W. Edward Pierce – Principal, It’s The Arts
While brand marketers for consumer companies exploit the new web-created opportunities to catch buyers’ attention, B2B marketers have had good reason to wait. The general consensus is that digital marketing comprises a corporate website and repetitive corporate messaging placed in banner advertising and in social media posts, tweets and photos.
As a marketing manager for a provider of fleet products or services, you know that the first question an executive will ask is “Where’s the value?” Are you really going to explain marketing value based on Facebook “likes,” Twitter “follows,” and Pinterest “pins”? Not likely! It’s hard enough explaining the value of traditional advertising measures like cost-per-thousand, impressions, awareness and perceptions.
Okay, so why will digital marketing become an integral part of every fleet providers integrated marketing strategy?
The first reason is that “owned media” give you total control over direct interactions with your target audience. You control both the timing and content of your messages.
Second, social media “followers” are more emotionally connected, according to a Motista Q4-2011 report. Of course, stronger emotional connection leads to better business outcomes.
Third, social media connections lead to better response rates to traditional promotions. In the same Motista report, 28% of social media followers of a business’ page responded to that company’s direct mail (snail mail) promotions compared to 10% of non-followers.
Finally, 73% percent of social media followers have recently recommended a brand compared to 40% of non-followers, results reported by Motista.
As with all B2B marketing programs, the road from brand awareness to a sale is long and winding. However, that road is paved with significant milestones – gaining share of mind of the buyer, clearly differentiating the business, establishing a unique solution, building an emotional connection, and finally, sharing a belief in a mutually advantageous relationship.
Despite the opportunity that owned media brings to a business, surprisingly few companies have the content, process, and methodologies in place to fully benefit from direct distribution to a target audience. Even if there’s a plan that has been effective in securing good search engine results and distribution of the brand name, the critical element of engagement is still lacking.
In the next column, we will delve into ways fleet providers can improve engaging their target audience. If you have a specific marketing issue or question, call me at 610–585-0801 or send an email to EdPierce@ItsTheArts.com.