Posts Tagged ‘Ambal Balakrishnan’
Since its inception, the B2B Marketing Zone has been the one place to catch up on all the latest posts from the leading B2B bloggers, writers like Brian Carroll, Chris Abraham, Ambal Balakrishnan, Ardath Albee and many more. Over time, the site has evolved and added new features to enhance its value to readers.
The latest addition: Aggregage, the platform that powers the B2B Marketing Zone (or BMZ) has added a robust personalization engine. Readers can now sign-up and have content from the site personalized based on their interests.
To check it out, sign-up using the “Personalize Your Content” button at the top right of the BMZ home page, as shown here.
The BMZ always features great, fresh content from the leading B2B bloggers. The home page is updated daily, plus it’s easy to search posts by blog, topic category, date, company mentions and more.
Now, personalization makes it even better. Curators find the best sources of content. The BMZ then uses social signals from sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and delicious as well as clicks and views. The algorithm that determines what makes it to top of the front page of the site looks at attributes like average values for the source , who is providing the signal, reputation and influence, and other factors.
What’s changed is that now the BMZ enables you to sign up and provide your Twitter and LinkedIn info. The personalization engine will then examine your activity on these sites and what kind of content you share. It uses that data to evaluate your interests as well as to cluster you with other like-minded readers based on interests and sharing. You can further control your interests via the Subscription page.
The personalization engine “learns” about you over time and combines three pieces of information to predict what will be most interesting to you:
- • Social signal score – are other readers finding this content interesting?
- • Topic match – does the subject match your interests?
- • Like sharing – are other individuals similar to you sharing this content?
The engine then uses these signals to both personalize the ranking of posts on the site when you log in, and to produce customized Daily and Weekly newsletters for you.
The goal of the BMZ has always been to make sure readers don’t miss the best and latest content from the leading thinkers and writers in the world of B2B marketing and sales. Now, with personalization, there’s even less chance that you’ll miss a post that is really important—based on what it is exactly that’s important to YOU.
Several great new features were recently added to the B2B Marketing Zone and Social Media Informer by co-founder Tony Karrer. One of the most obvious is that posts now include images, making the sites more visually appealing than the former text-only design.
Both of these sites bring together content from leading experts and companies like Brian Carroll, Paul Dunay, Ambal Balakrishnan, Harry Hoover, Gini Dietrich–really too many to list. You can find a long list of the Featured sources on the right side. There is a lot more content that comes in as well beyond the Featured sources.
The home page itself will show you the latest and best content at any time. For example as I’m writing this, I see a few great posts right up top:
- • 3 Questions To Ask About The Qualified Lead You Just Received…
- • Do B2B Editors Get Twitter?
- • The evolution of social media power and influence
Best is decided by the system based on social signals – that’s clicks, views, twitter, delicious, and other kinds of inputs that tell us what people are doing with the content. And the goal of both sites is to make sure that great content from lesser known sources still makes it to the top.
Each day, week, month and year, each site generates a “Best Of” Edition. You can change the Edition at any time. That allows you to see some really great stuff beyond what you typically see on the home page. For example, included in the July 25th edition on Social Media Informer are these posts (among others):
- • How Small Businesses Can Use LinkedIn to Grow
- • Fifteen Incredible Mobile Statistics
- • Web Presence Optimization, Reloaded
Posts on both sites are categorized by subject. Topics on B2B Marketing Zone include social media, inbound marketing and business blogging. Social Media Informer covers topics such as social networking, small business and brand monitoring.
The intent of the sites is to aggregate and make it easy to find great content. You’ll see only see a snippet of each post. When you click the link, you will be directed back to the source. In other words, we curate the content, but don’t own it. You can still comment and interact with the content on the original site.
Visiting these sites is a great way to find fresh content, but you can also subscribe to newsletter digests on both sites.
This is a quick overview of the new features on these sites. Tony and I look forward to continuing to improve them. If you have thoughts, or comments, please feel free to contact Tony Karrer via email at: email@example.com.
Few phenomena have ever spread as far and grown as rapidly as social media; obviously, this has tapped into something essential to our nature. What is it? The answer may come from the email marketing field. According to a recent study by email service provider Aweber, four simple words virtually guaranteed to get an email opened are: “You are not alone.”
That is what has driven social media adoption. From freedom seekers living under oppressive regimes connecting with each other and with people around the world who support them, to individuals with uncommon viewpoints or highly specialized professional interests connected with the like-minded anywhere on the globe, social media is about not being alone. It’s a way to find and form relationships with others who share our particular interests and passions, whether down the street or on other continents; interesting people with whom there has been no practical way to engage before.
