by Virginie Glaenzer
Over the last couple of years, new technologies and social media have matured and shifted the world of marketing to a new communication model: B-to-P, or business to people. With any new opportunities, challenges are quick to appear. This new B-to-P model requires intimate fluency to leverage the various social networks, and it also puts increased pressure on the need to build and retain strong marketing teams.
The New B-to-P Marketing Model
B-to-B and B-to-C companies have featured a set of communications and marketing practices that were defined by the purchasing process. Today, it appears things are changing dramatically. When it comes to building relevant and engaging marketing campaigns using the latest communications tools and technologies, those B-to-B and B-to-C categorizations have become obsolete.
To some extent, marketing is embracing a reverse-industrialization movement, moving away from the standardized workflow of Taylorism. Marketing is becoming ever more highly segmented and targeted in its communications outreach.
While most businesses understand they need to craft different messaging for each of their target audiences to sell the same product, now, the messaging needs to be even more customized to each individual. This is true for B-to-C and B-to-B alike.
That’s when social media through engagement and storytelling strategies, as well as retaining your marketing team, come into play.
Challenge #1: Social media adds complexity but brings relevant storytelling and engagement.
At first glance, social media seems to add complexity to marketing’s attempt to target customers. But a deeper look into social networks illuminates the opportunities these platforms present to craft relevant content for increasingly specific user groups.
Each social network displays certain types of behaviors and personalities. By understanding better the uniqueness of each social network, one can connect with different target audiences. Twitter users are very much into near-instantaneous communication and gratification. They appear to be more narcissistic because it’s all about them: Tweets are short, to the point and make their writer look good. On Twitter, one can build a relationship quickly, at least at the appearance level.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, creates a more long-term type of dialogue. Users must take time to analyze others by looking at their profiles before engaging. LinkedIn relationships build slowly, and introductions are more formal and consistent with a more traditional and conservative way of doing business and building relationships.
The variety works in marketing’s favor, as it forces organizations to think of what’s in it for customers.
This is the real opportunity: to shift the “What” into the “Why.” Refocusing your business story to answer why it matters to customers becomes much easier thanks to the greater listening and engagement made possible through social media networks.
Challenge #2: Marketing teams needs to stick around to build real online relationships.
Because people relate to other human beings and not algorithms, organizations wishing to engage in social media must have the right people power – or work with third parties like LiveWorld – to build those relationships.
This is an even greater challenge than figuring out which social networks to invest in. Building relationships is a long-term process that requires loyalty and commitment from your own team. Your business relationships will be broken quickly if your team keeps changing too often.
More than ever, marketing leaders need to focus on retention, finding ways to keep their employees loyal and growing within the organization.
To conclude, meaningful relationships are two-way. As a marketing leader, I’m finding that B-to-P is much more satisfying and potentially more effective than either B-to-B and B-to-C. So ask yourself, which kind of marketing model are you building, and what is it worth to your business?
Virginie Glaenzer is the vice president of marketing at LiveWorld, a social content marketing company and trusted partner to the world’s largest brands in retail, CPG, pharmaceutical and financial/travel services.