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Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap Between Seller and Buyer through Social Media Marketing
Wheatmark, August 15, 2009
Trim: 6 x 9
Business & Economics
“Marketing 2.0 is an essential online playbook for any small or medium-sized business executive. Bernie teaches how to create and develop winning strategies on the web that will attract people to your company and your employees through relationship building and content marketing. If you implement the strategies and tactics in this book you’ll reduce or eliminate outdated marketing practices and you will drive new business—as well as keep more of the current business you have.”
“Marketing 2.0 helps CEOs and CMOs navigate the new social web by providing a roadmap and driving instructions to our desired destination. Bernie skillfully explains the history of the Web 2.0 phenomenon and the lay of the land, warns us about the road hazards, and spells out the potential rewards. With these new social media tools at our disposal, marketing will never be the same again. Small companies can now compete on an even playing field with giants. Large companies can become irrelevant in the blink of an eye if they fall asleep at the wheel. In short, Marketing 2.0 is a must read for anyone in business who wants to succeed with social media marketing.”
Are you a trusted seller? Are your product and service offerings easy to find on the web? Do you inform, educate, and entertain through your content? Do you listen and engage people through online channels?
Today’s buyers want to be engaged differently than in years past, and many traditional marketing tactics simply do not work anymore. Social media marketing is a revolutionary way to build solid relationships with buyers long before first contact.
Marketing 2.0 demonstrates through strategies, tactics, and real world examples that the greatest risk to businesses is NOT adopting these indispensable social media marketing techniques.
About the Author
Bernie Borges got his initial inspiration for Marketing 2.0 from his speaking engagements and interaction with clients through his Internet marketing agency, Find and Convert. Borges is available for keynote presentations and full-day seminars. He is a frequent speaker at trade shows, conferences, and company events. Visit Find and Convert for more information or call 1-888-660-1981.
There is a gap out there in the market. The gap exists between sellers and buyers. Sellers are using shouting tactics in attempt to reach buyers, and it just doesn’t work well anymore. The outbound marketing tactics that worked in the 1980s and 1990s just don’t work anymore in the late first decade of the new millennium. Buyers have too many filters available to them. Buyers can limit the content they consume through RSS subscriptions, use caller ID to filter out unwanted phone calls, record television programs and skip through the commercials, and sift through unwanted mail. Marketers play a numbers game, celebrating 0.5 percent response rates to shouting style marketing campaigns. This form of marketing is not just ineffective from an ROI perspective; it’s plain ineffective.
What buyers want is a relationship. They want to know you and your people. They want to know that you’re listening to them, and they actually want to engage you, the seller, in conversations. Why? Because they can, and because you can, and because you should. If you don’t ... well, you just may lose your buyer.
The initial inspiration for this book came primarily from speaking engagements, where my audiences typically comprised small and medium-size business (SMB) executives. The purpose of these presentations was to discuss the evolution of Web 2.0 and the effect of social media marketing on business. Each presentation provided a brief high-level overview of the history of the Internet from a technology perspective, as well as the conventional Internet marketing strategies currently in use, such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, permission email marketing, and banner advertising. The presentation then transitioned to a discussion of marketing opportunities made possible through the evolution of tools and technologies on the social web. These tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networking sites, bookmarking sites, video, and photo sharing sites. I also discussed the technological, demographic, and cultural evolutions that have made these tools so popular.
Each presentation usually begins with my asking the audience for a show of hands in response to a few basic questions in order to gauge the makeup of the audience. The audience size for most of my presentations ranges from 25 to 125. The questions I usually ask (along with the answers I receive) are:
- “How many of you are with a company the size of (less than 100, 100 to 250, 250 to 500, more than 500)?” The vast majority of attendees are with firms with less than 500 employees, many with less than 100 employees.
- “How many of you actively read a blog?” Usually about one-third raise their hands.
- “How many of you actively maintain your own personal or company blog?” Usually two to five people raise their hands.
- “How many of you have a profile in a social network such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or MySpace?” More than half usually raise their hands—most are on LinkedIn.
- “Of those who have a profile in a social network, how many of you actively participate in the social network at least once per week and consider this time well-spent?” Unfortunately, very few hands usually go up to this question. In other words, many people have completed a profile in a social network but they don’t do much with it.
- “How many of you feel that social networking or blogging or any type of social media marketing has the potential to be a valuable aspect of your marketing strategy?”
I usually get an interesting response to this last question. Usually a few hands are raised, maybe in the 10 percent to 20 percent range of the audience. But, judging by the body language and blank stares in the audience, I can see that most in the audience don’t have good answers to this question. Perhaps they don’t know how to answer it, or maybe they haven’t given it much thought. Or, maybe they don’t know much about it. Initially, I was greatly puzzled by this response and it started me thinking ... that’s how this book came into being.