Talking recently with Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess)—partner and CMO at Blue Focus Marketing, a B2B social branding consultancy firm in Bridgewater, New Jersey; 2011 & 2010 winner of the Twitter Shorty Awards in Marketing; and author of the Blue Focus Marketing Blog—we were both struck by how many of the same people we know through social media (and we both learned about some interesting new people to follow as well). Many of these were other B2B marketers, but others were social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities.
Cheryl and I thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on this special social media project—and so the process began for creating the 2011 #Nifty50 List of Top Twitter Women. We decided to recognize and share the names of some of these noteworthy individuals with our respective readers and followers, starting today with 50 remarkable women (just in time for Mother’s Day, as we’re pretty certain that every woman on this list either is a mom, has a mom, knows someone who’s a mom, or some combination thereof).
One source of inspiration was Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women by Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting) and Amy D. Howell (@HowellMarketing), a list on which Cheryl was honored. Though it’s a remarkable list, to keep ours distinct we haven’t duplicated any of Diana and Amy’s picks.
Next month, we are following up with our list of 50 men, just in time for Father’s Day. This list will be posted on Cheryl Burgess’ Blue Focus Marketing Blog. Whatever your role in social media, we hope you find this list valuable in expanding your knowledge and your network.
Jennifer is the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School or Business, and author of The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.
Diana is a USC grad now based in Atlanta. She heads up Adams Consulting Group, a technical services firm specializing in Apple Macintosh desktops, servers and laptops. Diana writes for BitRebels.com and InkRebels.com, and as noted above, her post on Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women was one source of inspiration for this #Nifty50 list. She’s smart, personable, sometimes controversial and never dull.
Hailing from San Antonio, Alicia is founder and CEO of Sanera, a professional development and training firm for sales and business leaders. She describes herself as a “small business coach, speaker, corporate trainer, blogger, singer, lover of life, dreams, family and God.” Alicia is a warm and outgoing social media pro and creator of March Marketing Madness.
Allison lives in the New York City area and works with the Marketing team at Google to explore the changing face of media, mobile and consumer behavior, drive new thinking internally, and communicate Google’s visionary concepts to wider audiences.
Ambal is co-founder of ClickDocuments, based in Silicon Valley. She’s an entrepreneur, marketer, blogger, and alum of Wharton and Purdue. Her Connect the Docs blog—frequently featured on the B2B Marketing Zone—is a platform for her own thought leadership content as well as frequently solicited insights from other B2B bloggers.
Director of Sales for @klout. Though fairly new to Twitter, Amber is active and highly engaging, and her following is likely to grow quickly. A USC grad, Amber’s past includes stints at Hulu, Yahoo!, and the E! Entertainment Network.
Amy serves as social media editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as well as the Features/Travel editor for the newspaper. She’s an informative and prolific Twitterer, and active in Twin Cities social media.
A B2B marketer, strategist, writer and Author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. Friend, mentor, and source of inspiration. Also an expatriate Minnesotan now living in southern California (we miss her, but can’t blame her).
Interactive Minnesotan skilled in web strategy, conversion rate optimization (CRO), e-commerce, SEO, social media, QR codes (she knows a lot about QR codes), design, UX, analytics and inbound marketing. Angie is also a Search Engine Watch columnist and speaks at national events including SMX, SES, and OMS.
Expert Community Manager with the Focus Expert Network, a network of thousands of leading business and technology experts who answer questions and post thought leadership content. Becky is also an MBA Candidate at San Francisco State University with a strong appetite for Social Media and Marketing.
Jenara is an Asia-based filmmaker, organic farmer, and freelance journalist for Fast Company magazine and CNNGo, as well as a Harvard and Berkeley grad. She’s interviewed the famous and not-so-famous from high fashion superstars to up-and-coming designers to UN leaders, literary giants, cashmere producers, and royal mistresses, and her work has also appeared in TIME, BlackBook Magazine, and NextBillion.
Brooklyn-based Maria calls herself an “interestingness curator and semi-secret geek obsessed with design, storytelling and TED.” She’s also the editor of Brain Pickings and writes regularly for Wired UK magazine, The Atlantic and Design Observer.
