10 B2B Marketing Lessons from Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

A few weeks ago, we took a spring break / time-to-thaw-out trip to Orlando. Five days, the GDP of a small country, and one sun-burnt family later, we returned with happy memories, several gigabytes of photos and video…and the following 10 lessons learned about B2B marketing from two enormously popular theme parks.

B2B lessons from Disney World and Universal StudiosBut first, to answer a couple of obvious questions: yes, theme parks really can teach B2B business lessons (see below); and no, writing a post like this doesn’t enable one to write off the trip as a business expense, unfortunately (I checked).

So, from out of the land of theme parks filled with 20-somethings who appear to have made bad life choices, 40-somethings who’ve obviously made good ones, children, tweens, teens, and the young at heart—come 10 B2B marketing business lessons from Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

1. Be true to your brand. While few companies in the B2B or B2C worlds go quite to the lengths that Disney does in employee training and management–for example, referring to employees as “cast members” and requiring each cast member “to stay in their land as to not effect the ‘magical’ perspective of the guests (can you even imagine the psychic damage that could result from seeing Snow White hanging out with the ring-tailed lemurs in Animal Kingdom?)—but establishing and maintaining a strong brand is nonetheless vital.

Disney is “wholesome family entertainment,” while Universal Studios is more like “Disney for big kids.” There’s no rock n’ roll, and no alcohol, at Disney; you can find both at Universal.

Similarly, in the B2B marketing world, technology companies can get away with displaying attitude, an edge, even being a bit playful. Those attributes would be far less suitable for patent attorneys or accounting firms. Apple has asked users to “think different” while IBM’s products and services resolve around building a smarter planet.

Establish your brand attributes, then make them permeate every corner of your organization.

2. Know your competition–but don’t fear it. Why is Universal Studios located just miles from Walt Disney World? Wouldn’t it keep more business for itself if were located on the other side of the state, or even in another state?

Theme Parks in Orlando, FloridaWell, no. Theme parks (Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND…) have congregated in and around Orlando for same reason stores cluster in malls; every venue benefits from the increased traffic drawn by giving customers an array of choices in a single location.

As noted above, while there are many similarities between Disney and Universal (rides, movie themes, iconic characters, marginal food), there are also distinct differences both in image (Disney’s Main Street USA has a distinct circa 1928 vibe; Universal is more like 1962) and offerings. Other area parks offer their own unique attractions and experiences.

The key in the B2B world is to understand your core market and make everything about your products and services ideal for that segment. This enables you to distinguish your company from competitors without disparaging them.

As MarketingSherpa recently noted, having no competition can actually be a bad thing. B2B marketers ” should tell customers more about the competition. You should help them make the best choice between you and the competition and provide them with something to compare your company to.” Competition provides a valuable frame of reference in the decision-making process for B2B buyers.

3. Don’t nickel and dime customers; consider “all-inclusive” pricing. Tickets to Disney and Universal are pricey to be sure, but once you are inside the park, pretty much everything other than food or trinkets is “free.”

This pricing model certainly doesn’t fit everywhere in the B2B world, but for products that command a premium price, and which buyers reasonably expect to include a certain “bundle” of additional items or services (e.g., implementation assistance, warranty coverage, some base level of support, etc.), the all-inclusive model can make sense.

This is also the logic behind “free” scheduled maintenance programs offered by some carmakers. The cost is built into the purchase price, but buyers feel as though they are getting a premium offering without being invoiced for every little add-on.

4. Price has many uses. On the other hand, while all-inclusive pricing has its place, it has its limitations and boundaries as well. For example, when buying a car, you wouldn’t expect to pay extra for the engine—that’s assumed to be part of the package. But you would expect to pay more for the larger, upgraded engine (and likely the beefier shocks, transmission and tires that go with it).

Price isn’t merely something you charge in order to generate revenue. It has numerous other uses as well, such as:

Segmenting a market. For example, if there are two social media monitoring tools, one priced at $300 per month and one at $3,000 per month, you can infer quite a bit without knowing anything more about them. Unless it’s just horrendously mispriced, one would expect that the $3,000 tool is aimed at larger enterprises, more scalable, and with additional and more sophisticated features than the $300 application.

This is also commonly done with “freemium” tools. A free version is offered for those with very basic requirements, while more advanced and feature-rich versions are available for larger companies and more demanding users, at progressively higher price points.

Guiding behavior. Theme parks are masterful at this. For example, a single-day pass may be priced at $95, while a three-day pass costs $235 and a four-day pass goes for $265. Not only is the price difference between a three-day and a four-day pass very small, the four-day is actually sold for less than the price of three one-day passes—making the fourth day “free!”

No doubt the parks have data showing that this model pays off. One presumes that multi-day visitors are more likely to stay for the entire day each time (thus eating more meals at the park), to buy souvenirs in the gift shops, and to tell their friends wonderful things about the experience.

B2B companies can similarly use price to influence behavior. Online self-service support options are generally free, or very low-cost, to encourage users to find their own answers via that route—while phone support is more expensive, and 24/7 phone support pricier yet. True, this is a reflection of costs, but the magnitude of the price differential is such that there are often behavioral considerations in the mix as well.

