nuggets are turned into publications for distribution and sent with Deep Insights to clients to devour offline.
  5. A full record is kept of client interactions preferences, consulting, thought pieces received and the events they have attended – even what they browse, how much they read and what’s their favourite topic.
  6. Marketing augments client engagement and supports Account Managers with “your clients may like this – please forward or add them to our distribution”.
  7. Possibly networks of clients and consultants form, discussing relevant themes, formulating areas of interest and shaping a companies offerings.

And harking from my Rework chapter today (37 signals)  – Who knows, the company may even start to think like a famous chef, and publish their best recipes for all – knowing that even if a competitor tires to do what they do –  only they know how to really mix the ingredients.

Collaboration of designers and suppliers

I was inspired this morning buy the though that @chrisbrogan was in my time zone (attending a conference in Paris) and that maybe a 30 second tweet up with him would “inspire me for life”. Too slow in figuring an angle and commitments to work meetings meant I missed my window.

Thinking of his Trust agents and tribes throughout the day I got a boost when @dbasulto posted a great post on @archdaily http://bit.ly/4T4vDk

Leveraging networks to collaborate

The post is a great piece of theory any budding entrepreneur should action on.

It’s the kind of thing I think all Designers in New Zealand could do and the UK/developed markets too. For too long we have tried to compete on mass production, doing everything, outsourcing nothing for quality control fears – something we just can’t do with the BRIC nations growing so fast.

Smaller firms or even single entrepreneurs, pairing up with others that have the skills they need to produce great work.

Experts in each area: market, design and produce something fantastic.

There’s even spots to outsource the whole business logistics, accounting and legality side as well.

I think we’ll see more and more simple online packages for startups (accounting/Irenas Cloud Bookkeeping and marketing), and suppliers pricing for one offs rather than bulk orders.

A website to foster this collaboration

One site I’d thought of was to put these two points together. A DIY hubspot where the client has the idea, he picks a skilled designer by resume, who together come up with a good builder and choose the optimum parts for the job.

Just imagine how your next bicycle, car or house could look!
I’m sure someone’s already doing this on a freelance scale, but what about for mass marketed custom goods?

the online space – according to nickwallen

Leaders

Leaders of online marketing – future leaders of all marketing – develop their online brand to create a following.

The following in turn buy their products and information because they are an expert their field – as evident from information freely available on the web.
To be considered leaders and experts valuable information needs to be readily available from them.

Creating their brand online in a Web 2.0 age means transparency and honesty – followers will be quick to drop anything they dislike and their word of mouth – extended by web 2.0 and social technologies can have drastic effects. Yet if they OWN their space their word and brand are the ultimate sales tool.

Being a leader and owning your space – places you at the top of clients’ minds – they’ll scourer your site for information and you’ll be the first person they "reach out to"/contact when they want something.

You need to be listening!

“answer every single email and every single comment on your blog’ for the rest of your FREAKING life.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Converting/making money

An open, transparent and honest leader has no need to shout or hard sell their insight/consulting/research. But how do they convert people who access their site freely – gathering up information – into not just loyal followers, but ultimately paying customers?

The issue we face

We want things on our terms and to feel like we wanted it – we weren’t sold into it. If we’re slowly brought into the fold as a loyal follower, the end sale seems like a logical purchase. We also won’t return the item or argue price, as we’ve seen the value all along as we’ve been following the leader.

Online and offline we want to keep ourselves anonymous and avoid sales, even face to face contact at all costs. Privacy is paramount.

We will accept however a little intrusion to our privacy – and maybe relinquish our email for future updates

  • if that source of information could be sent to us daily
  • if the information they reveal is so compelling that we want the full copy
  • if there’s an anonymous webinar we could watch without the threat of actually hafting to talk to a salesperson

An opening

This inital step, to relinquish even a little privacy, is the window. The key
is that value for money balance and being prepared to give your followers what they want, valuable information, in return for their custom in the long haul.

Using insight gained from their downloads/browsing/IP we can tailor messages, offer relevant articles, even invite them to exclusive events (webinars). We can do all this would even mentioning the product/service or even bringing a consultant or salesperson into the scene. This will keep followers happy, web 2.0 expanding and our online brands alive.

The test for traditional marketers is to avoide temtation. Provide enough tasty information to wet their appetite, and unlearn the hard sell!