Connie is the Community Strategist for the Alterian (formerly Techrigy) SM2 social media monitoring platform. She’s been named by Forbes.com as one of 20 top Women Social Media & Marketing Bloggers. Connie recently migrated from the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota to much balmier climate of Minneapolis.
Diedre is the president of Mango! Marketing, author of PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR, an adjunct professor in the New York city area, and co-founder of #PRStudChat.
Deb is a journalist-turned-PR pro. She’s president of Strategic Objectives, an award-winning PR agency in Toronto. And she’s energetic and inspirational on Twitter.
Eileen has more than 14 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications. As @eileenobrien she moderates the #SocPharm tweetchat on Wednesdays at 8 pm EST which discusses pharma marketing and social media.
Oregon-based Ekaterina is a corporate social media strategist as well as a “speaker, connector (and) passionate marketer.” She’s also a frequent guest-poster who’s written bookmarkable pieces like 9 Ways to Sell Social Media to the Boss.
Ellen Hoenig Carlson
Based in New Jersey, Ellen is focused on simplifying consumer and healthcare marketing for “elegant solutions in a complex world.” Though she writes mainly on pharma-related subjects, her blog topics also include branding, family, fundraising, innovation, leadership, and Twitter.
Ellen writes for Fast Company magazine and helps run the 30 Second MBA site.
Connecticut-based Elise is active in social media, an enterprise technology sales and business development pro who is passionate about inside sales and sales strategy. She’s a fellow member of the #Lebronians team “drafted” by Robert Rose in FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy – Maybe It’s You.
CMO with Siegel + Gale, a brand strategy, customer experience and design consulting agency in New York.
CEO of Chicago PR agency Arment Dietrich, author of spinsucks.com, Vistage member, author, speaker, communicator and writer of amazingly entertaining and insightful rants like Get Rich Quick! Lose Weight Tomorrow!.
Based in New York City, Gretchen is the best-selling author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. On her blog, she shares her insights to help readers create their own happiness projects.
Heidi is a fascinating marketer who shares practical advice about marketing and life from New York, NY.
Minnesota social media rock star, Business Development Director at Pixel Farm Digital, founder of the annual Twin Cities Top 10 Titans in Social Media awards, talk show regular on myTalk 107.1, and never boring.
Karen heads Reciprocate LLC, a small business marketing consultancy in Minneapolis. She’s an expert in social media marketing (particularly LinkedIn optimization), a small business advocate, trainer, speaker and coach. She’s active in local community and business organizations as well as social media.
Katie reports on technology and pop-culture for one of the world’s greatest newspapers—the Wall Street Journal—and is the author of If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Reporter’s Notebook.
Eve Mayer Orsburn
Eve is the author of Social Media for the CEO: The Why and ROI of Social Media for the CEO of Today and Tomorrow and CEO of Social Media Delivered, a firm that helps companies leverage LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook & blogs. And yes, she really knows LinkedIn.
Based in Chicago, Lisa is CEO of C-Level Strategies Inc, CEO Connection Co-Chair, Leadership & Executive Marketing Consultant, and #LeadershipChat co-Founder. Like Elise Segar and Cheryl Burgess, Lisa is a star of the #Lebronians team.
Liz is the founder of SOBCon, a brand strategist and leadership trainer based in Chicago. She’s also an insightful, prolific and generous social media presence.
Officially, an expert in inbound marketing, online visibility and personal branding, via social media, SEO and SEM. Also big on green business marketing. Unofficially – friendly, smart, and writer of many highly bookmarkable blog posts.
Lucretia M. Pruitt
Living in and tweeting from beautiful Denver, Lucretia refers to herself as a “random muse, speaker, ex-CIS Professor, social media devotee, geek, mom, wife, & insomniac.” Lucretia is a highly engaging and sophisticated observer of technology developments.
Digital PR Specialist for the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, Lisa describes herself as “a gal constantly awed by the intricacies of human behavior. Love my family, peeps, dogs, film, food and learning.”
Mari (like Ferrari) describes herself as a “passionate leader of social media, relationship marketing and Facebook mastery,” but most of us know her as the ultimate guru-ess of Facebook marketing and co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day. Formerly Canadian, now living in San Diego (nicer weather, but even worse taxes).
A phenomenally busy yet amazingly prolific blogger, Missy is a marketing pro at healthcare network Allina, co-founder of the Minnesota Blogger Conference, and is also active social media as the MarketingMama.
Idea generator, b2b marketing professional, creative director, process engineer and writer at MLT Creative in Atlanta, as well as a mother, friend, sister, daughter, diabetic, crocheter and jazz fan. She’s also really nice.