Prices can also, of course, be lowered to move excess inventory or speed market adoption of a new product, or raised to shift demand to an alternative offering.

- Capitalizing on value in context. In many instances, products and services have no absolute inherent value; what they are worth depends on the circumstances.

The same glass of wine will cost much more in a trendy upscale urban eatery than in a suburban mall chain restaurant.

A famous experiment in this realm was conducted in 2007 by the Washington Post. Virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, who regularly sells out concert halls at $100 per seat, played for 43 minutes at a subway stop. He was playing a Stradivarius valued at $3.5 million. His take for 43 minutes of playing? $32.17. Context matters.

Disney princess trinketDisney gets this. Know what the item is in this photo? Neither do I. But inside the Disney princess gift shop, these sell for $24.95. Outside the gates of Disney, it’s unlikely one of these would fetch 25 cents.

In the B2B realm, think of what you to have to offer to customers that has unique, high value in the context of your relationship. What is it you do, or can, provide that has special value to customers in the context of using your products or services?

5. Optimize the entire buying experience. Approaching Disney’s Magic Kingdom is, well…magical. After parking and a short tram ride, you board a ferry for a short ride across a lagoon. This is what you see as you approach the other side.

The Cinderella castle in Disney's Magic Kingdomm

 

While ferry rides and castles would be awkward in the B2B realm, there is still more that B2B vendors can do to welcome new customers than just providing a “Download now” button and maybe sending in a consultant wearing blue jeans and a company polo.

A software company I worked for back in the 90’s shipped the product (at that time on multiple floppy disks) in enameled steel cases (many of which later ended up in customers’ garages—they made excellent tool boxes). As the media shrunk—to a handful of CDs rather than a box full of disks—the company switched to delivering the software, documentation, welcome letter, and a few other items in logo-emblazoned laptop bags, like this.

Fourth Shift Software Laptop Bag

 

There are lots of ways to welcome new customers—be creative! Even ideas that seem corny can be meaningful to a new customer and help start the relationship off on a positive note: a welcome letter, certificate, welcome phone call, email, video, access to a special customers-only community site, even old-fashioned tsotchkes like shirts, mugs, pens, USB drives, and desktop toys.

And just as the “magic’ of the Disney experience continues throughout the park visit, B2B vendors should work to optimize every customer touch point, making the entire customer experience as pleasant, efficient, and friction-free as possible.

6. Partner strategically to expand and extend your offerings. Disney actually appears to do little of this (at least in the Magic Kingdom), while Universal Studios does it extensively and brilliantly.

Universal Studios - partners

These partnerships are mutually beneficial, and the brands here both extend the dining options available to Universal visitors as well as support the theme park’s (unofficial) brand image of “Disney for big kids.”

The best B2B partnerships—whether to extend services, technology, or product functionality—similarly should benefit both vendors, enhance both brands, and increase value for buyers.

7. Use content to get people talking. Neither Disney nor Universal need to do much advertising for their theme parks. Their marketing is largely based on content (movies) and word of mouth.

While B2B marketers aren’t Hollywood studios, they can use video (and other content assets) to get people in their market talking. In the B2B realm, these can include free or freemium online tools (like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader); useful and share-worthy content like research findings and how-to guides; customer conferences (with associated SlideShare presentations and videos); online customer community sites; open source sharable components; and other forms of content.

8. Find ways to reward best / most loyal customers—without offending others. Disney does a fantastic job with this. Even single-day pass holders can choose three rides for which they will use the express line, thus bypassing wait times of up to an hour. Multi-day pass holders get additional perks, and families that stay in Disney hotels even more extras (such as early park admission); but the impact of these benefits doesn’t noticeably degrade the experience for day-pass buyers.

In the B2B world, special pricing is one obvious way to reward loyal customers, but be creative in developing other programs as well. For example, access is valuable, and heavy users of a product often have strong opinions of enhancements and changes they’d like to see made. Offerings like “dinner with the CEO” at company or industry conferences, and quarterly calls with a product manager or engineer can be very meaningful perks.

App showing wait times for rides in the Magic Kingdom9. Create an app to share timely information. Both Disney and Universal offer free apps that enable park visitors to check current wait times for any ride; a very cool and useful idea.

B2B software (and even hardware, in the internet-of-things era) products often offer opportunities for complementary free (see #3 above) or fee-based (see #4 above) apps. While no one is going to perform sophisticated data analysis on a smartphone, apps can be very useful at sharing key real-time information, such as total sales month-to-date; current inventory levels by item; service requests logged in the past week; or any myriad of other measures, levels, quantities, metrics, or figures.

10. Focus on continual improvement, not perfection. As impressive as the operation of its four Orlando theme parks is (70,000 employees, 40 square miles, 1 million guests per week; $100M year on maintenance; streets steam-cleaned every night) even Disney screws up sometimes.