My goal is to help you—the business owner or marketing executive in a small or medium-size business—understand what marketing on the social web is, what it means within a business context, and how it can be a valuable component of your marketing strategies. As you read, consider the marketing mind-set: how do successful marketers on the web think? What assumptions do they make? What principles do they use? How do they engage with their target market? How do they produce results? How do they measure results? While this book is written primarily for the SMB executive, nonprofits can benefit as well. Any reference to business goals should be replaced by your specific goals. Since I am a blogger, I wrote this book in plain English in a somewhat conversational tone. I wrote a book I would want to read. I tried to connect dots for you. My hope is that you will take away from this book sensible and actionable ideas and strategies that will have a valuable impact on your business. If you are in a larger company, I believe the principles in this book apply to you as well, depending on where your company is in the adoption of social media strategies.
Another part of the inspiration for this book comes from my own active participation in social media marketing. I run an Internet marketing agency, so it should come as no surprise that I have an interest in all things marketing on the web. That said, I spent more than twenty years in corporate jobs in technology sales and marketing, and I don’t consider myself a web geek. I am more of a business–marketing strategist who happens to be in the Internet marketing business. I do admit that I am very encouraged by how many businesses around the world are actively using social media to engage their customers in community and conversations on the web. However, I also am discouraged by how few SMBs have yet to embrace the social web at the time of this writing. There are many case studies regarding the effective use of social media by larger, well-recognized brands such as Apple, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, IBM, and Oracle. I encourage SMB CEOs and their marketing and sales managers to embrace the social web as three things: a culture, a mind-set, and a platform. Marketing on the social web is not a technology strategy, although technology plays an important role. The social web allows any business of any size in any location to reach the people they desire to reach and build solid relationships with them. Often, these relationships evolve offline into traditional and productive relationships. The social web is a place to relate to others, not a place to launch shouting-style campaigns, although campaigns are possible using the social web. The social web is a place to listen because people are talking—and they may be talking about you, your products, your team, your competitors, and ideas that could someday become your future products. The social web is a mind-set. And any business that doesn’t understand the mind-set is at risk of being left behind or using it inappropriately, producing negative results. Understand that effective marketing on the social web requires a revisit to your organization chart. The people you need to implement your social media strategy may or may not be the people in your current org chart. Your current boss may not embrace the social web, in which case you may need to assess whether your career is at risk.
This book is for people who don’t mind admitting they are just getting started in social media marketing, and who want to learn how to develop a strategy and learn what mistakes to avoid. You don’t need an advanced degree to understand Marketing 2.0 concepts. However, you do need to be willing to let go of old paradigms. You may need to stretch yourself and your organization in ways that may be uncomfortable at first. The examples I have provided of companies that range from individuals, small start-ups, to midsize companies that use the social web successfully in their marketing strategies will help you realize its potential. This book was written during the height of our most recent global economic decline. Headlines are currently dominated by credit financial crises, federal bailouts of huge banks, and massive company layoffs. Yet the SMB marketers who have successfully implemented social media marketing strategies have survived if not thrived.
I’ve also provided a resources section that points you to excellent books and web logs (blogs) to help you gain other valuable perspectives and insights regarding social media marketing from other thought leaders. I strongly urge you to use these valuable resources.
I don’t mind telling you that I struggled on a title for this book. Throughout most of my writing, I was planning to title it Social Media Marketing for the Rest of Us because it’s not written for the Fortune 1000 brands, but rather for SMBs and nonprofits. I changed the title to Marketing 2.0 primarily because social media is still an evolving term for many in the SMB world. I really want you to grasp that this book is about a marketing mind-set that involves producing meaningful content and building relationships on the web. It just so happens that the web has become a social gathering place where relationships and authenticity win out over shouting and deals of the month. The web has also gone from being a flat, one-dimensional platform to a multidimensional, multisensory experience.
I really want to stress the importance of having a mind-set for marketing on the web that requires and facilitates changes in the way you think. As Mike Volpe described in the foreword, most marketers have a history of pushing out a message (outbound marketing) aimed at disrupting the target audience. For decades we got away with that. Sorry, but that just doesn’t work anymore. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can enjoy the results available in Marketing 2.0. The consumer (your buyer) is now in control. She knows where to go to find the products and services she needs and is willing to talk to people who have something to say about your products, your business, your people, and your competition. What she hears from them is going to influence her buying decision, and you cannot and will not control that—unless you are engaging the consumer in authentic relationships on and off the web. Only then can you have a positive influence on how she thinks about you.