Sally is a scientist with Icarus Consultants in New Jersey, a pharmaceutical / biotechnology-focused marketing strategy firm. She blogs about marketing strategy, market research, science, oncology, hematology and immunology.
Working and tweeting from New York, Michelle is a creative director, brand strategist, and author of The BrandForward Blog. She spends her time exploring the future of advertising, social media, and emerging technologies and just being pretty cool.
A staff writer for the New York Times, Jennifer writes about the use of technology and social media in politics, government, and real life.
Susan Kang Nam
Splitting her time between New York, Andover (MA) and elsewhere, the dynamic Susan Kang Nam is founder of Cebisu Research Inc., a member of Andover’s Harvard Club, founder of Boston-based career club Salty Legs, “an entrepreneur, former recruiter and non-profit advocate who grew up in Asia (Korea, Japan) and US (Hawaii, California, New Jersey, NYC) and since 1994…using the world wide web exploring different platforms to engage in various of conversations”—and a classical pianist.
Prolific Twitterer, Bostonite, CEO and founder of the oneforty social business software hub, as well as co-author of Twitter For Dummies.
Rebel has been a marketing and business consulting for more than 20 years, is a popular speaker and author of Defy Gravity. She’s also a self-described “spiritual seeker, horse crazy, ski freak, and animal lovin’ nature gal.”
Based in Boston, Rebecca is a singing Inbound Marketer with all-in-one marketing software platform developer HubSpot. She’s also a founder of a cappella group Common Sound. And yes, she is a rock star.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Harvard Business School Professor, author of SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good – a look at how a new generation of values-driven businesses do well by doing good, and a living legend in the world of business strategy.
A social media communications manager for PR/social media monitoring provider Vocus in Washington DC, Stacey runs the popular monthly #prwebchat on Twitter. She is a former model, auxiliary member in the U.S. Air Force, and a self-proclaimed “SEO nerd” who loves NASCAR, steak and rock n’ roll. Definitely one of the most awesome and unique bios in social media.
CEO of Small Business Trends, an online small biz community reaching over 250,000 each month. Anita tweets from Cleveland, Ohio, the hometown of rock n’ roll.
Liana ‘Li’ Evans
Liana describes herself as “an online marketing geek girl who loves all things social media.” She’s a top expert in social media and SEO, and the author of Social Media Marketing.
Wendy is a blogger and digital marketer focused on the pharmaceutical industry. She’s an executive vice president at at Intouch Solutions, a marketing agency serving the pharmaceutical, animal health, medical device, and similarly regulated industries.
Based in Trumbull, CT, Wendy is an award-winning PR and marketing communications executive who helps B2B companies become well-known brands, and a truly engaging social media personality.
Watch next month (close to Father’s Day) for the Nifty 50 Men of Twitter for 2011.
How many times have you heard the expression “content is king?” That’s the case because, in an increasingly competitive and noisy market, buyers care not so much about what you sell as about what you know, and what you are passionate about. Great content accomplishes at least two of the following objectives:
- • It helps get you “found” online.
- • It enhances your organization’s image (e.g., by demonstrating how smart and helpful you are).
- • It sets you apart (it’s not just a rehash of common knowledge).
- • It helps move a prospect along the buying cycle.
Great content fills a need for both the consumer and the producer. It helps the consumer solve a problem or improve their life in some way, and it helps the producer sell goods or services that accomplish that task. So how do you produce great content? How do you maximize your return on valuable content? How much content is “enough?” How can you optimize your content for search? What different types of content should you develop for different types of buyers and the various stages of the buying process? Where can you spread your content to maximize exposure?
Get the answers to these questions and more here in some of the best guides to content marketing of the past year.
Content Marketing Strategy and Tactics
10 Tips For Content Marketing Success by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer notes that with 6 in 10 marketers spending more on content marketing in the coming year, it’s getting more difficult to stand out; shares some statistics on the results that can be achieved with quality content, e.g. “56% (of corporate bloggers) say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry”; and offers 10 tips to maximize the impact of content marketing, from “personality is essential” to tone is more important than perfection.
11 steps toward a content strategy by Econsultancy
Reporting that “80 percent of those who begin a corporate blog never post more than five entries…In the rush to adopt social media as a tactic, too many marketers leave strategy in the dust,” delightful author Rebecca Lieb presents 11 steps to help marketers think more like editors and develop an effective, consistent content strategy, among them defining key themes and messages, creating an editorial calendar, and utilizing multiple forms of media.