And perhaps because so much of it done at Disney happens with elegant smoothness; such screw-ups are all the more jarring. One example is positioning visitors during parades. There are apparently very specific areas where guests are and are not permitted to stand or sit during parades, which are known by seemingly every Disney employee—but none of the guests. The result is annoyance on the part of guests (one woman was told she needed to move forward two inches in order to be in front of a specific crack in the sidewalk), and on occasion, rare displays of rudeness by Disney employees (who understandably get tired of having to give sometimes irate guests the same instructions, over and over).

And it’s not likely Disney shouldn’t know how to manage parades; they run several per day, every day, across their parks.

The key to process improvement is to examine the entire customer experience (see #5 above) and redesign processes, where needed, from the customer’s perspective. For example, that automated post-purchase online customer satisfaction survey that you send out by email—the one that has 59 different questions because every department in your business wants to hear “the voice of the customer”—is itself a source of customer dissatisfaction. Redesign it from the buyer’s perspective; what kind of feedback would they view as most important to provide? And keep it short, to respect buyers’ time.

Purchasing and implementing your B2B product or service may not be as much fun as a trip to Disney or Universal, but it will have much more significant, ongoing, long-lasting impacts on daily life for your customers. Use ideas from these phenomenally successful theme parks to enhance the overall experience for your buyers.

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21 Fantastic Facebook Marketing Guides

Many (most?) marketers have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

On one hand, not only is it an easy-to-use, low-cost platform with more than a billion members, but 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B vendors have acquired customers from Facebook, and the world’s largest social network drives 20% of all internet page views.

Markets Have Mixed Emotions About FacebookOn the other, marketers don’t “own” their presence on Facebook, consumers continue to have privacy concerns about the site, and Facebook is constantly making changes to its interface and other functionality, including recent modifications that have drastically reduced organic reach for brands.

But the bottom line is, as Amanda DiSilvestro notes in one of the posts highlighted below, “there are two online platforms (marketers) just can’t avoid: Google and Facebook.”

So with that in mind, how can brands optimize the limited organic visibility they still have? What are the best page apps for Facebook today? What can SMB marketers learn from the biggest brands on Facebook? What are the best practices for advertising on Facebook?

Find the answers to these questions any many more here in almost two dozen of the best guides to marketing on Facebook of the past year.

Best Facebook Marketing Guides

5 Painfully Obvious But Extremely Effective Facebook Tactics Nobody Told You About by unbouce

Stefanie-GrieserWriting that she’s “heard that it’s easier to get into Harvard than into someone’s Facebook news feed,” Stefanie Grieser shares a handful of tips to help get your content noticed by fans, such as creating a photo collage instead of just posting a single image, and asking questions only at the end of posts.

Is there value in #Organic #SMM after Facebook closes the “Like Economy”? by Social Media Marketing 4 Business

Gary SchirrPondering the impact of the death of EdgeRank, Gary (@ProfessorGary) Schirr ?notes that “a post by a brand’s Facebook page could expect to reach 16% of its fans” up until the fall of 2013; but “after the algorithm change that figure seems to be 2.5%!” Will content proliferation and advertising keep small companies from being successful with social media marketing?

Infographic: Ten Facebook Page best practices by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty highlights an infographic detailing ten ways to boost a brand’s Facebook page agreement; for example by asking questions (ask fans to share consumer preferences or help name your new product), use images, use fan content (“People love to see their content & their friends’ content shared by brands”), keep posts simple, and have fun!

37 of the Best Facebook Page Apps for Brand Marketing by Pamorama

Pam DyerWriting that “One of the easiest ways to use your Facebook page to its fullest potential for social media marketing is to employ third-party Facebook applications,” Pam Dyer provides brief reviews of more than three dozen such apps here, from Facebook app suites like AgoraPlus to apps for creating tabs, ecommerce, posting/scheduling, contests and promotions, blog apps and more.

Easy-to-steal ideas from Facebook’s 10 biggest brands by iMedia Connection

Drew HubbardDrew Hubbard shares ideas from mega-brands that “can be stolen…by even the smallest brands,” such as showcasing sponsorship of a local cause or organization; using caption contests (Red Bull does this well); documenting an event in photos; sharing an image of a cute animal next to your product (you don’t really need a reason); or giving people a look “behind the scenes” at your brand or company.

Facebook: News Feed Visibility Changes and RIP EdgeRank via V3 Integrated Marketing

Katy-SchambergerKaty Ryan Schamberger explains that while the term “EdgeRank” is no longer officially used by Facebook, “the algorithm’s three determining factors—affinity, weight and time decay—still play a role in News Feed visibility, although today’s ranking algorithm is much more complex. After detailing other new features, she notes that the key to increasing Facebook visibility is to create content users find engaging.

7 Powerful Facebook statistics you should know for a more engaging Facebook page by The Buffer Blog
***** 5 STARS

Belle Beth CooperBelle Beth Cooper reveals some real-world findings about Facebook use that can help marketers optimize use of the social network, such as that photo posts get 39% more interaction; using emoticons increases comments by 33%; and question posts generate double the number of comments as the average post.

