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Review of Social Marketing to the Business Customer

I’ve read each one of Paul Gillin‘s books and you should, too, including his latest (with Eric Schwartzman), Social Marketing to the Business Customer, a fast-paced ride through the specialty of using social media for B2B companies. I was surprised to find that many B2B companies not only are not using social media to market to their customers, but actually forbid their employees from using social media at all, worrying that it is a time-waster. I deal with B2B companies every day, but this book shows that I am dealing with a self-selecting group and that many B2B marketers are still missing the boat.

Social Marketing by Paul Gillin & Eric Schwartzman

Image by ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr

But the best part of this book is not statistics or advice. It’s chock-full of compelling examples of real B2B companies using social media. Each one might contain a lesson for you. Even though I follow this space closely, I heard a number of stories that I had not before:

  • How a WiFi hotspot vendor used Twitter to learn about a mistake it made and then went straight into damage control, hours before it might have heard the same story through regular channels.
  • How a solar panel manufacturer mined all the discussion in its local area on the subject so they could reach out to prospective buyers.
  • How household name companies use social media to collect innovative ideas from the community.
  • How companies can create a private social media community for their customers.

There are gems like these on almost every page. I especially like books that give real examples rather than just explaining what to do, and if you do, too, this is the book for you. I am not aware of another book that is devotes specifically to B2B social media, and it is different in some ways, so if you are looking for that special slant on social media to try to convince your execs that the time is now, this is the book for you.

One special area of emphasis is lead generation, which few consumer companies need to worry about. Applying venerable direct marketing principles to digital marketing is one of my favorite approaches (which you see in my books), but Paul and Eric take the time to work through the specialty of lead generation in B2B.

The bigger that digital marketing gets, the more there is a need for books that specialize. Social marketing to the Business Customer fills a void in the book market for advice that B2B marketers need to get. If you’ve read it, please leave your comments on the book below. If you haven’t read it, why not?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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