B to B Marketing - February 2010 Marketing Blog

My marketing colleagues and I attended a B to B Magazine breakfast.  B to B and Staffing Industry Analysts share the same corporate parent, Crain Communications Inc. The breakfast topic was integrated digital marketing. I thought I would share my thoughts with you about integrated digital marketing.

The panelists at breakfast were from Intel, Brocade Communications, SAP and Informatica. All are large technology companies if you haven’t heard of all of them. I am always amazed at the level of information and data Intel collects, they truly are the gold standard of information collectors, Intel seems to do an amazing job. With that being said, I learned a couple of things: 1. there is no standard for integrated digital marketing, no matter how much money you have to spend 2. most think that integrated digital marketing is important 3. all use digital marketing differently.

So let’s talk about what digital marketing means. The meaning is all over the map. Some describe digital marketing as “the Internet.” Some describe it as on-line, as opposed to print marketing and some describe it as video. Broad descriptions. Point is what the marketers were trying to say, I think is, it takes a lot these days to get people’s attention. Marketers need a platform by which to show off what they do and it isn’t about your website, the website is one part of the portfolio. There needs to be a mix in the marketing portfolio between creating applications for users to try, contests to gain awareness, videos to help build awareness and brand and the overall need to generate leads for sales or the channel.

For those of us who have low budgets and do not have robust platforms to host a lot of what the digital briefcase may bring I have a couple of suggestions that we can all do – and maybe some of you are already doing.

  1. No matter what you are doing, have a referral program. Your referral program can be having people sign up for a newsletter and the originator gets a prize for the referral. If it is a sales referral maybe it is a discount on future services. Whatever your program, a referral program is inexpensive to implement and should be part of your mix.
  2. There is value to live events. Given the topic of digital, live doesn’t have to mean a conference, it could mean live chat or a webinar – it is part of creating a community in which your audience can participate. Think about it, perhaps you are recruiting for a particular position, and you set up a live chat for prospects to ask questions about the position and the company. Might be an interesting way to get people engaged.
  3. Marketing needs to be measured. We have discussed this before, but what I learned from Intel is it is not clicks, but it is engagement. How engaged are your prospects? Rate prospects on the actions that they take. They come to your website – that is one point; they read an article – that is another point; they comment on a blog – that is another point; they buy something – ring the bell.
  4. Facebook vs. Linked In. There was a debate about this, but what I learned is that Facebook does well for event marketing. That if you want people to show up for something, Facebook might be the answer. Try it, who knows. Regarding Linked In, a great list of your prospects live on Linked In, so invest in the time to link.
  5. Reference marketing. I think this is an underused marketing element. I know it is tough, because many customers do not wish to endorse or appear to be endorsing a product or service, but we all can do a better job of using our existing, satisfied customers.

So hopefully, I have reminded you of a couple of tweaks you can make to your marketing programs. Remember, we are having a marketing panel at Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum March 17-19, 2010. I would love to see all of you there so we can share ideas and bring the level of marketing up in the staffing world. If you want more information, visit our website www.siexecutiveforum.com or follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/execforum.

Look forward to seeing you in March!

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