B2B Trends and the Digital Edge

Sunday, March 18, 2012

By Adam Kleinberg

I'm speaking on a panel on the Top 10 Digital Trends this Tuesday at 4pm at the Hotel Nikko at the Digital Edge conference put on by BtoB Magazine.

What am I going to say? Here's some high level thoughts....

Experiences, not ads.

One of the trends that is sweeping through the marketing landscape is a shift from ads to experiences. Sounds very buzzwordy, but what does it mean?

Obviously, ads still exist. They're not going anywhere, but from my perspective they are evolving rapidly and are just one piece in the puzzle of an overall brand experience.

The traditional funnel model of communications planning is incomplete. Marketers still need to drive awareness, interest, consideration and purchase, but today that's not enough. They must find ways to provide value to customers. They must find ways to facilitate and amplify brand evangelism. And they must deliver all of this to people who are engaging with media on their own terms.

I don't believe that campaigns are dead. But today, they are only one part of the equation.

Re-scoping social media.

It's great that you have a Twitter account. Really it is. And if you've made the effort to organize your company's 437 Facebook pages into a meaningful structure that makes sense to your customers, huzzah!

But in order to have a complete social media program, brands must think holistically about the how they approach social. Social media has permeated every aspect of the enterprise and does not belong in a silo.

At the core of any complete social program is a strategic plan for driving insight and measuring ROI for your efforts. Beyond that brands must think not only about their social marketing efforts, but how they will approach customer care, outreach and empowerment of their people, organizations and even products in a social landscape.

Social CRM.

As I mentioned before, customer care is a critical component of a social program. People tweet the moment they have a brand experience. That is both a curse and a blessing for marketers.

I'm likely to tell the story of when I was giving a presentation using Citrix GoToMeeting last year. I had several folks on my team presenting in the conference room to a client remotely. We fired up the projector, loaded up GoToMeeting, but when the client got on they couldn't see our screen.

Extremely frustrated, I tweeted about the issue I was having in a not-too-friendly manner. Within minutes, someone from @gotomeeting tweeted back asking what the problem was. I told them and they directed me to the specific FAQ on their website with the solution to my problem. And I fixed it.

Seven minutes. That entire episode took 7 minutes. Not only was I able to have my presentation, they effectively turned me from a hater to a lover. That's social CRM. and that's the reason that companies like GetSatisfaction, Jive Software and Lithium Technologies are redefining the term "customer service" right now.

Creativity and data.

Business intelligence has become an entirely left-brained affair. Under steep pressure from the CFO, marketers have been focused entirely on using data (the same data their competitors are using) to drive short-term revenue with little thought about the big picture.

The result is that brands today are becoming commodities.

Brands need to use the right side of their business brain too—the part that fuels creativity, subjectivity and intuition. They need to look beyond what easy to measure and optimize to realize the full potential that data can unleash.

One example, when we were launching a brand campaign for Alibaba.com, we found that one of our TV spots was experiencing significantly higher viewthrough rates than the other two we had shot. We were able to adjust our rotation on our TV buy in response to the data we had collected online.

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and and a founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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