Facebook Finally Gets Hashtags: 10 Smart Ways to Help B2B Marketers by Inbound Visibility

Sunita BidduExplaining that “hashtags can help your business get noticed by putting your posts in the stream of what’s being said and bringing you together with other people that are talking about the same thing as you are,” Sunita Biddu shares tips for optimizing your posts with hashtags, among them: know your audience, be consistent in your communications, engage your fans, and be active during events: “Creating a custom hashtag for your event (e.g. fundraising, seminar, handmade trade, etc.) and sharing it with attendees is a great way of increasing your brand’s buzz online.”

Does Facebook Work for B2B Lead Generation? Hell Yes! by Marketo Blog

Jason MillerWriting to those “who say that Facebook is not an effective lead generation tool for B2B, I will tell them that they need a new strategy,” Jason Miller reveals how Marketo generates leads on Facebook and summarizes the experience with four helpful recommendations, among them: “Wittiness is terribly underrated. B2B marketers like to have fun too. They are not on Facebook to be sold to. Entertain them a bit, and then tie it back to something useful.”

Best Facebook Advertising Guides

Infographic: Facebook ad term glossary by Inside Facebook

Justin LaffertyJustin Lafferty presents an infographic that explains words and phases as used in the world of Facebook advertising, such as Broad Categories (“allows advertisers to target users who have information in their Timelines and actions taken related to a specific category of interests”), Conversion Specs, Custom Audience, and Offsite Pixel (“tracking code placed on an external success page which alerts Facebook” of a conversion).

The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Ads by buffer

Amanda DeSilvestroAmanda DiSilvestro provides an outstanding guide for those new to Facebook advertising, covering everything from the four different types of Facebook ads (and under what circumstances each option works best) and progressing through how to set up a Facebook ad, how to manage ads, and how to optimize campaigns once they are up and running.

Infographic: Facebook ad cheat sheet by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
***** 5 STARS

Jim Dougherty (again) showcases a phenomenally useful cheat sheet detailing all of the different Facebook ad sizes, types, positions, and options available. Beyond ad dimensions, this infographic also includes helpful tips, recommendations, and potential pitfalls to avoid.

20 Quick Facebook Ads QA Steps by FB PPC

Andrew FoxwellAndrew Foxwell lists 20 questions to ask if your Facebook ads aren’t performing well, or if performance takes a sudden dip. Among them: Does (the) mobile landing (or desktop) page stink? Are the targeting audiences too small? Does the client have an active Facebook page? And have you gone through the signup flow and seen if the parameters stick properly?

How to Setup Facebook Conversion Tracking and Why It Matters by SteamFeed

Writing that “the Facebook Conversion Tracking feature is a way for marketers to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their Facebook ads,” Amanda DiSilvestro (again) provides a concise, three-step process for setting up and using this capability.

A Guide to Facebook Advertising by Capture the Conversation

Leah LeskoConfused by “the ever-changing landscape of Facebook ad types”? You’re not alone. But Leah Lesko here helpfully sorts it all out, explaining the use of, details behind, and tips for sponsored stories, promoted posts, dark posts, Marketplace ads, and mobile app install ads.

Best Guides to Facebook Cover Photos

5 Ways to Turn your Facebook Cover Photo into a Call-to-Action that Converts by Wishpond

This post provides detailed and richly illustrated examples of five ways to drive conversions using Facebook cover photos, such as promoting a Facebook Page Tab, getting more “Likes,” or promoting gated content such as a white paper–though the post does point out that “it is not easy to fit content like ebooks and infographics inside of a Tab.”

Facebook Reduces Cover Image Restrictions by v3 Integrated Marketing

Shelly KramerShelly Kramer says that “the latest (Facebook changes) might just make your day. The site has quietly removed the majority of its cover image restrictions, making it easier for brands and businesses to use this valuable visual real estate to promote things like sales, events and the Facebook page itself.” She then details what elements brands are now permitted to use in cover images, including “Calls to action such as ‘Buy now,’ ‘Tell your friends,’ ‘Contact us,’ etc..”

How to Effectively Use CTAs on Your Brands Facebook Page Cover Photo by Ignite Social Media

Building on Shelly’s post above, Ross Wilson delves into the use of calls to action on Facebook page cover photos, offering six tips for writing a compelling CTA (such as “Front load them with subjects and verbs. With only 20 percent content allowed in your cover photo, your CTA will be approximately the length of a tweet”) and following up with a handful of illuminating real-world examples.

Best Guides to Facebook Graph Search

Infographic: How to optimize your business Page for Graph Search by leaderswest

Jim Dougherty (one more time) showcases a nine-step “cheat sheet” for optimizing a page for graph search, from the basics like choosing the right category and making sure your business address is listed correctly through posting and tagging photos and videos (“posting photos and videos and tagging your business page in them can improve Graph Search rankings”).

Introducing Graph Search: Help People Discover your Business by Facebook Studio

This brief post explains what Facebook Graph Search is, how it works, why it was developed, and how it will be rolled out. “With Graph Search, people can search the social graph by looking for things like ‘sushi restaurants that my friends have been to in Los Angeles,’ ‘hotels near the Eiffel Tower,’ or ‘TV shows my friends like.'”

