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B2B social media: thumbs up on latest BtoBonline webcast

b2b social mediaAs the latest BtoB Magazine webcast,  “How to Leverage Online Communities for B2B Marketing,”got underway, I visited the launch page for a link to the webcast’s major sponsor, ITtoolbox .

The result? Nada.

I really wouldn’t pick on them for this oversight, if it weren’t for the fact that real-world examples can teach us much about best practices.

So, my apologies, ITtoolbox marketing team, for calling it out. But I fear that omitting a link from the event lobby might mean you have no click through stats on visits to ITtoolbox from the BtoB webcast event lobby. I definitely did not get routed to a customized landing page that helps move BtoB subscribers to accept the next offer: membership… and ultimately abandoned the site, for reasons I describe below.

I fear too that, as a result of omitting that all-important link from the event lobby to a customized landing page, the ITtoolbox marketing team might not get maximum dollar for dollar ROI on the webcast sponsorship – or indeed be able to measure ROI.

Going forward, this issue could be overcome with a few hours content writing and web development guided by MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook, so aptly described in Brian Carroll’s post Landing Page Handbook: How to Raise Conversions by 40% (get the handbook – worth every red cent if you’re responsible for conversions at your company’s site – at Landing Page Handbook: How to Raise Conversions).

I did accurately guess ITtoolbox’s URL, accepted a membership, started to complete a profile, and began searching for blogs to track and sub-groups to join. I got the impression that community creators want folks to blog and wiki about technical issues like software code. I’m not whining about their focus, I’m just mystified about the push to get me, a Sacramento marketing consultant, to join in the fun.

I abandoned the profile completion because there doesn’t seem to be a community of people at the site who are like me or could use my perspective.

Back to the BtoB webcast content.

One of the two most useful slides was provided by Booker Ellis. He discussed the shift in B2B PR and ad budgets from editorial and paid placements in traditional business media, toward user-generated business media. Here’s the matrix he developed to illustrate the point:

b2b social media

(Credit: Ellis Booker, Editor, BtoB magazine)

I wonder if perhaps the content-rich Technorati might be a better choice for the upper right quadrant, if we’re seeking companies emblematic of user-generated business media. I find LinkedIn great for keeping up with professional contacts but light on user-generated content – despite the fact that they make it very easy to connect one’s profile with one’s feed.

(Sidebar: Of the 2 contacts in my LinkedIn network that have linked their feed to their profile, there’s 1 I want to disconnect with — but is there any way to disconnect with people on LinkedIn – ?)

That said, Booker’s ‘evolving media landscape’ slide raises several interesting ideas. Among them is how this mapping approach might apply to the evolving agency landscape.

If Sacramento marketing consultants, for example, were mapped to this sort of matrix, a handful of nimble Web 2.0-savvy marketing agencies would sit in the top right quadrant; by contrast, I think all but one of the large Sacramento PR and ad agencies would sit in the bottom left area – due to their continuing focus on paid and editorial placements in traditional consumer media. (Friends at local large agencies, feel free to set me straight.)

Perhaps someone out there could establish a wiki-style forum for nailing down where Sacramento marketing consultants sit in such a matrix. Helping prospects see where various Sacramento marketing firms sit regarding Web 2.0 technologies is an idea that’s been rattling around in the back of my head for a couple of years — it was first inspired by SARTA’s effort to show the genealogy of Sacramento technology firms — but I never seem to get around to it.

Last item worth passing along: Jeff Zabin of Aberdeen Group noted the explosion in social media by huge enterprises, and provided this compelling image: 

b2b social media

(Credit: Jeff Zabin, Research Fellow, Customer Management practice, Aberdeen Group)

Having a collection of enterprise perspectives on marketing via social media could be very useful when it comes to steering marketing budget allocations for the remainder of ‘08. And it conveys – to me, anyway - that we might be in a Web 3.0 world now.

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Topics: Performance Lead Generation