Social Media Leads Content Marketing: New Survey Reveals by Jeff Bullas
Jeff Bullas shares several interesting content marketing stats from recent research, such as: content now accounts for 33% of marketing budgets on average, up from 11% just a couple of years ago. 59% of marketers increased spending on content last year, while just 7% cut that area. E-newsletters, blogs and white papers are among the most popular types of content. While social media, mobile and online video are increasing in importance, traditional email newsletters remain among the most popular delivery vehicles.
7 “Rs” for B2B Marketing Content Planning by Customer Think
Lead nurturing content expert Ardath Albee writes that “Designing content for 1X use is wasteful. Marketers need to create a process for content planning that helps them maximize the return from their investments in developing content resources,” then provides seven tips (such as re-purposing content for different audiences) to help accomplish that goal.
How Much B2B Content is Enough? by Savvy B2B Marketing
Stephanie Tilton says a company has developed enough content “when it has created content that answers prospects’ questions at each stage of the buying cycle,” then outlines a process for determining exactly what that means in any given organization.
The 10 commandments of content marketing by iMedia Connection
10 Steps to Optimize Your Content Marketing Strategy by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Lee Odden explains the digital asset optimization (DAO) model (“what can be searched on can be optimized”), outlines a 10-step process for optimizing content for ever-changing search results pages, and concludes with “The good news is that by following these 10 steps, a significant impact can be achieved in overall authority for the topics and keyword concepts focused on as well as the ability to attract new business, media coverage and employees. The bad news is that it’s not easy.”
Lead Nurturing by Find New Customers
Pointing out that lead nurturing is a critical process because “9 out of 10 visitors to your website are not ready to buy now,” this post presents seven keys to creating and maintaining a successful lead nurturing program, beginning with research and content mapping and progressing through continuous measurement and refinement.
Ramping Up For a Bigger Content Publishing Strategy by MediaPost Search Insider
Rob Garner recommends eight tactics for optimizing content marketing results, starting with in-depth keyword and market research and working through strategic planning, metrics and resource allocation.
Most Valuable Content and Offers for IT Buyers by High-Tech Communicator
Cheryl Goldberg reports and comments on recent research identifying the types of content that IT buyers most useful as news and articles (84%) and competitive comparisons / buying guides (73%), while b2b technology marketers often sub-optimally focus on other types of content.
How to Take Advantage of the New B2B Buying Behavior by Fast Company
Wendy Marx contends that b2b “buying decisions ultimately aren’t completely rational, much as we would like them to be…you may have the best product or service in the world but if people don’t understand its value or find you credible you might as well post your ‘going out of business’ sign,” and therefore it’s critical to build relationships, nuture leads, and write content that captures the needs of your prospects.
How Tech Buyers Consume Content: New Findings from TechTarget by Savvy B2B Marketing
In another noteworthy post, Stephanie Tilton shares results from TechTarget research which details the behaviors of “hyper-active IT researchers,” the most engaged 30% of technology buyers. Among the findings: these hyper-active researchers are constantly hunting for and gathering information, often conduct research on behalf of others, and “are most receptive to completing a registration form in exchange for content during the consideration and decision stages.”
White Paper Marketing: 5 White Paper Types and When to Use Them by SmartBug Media
Brittany Brouse defines the characteristics and key purposes of five types of white papers, including the business benefits white paper, the technology benefits white paper, and the product comparison white paper.
6 Ways to Cast a Wider Net Using a Whitepaper by Zmags Blog
***** 5 Stars
White papers are a popular b2b marketing tool, but good ones are expensive to produce. Companies can better capitalize on these investments by reworking, repackaging and re-using white paper content in different formats. Christina Pappas presents six ideas for extending the life and value of white paper content such as turning a white paper into a podcast, video, or webinar.
Measuring ROI on Content Marketing and Creation by Social Marketing Forum
Though acknowledging that “Measuring ROI on content marketing is not straightforward; that is why most firms put measurement on the back burner,” Ambal Balakrishnan presents two sets of recommendations for and examples of content marketing ROI measurement from Ardath Albee and Maria Pergolino.
2011 Trends: Content Marketing Is Critical by eMarketer
Geoff Ramsey shares research revealing that “nearly three-quarters of US companies with a social media strategy use (branded) content—also referred to as ‘earned media’—in their campaigns, making it the most common type of content used.” He then lists five questions marketers should ask themselves to determine whether or not their content is truly “magnetic” and likely to attract targeted buyers.