Social Media: Why Facebook’s new Graph Search will change social media marketing by MarketingSherpa

John CockburnNoting that “The way Graph Search works is simple … it filters our search results by what our friends and neighbors have previously liked and shared with us,” John Cockburn explains that while graph search by no means heralds the end of marketing on Facebook, it does make relevance even more vital and means “companies will now have to find the right mix of creativity and incentives as they battle for check-ins and likes to maintain relevancy in consumer search listings.”

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How to Be Seen Online

A famous Monty Python skit “educates” viewers on how not to be seen. While wonderful classic British humor, it’s the opposite of a productive online strategy.

When prospective buyers are searching online for information about whatever it is you sell, or about solving the kinds of problems that your products and/or services are designed to alleviate, your brand should be as widely seen as possible. Your content needs to be relevant of course, and merely being visible doesn’t guarantee you the business, but it is the essential first step.

The framework for maximizing online visibility is web presence optimization—the processes and metrics that enable coordination of the efforts of PR,  SEO, content marketing, brand management, advertising, and social media professionals to maximize and continuously improve an organization’s “findability.”

The recent MarketingSherpa blog post Web Presence Optimization: Evolving the view of online success details the evolution of web presence optimization (WPO), the strategy behind it, and the WPO metrics vital to keeping a diverse group of digital marketing and PR professionals on the same page. We think you’ll find the Sherpa post a helpful read; after all, it was written by the author of MarketingSherpa’s Readers Choice Best B2B Marketing Blog of 2012. :-)

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87 More Vital Social Media Marketing Facts and Stats for 2012

Though social media marketing is now used in about 90% of companies, techniques, platforms and best practices continue to evolve.  Should you include Pinterest in your mix? Increase use of video marketing? Is blogging coming back or trailing off? What will likely be the hot trends in social media over the next couple of years?

More Social Media Stats for 2012Marketers have questions, this post has answers: 87 vital social media and online marketing statistics covering everything from how executives and large companies are using social media for marketing, customer service and recruiting to fresh stats on the leading social media platforms to search, email, content and mobile marketing trends.

The recent 72 Fascinating Social Media Stats post on JeffBullas.com was one of my post popular guest posts ever, so here is an entirely new set of social media stats, facts and research findings.

Social Media Stats and Demographics

1. Social media accounts for only 16% of customer engagement today, but is expected to increase to 57%—the second-most used channel, behind only face to face interaction—within five years. (Marketing Pilgrim)

2. 30% of the world’s entire population is now online, and social networking is the most popular and time consuming online activity—with users spending more than one fifth (22%) of their time engaging on social media channels. This means that more than 250 million tweets and 800 million Facebook status updates are now published every single day. (MindJumpers)

3. Brazilians have the highest number of online friends of any country, averaging 481 friends per user, while the Japanese average only 29 friends. (MindJumpers)

4. 56% of Americans have a profile on at least one social networking site. And it’s not just millenials; 55% of those aged 45-54 have at least one social network profile. (Convince & Convert)

5. Social networks and blogs In the U.S reach nearly 80% of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online. (MediaPost)

6. 60% of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter. (MediaPost)

7. 90% of marketers now use social networks in their marketing efforts, but growth has plateaued; the figure was 89% in 2011. (eMarketer)

8. Half of all social media users are between 25 and 44 years old, but the age distribution varies widely across social networks. Reddit and Tumblr are among the “youngest” networks, with half or more of users under 35 years old. Twitter is about in the middle (55% of users age 35 or older) while 65% of Facebook users are over 35 (didn’t this start with college students?) and LinkedIn is the “oldest” network, with 79% of users age 35 and older. (Pingdom)

9. Women tend to be somewhat more present and active on social media than men, though the shares vary widely by site. Men tend to dominate on technical sites (e.g., Slashdot is almost 90% guys); LinkedIn is close to a 50-50 split; Twitter and Facebook are both about 40% male / 60% female; and women account for almost 90% of Pinterest users. (Pingdom)

10. Social media and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. Internet users. 91% of experienced social marketers see improved website traffic due to social media and 79% are generating more quality leads. (Business2Community)

11. 90% of companies with 100 or more employees use social media in their marketing mix. 83% use Facebook and 53% are on Twitter, though that gap is expected to narrow by 2014 due to rapid growth in Twitter use. (eMarketer)

Social Media in the Enterprise

12. Just 23% of Fortune 500 companies maintain an active blog, vs. 37% of Inc. 500 firms. (V3 Integrated Marketing)

13. 35% of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies have a corporate blog compared to 14 percent of those Fortune 500 companies in the bottom 300-500 of the category, i.e., top companies devote more attention to their corporate blogs than those in the bottom of the pack.  (V3 Integrated Marketing)

14. 62% of Fortune 500 companies have an active Twitter account, while 58% maintain a corporate Facebook page. (V3 Integrated Marketing)