At some point in this book, I may offend you a little, not with offensive language but rather with strong and blunt sentiment. I don’t sugarcoat my sentiments, and I offer no apology for that. My goal is to shake you up and get you thinking differently so your competitors don’t eat your lunch. You’ll see examples in the case studies of companies that are competing effectively against competitors many times their size by building relationships with customers online, giving them great content, and listening to and engaging them through the social web.
There is one truth you simply can’t deny: social media is growing at an amazing rate. The Universal McCann Report: Power to the People, Social Media Tracker: Wave 3 offers some amazing statistics worth noting. This report, completed in March 2008, was compiled through interviews of 17,000 Internet users across twenty-nine countries. Here are a few summary statistics:
- 57 percent of Internet users have joined a social network
- 73 percent have read a blog
- 34 percent post opinions about products and brands on blogs/social media
- 36 percent think positively about companies that have blogs
- 83 percent have viewed video on the social web
- 184 million people worldwide actively maintain a blog
In the 2008 Technorati Report: State of the Blogosphere, Technorati surveyed 1.2 million bloggers around the world who had registered with its service. Here are some summary statistics:
- 133 million blogs are registered with Technorati
- These blogs are from sixty-six countries in eighty-one languages
- Blogs have representation in top 10 website lists in all key categories
- Blogs are now a part of mainstream media
- Bloggers are savvy and sophisticated in driving traffic to their blog
- Bloggers are meticulous about tracking statistics about their blog
- Bloggers are successful—they are achieving career enhancement opportunities including speaking engagements
- The majority of bloggers are advertising on their blog, producing an income stream for themselves
- 90 percent of bloggers say they write about the products and services they love or hate (take note of this!)
In May 2005, BusinessWeek featured a cover story titled, “Blogs Will Change Your Business.” The article focused on how blogs had transitioned from the Internet fringe to the business mainstream. Blogs were no longer just a tool for individuals to rant about their favorite recipes, movie stars, or political viewpoints. Businesses were deploying blogs, and people were visiting them, reading them, and participating in the blog conversations. Brands awakened to the fact that bloggers working within a corporate setting had become influential. Prospects were visiting corporate blogs to read what they couldn’t read on websites and gaining insights from bloggers who had something provocative or insightful to say about vendors, their products, and their employees. The voice of the blog was being heard loud in the business arena. BusinessWeek‘s cover story included a subtitle: “Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out. Our advice: catch up ... or catch you later.”
In May 2008, BusinessWeek did something they had never done before. They wrote a cover story as a follow-up to a previous cover story (May 2005). This story, titled, “Beyond Blogs,” opened with this sentence: “Three years ago our cover story showcased the phenomenon (blogs). A lot has changed since then.” Is that ever an understatement! The May 2008 story discussed the evolution of the social web to include platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and Flickr. The article pointed out the risks of employees wasting time hanging out with friends on the Internet or leaking secrets on social networking sites. And it also highlighted the power of the social web to facilitate connections with resources in order to “assemble global teams for collaborative projects, and connecting with people capable of opening doors for new deals and strategic opportunities.” It also pointed out that “the resume is 140 characters,” referring to the explosive popularity of Twitter. BusinessWeek admits this story’s appropriate headline is, “Social Media Will Change Your Business.”
Marketing on the social web is not appropriate for all businesses, but probably is for most. If you’re in an industry where your customers don’t use the web, or you sell to a very small, finite customer base, the social web is not necessarily a viable place to market. However, using the social web for your research and education is strongly recommended.
In the end, I will judge the success of this book primarily not by how it sells but by feedback from the community. The social web will allow me to hear readers’ reactions to and opinions about what I’ve written, and I will engage them in conversations online. What will matter most to me is the feedback regarding this book’s effect on your willingness to embrace the social web as part of your marketing strategy. I invite your feedback at my blog, http://www.findandconvert.com/blog/.
The tools and technologies I discuss in this book evolve. Some may cease to exist or be made obsolete by others. This book isn’t about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, though I cover them extensively. This book is about how to embrace the most viable tools and platforms to bridge the gap between you (the seller) and your buyers.
I truly hope Marketing 2.0 has a positive impact on the way you think about reaching your customers, the employees you hire, and your future products and services. Most of all, I hope you embrace the two core concepts—the pillars—of Marketing 2.0: a content marketing strategy and a focus on building relationships through social media. The tools and technologies discussed are not the answers but the enablers. If Marketing 2.0 becomes a mind-set in your organization, you will bridge the buyer–seller gap, compete effectively, win market share, grow, thrive, prosper, and possibly reinvent your business along the way, if that’s what it takes. Marketing 2.0 offers you endless possibilities if you allow yourself the opportunity to engage, listen, and take action on the social web.
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