Developing A B2B Content Promotional Strategy In 7 Steps by Social Marketing Forum
Michele Linn recommends seven questions to ask when developing strategy for promoting your content, starting with “What is your objective?” (e.g., lead generation content is often promoted differently than thought-leadership content).
Article Submission Sites
A list of the best sites to submit articles to by Internet Marketing for Business Owners
The site is a tad spammy, but this list of seven of the most popular article submission sites is helpful.
Huge list of nearly 300 article submission sites sorted by page rank and Alexa ranking.
The 10 Websites To Get Your Articles Discovered! by Ink Rebels
Misty Belardo recommends promoting your online content using these 10 (mostly) popular social networking and bookmarking sites.
Top 21: The Best Article Directory List by Friday Traffic Report
Another slightly spammy site with a nevertheless useful list of 21 article directories with page rank.
With the annual celebration of Thanksgiving upon us here in the U.S., many people pause to think about what they’re thankful for: family, friends, TiVo, the Yankees not winning the World Series…
I’m thankful for all of those things too of course, but also for the development and growth of social media. Here are a few reasons why:
Social media makes it easy to reconnect with old friends and co-workers. How did we do this before? There were ways: reunions, phone calls…but most often, we just didn’t. Now, social media tools like Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy and (usually) non-awkward. I was recently friended on Facebook by a guy I went to high school with. Back then, I thought he was kind of a jerk quite frankly. I discovered he’s now a cancer survivor and a completely different person. It happens.
I’ve written recommendations for folks I worked with in the past and had some nice ones provided for me as well. Old connections also often lead to new ones: I’ve introduced people who should know each other and been introduced to others who have become mentors, clients, or friends.
Social media makes it easy to connect with new people who share your interests…anywhere on earth. Before social networks (and even more so before email became widespread), it was difficult to make and maintain acquaintances with professional peers or people with similar interests in other parts of the country, much less the world.
And second-level connections (getting to know the people whom the people you know know) were even more difficult to make. Now I routinely trade updates and information with smart marketers and other interesting people across North America as well as in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, South Africa, India, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and elsewhere.
Just a few of the cool people I likely never would have gotten to know without social media include Jill Konrath, J-P De Clerck, Jennifer Kane, Judy Grundstrom, Alice Elliott, Paul Dunay, Ambal Balakrishnan, Tony Karrer (my partner in the B2B Marketing Zone and Social Media Informer), the B2BTOTY steering committee or the LeBron team.
Social media is a meritocracy (mostly). Early in my career I worked for a company that produced digital prepress equipment for printing companies, and we had a huge poster in the office that read:
“Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.”
If you were wealthy, fortunate, obnoxious (or in a few cases, talented) enough to be involved in publishing, you had a voice. Others, for the most part, didn’t. The Internet opened things up a bit, but creating websites (a dozen years ago) was hard unless you were a programmer. Blogging opened things up considerably more. Social media has blown the gates wide open. Anyone with an interesting point of view and knowledge to share gets to be an influential star, at least in his or her corner of the social mediasphere. Blowhards (usually) tend to get called out and ignored.
Social media is fantastic for research and learning. Want to know what your customers and prospects are thinking? Sure, surveys and focus groups still have their place, but you can learn a lot from what they’re saying in social media circles. At the very least, you’ll be able to craft more intelligent, informed questions for your survey.
Your competitor recently released a new product? Cool. Their press release, and perhaps a puff piece in an industry trade pub where they advertise, are no longer the only sources of information about it. You can now, easily, find out what other people are saying. Real people. Customers, prospects, thought leaders, people who have some expertise on the product but aren’t part of, or paid by, the company.
Want to know how to perform a certain task or process? Social media can not only lead you to the answer, but let you know which alternative answer is probably best based on the level of social influence of the writer.
Social media makes marketing more fun. A dialog is more enjoyable and interesting than a monologue. Sure, social media makes marketing a bit messier (because marketing and PR people no longer control the messaging) and more challenging (thought leadership content is more difficult to write than sales copy), but engaging in conversations gives marketers a direct line to prospects—enabling them to craft messaging that really resonates with their audience. Social media also provides a variety of near real-time methods for measuring audience response, so marketers know more quickly what works and what doesn’t. You can’t get that from a print ad.
Got your own reasons to be thankful? Leave a comment to share.