15. Looking at five leading social networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest), Fortune 100 company names are mentioned more than 10 million times per month. (Digital Buzz Blog)

16. The average Fortune 100 company is mentioned nearly 56,000 times per month On Twitter. (Digital Buzz Blog)

17. 87 of the Fortune 100 companies are now active on at least one social network. 82 use Twitter, 75 have a Facebook page, 50 are on Google+ and 25% use Pinterest. (Digital Buzz Blog)

18. To accommodate different product lines, business units and geographies, the average Fortune 100 company now maintains 10 official corporate Twitter accounts, 10 Facebook pages and eight YouTube channels. (Digital Buzz Blog)

19. Fortune 500 companies tend to be antisocial. Less than half of Fortune 500 businesses provide a link to their Facebook profile or Twitter handle on the Contact Us page of their Web sites. About 27% of consumer-facing Fortune 500 corporations do not list social media channels on their Web site home page, 89% do not list an e-mail address on their site, and 13% don’t list a phone number on their Contact Us page. (MediaPost)

Social Media Use in the C-Suite

20. 71% of consumers say that CEO participation in social media leads to improved brand image. (41 Stories)

21. Only 3.2% of Fortune 500 (largest companies) CEOs have a Twitter account compared with 17% of Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) CEOs. (41 Stories)

22. 52% of CEOs who are active in social media say that it helps their companies rise in search rankings, and 48% say that social media has generated qualified sales leads.  (41 Stories)

23. Though 94% of corporations use social media in some way and 58% of executives acknowledge that social media is useful for lead generation and developing brand loyalty, 70% of CEOs have no presence on any social network. 26% are on LinkedIn, 8% have a Facebook page and just 4% use Twitter. (Business Insider)

24. This is the case even though 82% of buyers say they are more likely to trust a company whose top executive is active on social media, and 81% of employees believe that social CEOs are better leaders. (Business Insider)

Social Media and Human Resources

25. 40% of organizations have a formal social media policy, and 56% of those policies include a statement regarding the organization’s right to monitor social media usage. More than a third (39%) of companies monitor their employees social media use on company-owned computers and handheld devices. (Resume Bear)

26. 92% of recruiters use social media to find new candidates, up from 82% in 2010. And 73% now say they have successfully hired through social media, up significantly from just 58% two years ago. (Ragan.com)

27. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn is the most popular social network among recruiters, with 93% using it. 66% use Facebook while 54% utilize Twitter. More dramatically, 89% of recruiters say that LinkedIn has produced at least one successful hire for them, compared to 25% who say the same of Facebook and just 15% who’ve had recruiting success with Twitter. (Ragan.com)

Facebook Stats

28. 20% of all pageviews on the web are on Facebook. (Jeff Bullas)

29. Half of all Facebook users use it on mobile devices, at least occasionally. (Jeff Bullas)

30. More than 500 million people log in to Facebook each day, and they collectively post 3.2 billion likes and comments. (Jeff Bullas)

31. Social media fatigue? Though 20% of Facebook users say they check in on the social network once or twice per day, 52% plan to spend less time there in the future. (SodaHead)

32. 73% of users believe that another social network will eclipse Facebook. (SodaHead)

Twitter Facts

33. Twitter attracts one million new users per day. (Jeff Bullas)

34. Of Twitter’s 165 million users, half access Twitter on mobile devices at least occasionally.  (HubSpot)

35. 53% of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19% for Facebook. (Convince & Convert)

36. 76% of Twitter users are active tweeters, up from 47% in 2010. (Convince & Convert)

37. Want to get retweeted more often? Research shows that keywords which increase the likelihood of retweeting include “please,” “thank you,” “Twitter,” “social media” and “you.” Words to avoid include “lol,” gonna,” “hey,” “tired,” “work” and “bored.” (iMedia Connection)

38. Twitter users now post 340 million tweets per day, or roughly a billion tweets every three days. (Digital Buzz Blog)

LinkedIn Statistics

39. Two news users join LinkedIn every second.  (Jeff Bullas)

40. 75 of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn in their corporate hiring process.  (HubSpot)

YouTube and Video Marketing Trends

41. YouTube is the third-most-visited site on the web, with two billion views per day. (Jeff Bullas)

42. YouTube use accounts for 10% of all traffic on the Internet. (Jeff Bullas)

43. 76% of marketers said they planned to increase use of video and YouTube in 2012.  (HubSpot)

44. There are 1.5 million business-related searches on YouTube each day, and 75% of senior executives say they watch work-related videos at least weekly. (Earnest B2B)

Blogging Stats

45. Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. And companies with more indexed pages generate far more leads from search.  (Search Engine Journal)

46. The very first blogs appeared in 1998, and Blogger.com was launched in 1999. By 2006, there were more than 50 million blogs in existence. (HubSpot)

47. Today, there are more than 158 million blogs (though only about 70 million are active). (Spin Sucks)

48. B2C companies who blog regularly see an 88% increase in median monthly leads and B2B companies who blog see a 67% increase in leads.  (V3 Integrated Marketing)

