By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
As a marketing manager for a provider of B2B products or services, you know that the first question your executives will ask is “Where’s the value?” of each of your marketing tactics. Even though we are in the digital age, you can’t justify marketing value based on Facebook “likes,” Twitter “follows,” and LinkedIn connections. As it was unlikely that management would appreciate the value of traditional print advertising measures like cost-per-thousand, impressions, awareness and perceptions, the digital metrics provided by internet services are lacking.
Still, digital marketing offers value, as evidenced by its growing share of the overall marketing budget. The key to showing value is to do the additional hard work to translate and extend superficial facts with meaningful business results.
Start with the undeniable ability to own the channel. In the digital world, you can have total control over direct interactions with your target audience. You can control both the timing and content of your messages.
Second, social media “followers” are more emotionally connected. As a general rule, the stronger the emotional connection, the better business outcomes.
Third, social media connections lead to better response rates to traditional promotions. Studies show that 28% of social media followers of a business’ page respond to that company’s direct mail (snail mail) promotions compared to 10% of non-followers.
Finally, 73% percent of social media followers have recently recommended a brand compared to 40% of non-followers,
As with all B2B marketing programs, the road from brand awareness to a sale is long and winding. However, that road is paved with significant milestones – gaining share of mind of the buyer, clearly differentiating the business, establishing a unique solution, building an emotional connection, and finally, sharing a belief in a mutually advantageous relationship.
Despite the opportunity that owned media brings to a business, surprisingly few companies have the content, process, and methodologies in place to fully benefit from direct distribution to a target audience. Even if there’s a plan that has been effective in securing good search engine results and distribution of the brand name, the critical element of engagement is still lacking.
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