49. Roughly 60% of business blogs are updated at least twice per week. (Marketing Charts)

50. Another study found that while 60% of businesses have a blog, only 35% of those (i.e., 21% of all businesses) actively maintain them. (New Media Expo Blog)

51. The two most popular blogging platforms are WordPress (used for 43% of all blogs) and Blogger (35%). Surprised it’s that close. (New Media Expo Blog)

Content Marketing Findings

52. The most popular forms of content marketing for B2B companies are social media excluding blogs (79%) and article posting (78%). 51% maintain blogs, 42% conduct webinars and webcasts, and 41% produce videos. Just 11% use mobile content and only 9% create eBooks. (Earnest B2B)

53. However, 71% of B2B marketers view in-person events as effective while only 31% say the same about social media excluding blogs. (Earnest B2B)

54. Relevance is critical is content marketing. 45% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails due to irrelevant content, and on the B2B side, IT buyers say that 58% of vendor content is not relevant to them, and that this lack of relevance reduces the chance of closing a sale by 45%. (MarketingSherpa)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Facts

55. 70% of the links search users click on are organic. (This is an overall average, however, and the share of clicks on paid results is considerably higher for many commercially oriented searches.) (Search Engine Journal)

56. 46% of all searches are for information about products or services. (HubSpot)

57. 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of results (which also means of course that 25% do).  (Search Engine Journal)

58. 93% of online experiences (including b2b and considered purchases) begin with a search engine. (Search Engine Journal)

59. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices.  (HubSpot)

60. 66% of new customers use search and online research to find local businesses.  (HubSpot)

61. 21% of all time spent online is spent on web searches. (MindJumpers)

62. It’s probably no surprise that the big three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo!) are among the five most-visited sites on the Internet. But consider that AOL is #7 and Ask is #10, meaning that…five of the top 10 most-visited sites on the web are search engines. (MindJumpers)

63. B2B companies that maintain active content (e.g., bloogging) and SEO programs increased their total website traffic, on average, by 25% in the past year, while those who neglected SEO (either never did it or did SEO only as a one-time effort at site launch) experienced an average 15% decline in overall visits. (Webbiquity)

64. How big is the SEO industry? Well, there are 863 million websites globally that mention “SEO.” There are 9.1 million searches conducted including the acronym each month, with the top two phrases being “SEO services” and “SEO company.” More than 60,000 Twitter users include “SEO” in their bios, there have been 13 million blog posts published that include “SEO” in the title, and Amazon.com carries almost 2,700 different books about SEO. (Search Engine Journal)

65. While it’s vital for marketers to integrate search and social in terms of their strategies, it turns out consumers don’t like the two actually mixed in search results. 62% say they do not want social results included on search engine result pages (SERPs), while just 19% do. (Search Engine Watch)

66. If social results are going to be included on SERPs, consumers prefer Bing’s layout (social off to the right side) rather than Google’s layout (social mixed with organic results), 63% to 37%. However, by a 5-to-3 margin, consumers preferred Google’s display of universal search results. (Search Engine Watch)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Online Advertising

67. Every marketer knows that click-through rates on banner ads are very low. Why? 31% of users say they are worried if they click on an ad that their behavior will be tracked, while 57% fear they will receive spam from advertisers. (Get Elastic)

68. The average person is more likely to apply and be accepted by Harvard or be dealt a full house in poker than to click on a banner ad. (Get Elastic)

69. There are more tweets each month that include “PPC” (282,000) than there are that include “SEO” (248,000), though there are most searches on and blog posts written about SEO. (Search Engine Journal)

70. Click-through rates (CTR) on search ads for keyword phrases with “high commercial intent’ are up to 600 times greater than average CTR for ads on a typical Facebook page. (e-Strategy Trends)

Mobile Marketing Statistics

71. There are about four billion mobile phones in use. Of those, 27% (1.08 billion) are smartphones.  (HubSpot)

72. 50% of all smartphone users use their devices to search the web, and 49% use them for social networking. (HubSpot)

73. 8% of web hits worldwide are from mobile phones. In the US, 25% of mobile Web users are mobile-only. Further, 80% of this traffic will leave if your website isn’t optimized for mobile–a good case for having a mobile-friendly website. (Heidi Cohen)

74. Do some research and consider carefully before investing in design and creation of a mobile app for your business. A quarter of all mobile apps are used only once. (Heidi Cohen)

75. 74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3% have ever checked in. (Convince & Convert)

76. One in four employees use personal smartphones at work. (Earnest B2B)

77. Almost 40% of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone at least occasionally. (MediaPost)

78. Mobile and video are the two hottest growth areas in marketing. 17% of marketers say they’ve been using mobile marketing for less than a year, while another 17% plan to start using it in the coming year. The figures are 14% and 10%, respectively, for video marketing. (eMarketer)

79. In a July 2012 survey, 26% of respondents said they were interested in the iPhone5, while 74% said they were “over it”–just not that intrigued by another new Apple device. (SodaHead)

Email Marketing Facts

80. Nearly one billion Internet users are on Facebook. But 3.1 billion use email. (HubSpot)

81. Less than one out of five email marketers include social sharing links in their emails. Of those, 91% include a Facebook link while nearly half include Twitter.  (HubSpot)

82. 19% of all time spent online is spent on reading and responding to emails. (MindJumpers)

Other Social and Marketing Stats

83. Instagram tripled its user base from 10 million in September 2011 to 30 million by April 2012. Its Android app had one million downloads on the day it was released. (Jeff Bullas)

84. 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook “likes” are from women.  (Jeff Bullas)

85. Google+ adds 625,000 new users each day.  (Jeff Bullas)

86. 67% of Google+ users are male.  (Jeff Bullas)

87. A majority of marketers worldwide say that less than half of all the analytics data they collect is actually useful for decision-making, and 34% say analytics are not integrated at all with their business plans. (eMarketer)

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Looking Back at 300: Top 10 Posts on the Webbiquity Blog So Far

After 32 months (time flies when you’re having fun!) and 300 posts, here is a quick look back at the 10 most-read posts on the Webbiquity blog to date. This is an update of the looking back at 100 post in July 2010.

Again, thank you for reading the MarketingSherpa Readers Choice top b2b marketing blog for 2012. Without further ado, below are the 10 most-viewed posts on this blog to date. Some of the entries are surprising, but life and the web can be unpredictable. These are the posts that Webbiquity readers have “voted” as the best by their traffic so far.

Top 10 Posts So Far on the Webbiquity B2B Marketng Blog10. PR Monitoring and Management Tools: Which is Best? Vocus vs. Cision (November 8, 2011)

Vocus and Cision are both powerful and popular PR monitoring and management systems. Both provide PR and social media professionals with extensive capabilities for tracking and growing media coverage of their organizations or clients. So which is best?

9. How to Write an Effective Business Blog (January 8, 2010)

Helpful advice on choosing a blogging platform, authors, topics and frequency for an effective business blog. This post is starting to show its age, but the guidance is still useful to beginning bloggers.

8. 33 (of the) Best Marketing Strategy Guides and Insights of 2010 (February 14, 2011)

Sometimes it’s essential to step back from everyday marketing tactics to ask the bigger questions, like: What conceptual models are we basing our marketing assumptions and practices on, and what new models should we be thinking about? Which emerging trends do we need to keep an eye on? While you won’t find much in the way of “tips and tricks” in this post, you will find guidance on answers to these big-picture marketing questions and more here in some the best marketing strategy guides and insights of 2010. For a more up-to-date look at marketing strategy, check out the Best B2B Marketing and Sales Strategy Guides and Insights of 2011.

7. The One Effective Use of Facebook for B2B Marketing (March 9, 2010)

The intimate, informal nature of Facebook makes it the ideal venue to showcase the human side of your company, with content that may not be appropriate elsewhere. While I’d write this differently today, the post holds up pretty well considering there were “only” 350 million users on Facebook when this was published.

6. 78 (of the) Best Social Media Marketing Tips, Guides, Tools and Strategies of 2010 So Far (August 16, 2010)

More than six dozen of the best, most bookmark-able articles and blog posts about social media tactics, tools and strategies written in 2010, by leading writers like John Jantsch, Lori Dicker, Lee Odden, Lisa Barone, Jay Baer and many more. You can find a much fresher version of this type of content in the recently posted 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far.

5. 50 (of the) Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 So Far (October 5, 2010)

What are the best ways to use Twitter for business? How you can use it most effectively? Which tools are most helpful? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more here—or check out more recent thought on the topic in Best Twitter Tips, Tools and Tactics of 2011.

4. The Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter for 2011 (May 3, 2011)
50 of the most remarkable women on Twitter, from B2B marketers to social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities. Though this list is almost timeless, The Top #Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012, published just last month, honors 50 remarkable women on Twitter who work for or with technology companies.

3. What’s the Best Social Media Monitoring Tool? It Depends (October 13, 2010)

The explosion of social media has led to a corresponding need for more sophisticated monitoring tools that can crawl the hundreds of social networking and bookmarking sites and millions of blogs across the globe. A rapidly proliferating collection of tools are being developed to meet the need. This post highlights nine tools at various price levels that may or may not be the best but are certainly among the most popular and capable social media monitoring tools currently available.

2. Best Email Marketing Tips, Tactics and Metrics of 2010 (February 21, 2011)

How can you use email marketing most effectively and avoid overloading your recipients with information? How can you grow the size of your email marketing list? Avoid mistakes that will cost you readers? Integrate your email and social media marketing efforts to improve results through both channels? Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than two dozen of the best email marketing guides of 2010. Or get more current email wisdom in 17 (of the) Best Email Marketing Guides of 2011.

And the number one, most viewed post of all time so far on the Webbiquity blog (imagine mental drum-roll sound here) is…

1. Best Social Media Stats, Facts and Marketing Research of 2010 (January 17, 2011)

Learn how buyers use social media, which platforms are most effective, and more here in the best social media marketing stats, facts and research of 2010. If you crave social media stats and data (clearly a popular topic), check out the much newer collection of such in 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012.

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