UPDATED: Draft Outline B2B Social Marketing Book

Here s a first-pass topical outline for the book Social Marketing to the Business Customer, by Paul Gillin and Eric Schwartzman (John Wiley & Sons, late 2010). This outline attempts to define all the major issues to be addressed in a book targeted at business-to-business marketers. Your thoughts are welcome. Use the comments area to tell us what we’ve missed and where we should devote the most attention. And if there’s anything that shouldn’t be here, let us know that as well

Note: Practical advice will be interleaved with case studies, vignettes and quotes from practitioners. We are very interested in identifying candidates for case studies. If you have a good story to tell or tips to share, contact Paul or Eric at paul{at}gillin{dot}com or eric{at}ericschwartzman[dot]c0m.

Update: This outline was revised and reposted on March 3, 2010. The most recent revision appears below. Earlier revisions have been deleted. Many of the comments refer to items that appeared in earlier versions.

Update: This outline was revised and reposted on Jan. 5, 2010 based on earlier feedback

1. The Changing Rules of B-to-B Marketing

  1. Traditional media in decline
  2. Rise of the unofficial spokesperson
  3. Proliferating channels to customer or, from a marketers point of view, audience fragmentation.
  4. The importance of peer-to-peer communications: the impact of markets as conversations.
  5. Assessing most effective platforms for B2B social media marketing
  6. Contrasting b-to-c and b-to-b audiences
  7. Creating a strategic framework for platform assessment.
  8. Promoting responsible edge work through corporate social media policies. If there’s no formal policy in place empowering employees to do the edge work, why would they risk their jobs to engage?

    1. Assessing value of end-customer pull vs. business partner push
  9. Estimating staffing requirements

2. 10 Ways You Can Use Social Media for B-to-B Marketing

  1. When social media is and isn’t appropriate
  2. Risk/reward matrix
  3. Applying social media to the traditional sales cycle
  4. Researching audience needs

    1. Listening and engaging
    2. Inviting feedback
    3. Market research
  5. Shift from demographic to psychographic profiling
  6. Product development
  7. Customer/channel relations
  8. Peer-to-peer marketing
  9. Cost-saving opportunities
  10. Applications of crowdsourcing

3. Getting Buy-In and Resources –

  1. Explaining value to stakeholders
  2. Adopting the mindset
  3. Test and revise
  4. Overcoming popular objections

    1. Top 10 arguments to make with legal and HR
    2. Convincing the CIO

4. Organizing for Social B-to-B

  1. Empowering employees to speak
  2. Integrating social media with conventional marketing
  3. Re-skilling the organization
  4. Marketing department organization
  5. Building bridges to other departments

5. Protect Yourself: Creating & Enforcing Social Media Policies

  1. Defining “transparency”
  2. Coordinating with existing corporate policies

    1. HR code of conduct
    2. IT policies
  3. Social media Policies vs. Guidelines

    1. Legal issues to consider
    2. Do you need a policy?
    3. Start fresh or build on existing policies?
    4. Issues to address

      1. Disclosure
      2. Private vs. Business Personae
      3. Privacy and confidentiality
      4. Respectfulness, diplomacy and conflict resolution
      5. Crisis considerations
  4. Enforcement and penalties
  5. Regulatory considerations

    1. Tweeting through an IPO

6. Lead Generation

  1. Building social media into the selling cycle
  2. Stages of the funnel
  3. Quality vs. quantity leads

7. Getting Starting: Easy Low-Risk Opportunities

  1. Identifying high impact applications for quick results
  2. Demand pull vs. supply push
  3. Choosing tools
  4. Analytics and metrics
  5. Worksheets
  6. Selecting participants
  7. Campaign lifecycles
  8. Budgeting
  9. Allocating resources
  10. Beyond the first campaign – next steps

8. Listening to Customers

  1. Listening through filters
  2. Embracing popular language
  3. Dealing with negativity without losing your cool
  4. Going “off message” in search of relevant conversations
  5. Keyword research primer (contributed by Lee Odden)
  6. Keyword validation
  7. Quality vs. Quantity tradeoffs
  8. Conversions
  9. Advanced search
  10. Competitive analysis
  11. Research alternatives
  12. Ratings systems
  13. Assembling a rapid response team
  14. Policies and procedures
  15. Building internal feedback loops

9. A Customer Is Not a Transaction: Deepening Relationships

  1. Incorporating social media into customer care and support (Social CRM)
  2. 360° listening scenarios
  3. Building a listening dashboard
  4. Creating customer testimonials and endorsements
  5. Integrating social media and customer events
  6. Brand ambassador programs

10. Profiting From Customer Communities & Social Networks

  1. Value of communities
  2. Branded vs. public communities
  3. Public vs. private
  4. Where do branded communities make sense?
  5. Best practices for encouraging activity
  6. Do you need a dedicated community manager?
  7. Skills requirements
  8. Employee involvement in customer communities
  9. Platform selection

11. B-to-b Uses for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

  1. Features and audiences
  2. Organizational versus individual value
  3. Using the platforms in combination with each other
  4. Behavioral standards and community values

12. A Non-Techie’s Guide to Choosing Platforms: Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced

  1. Securing the right infrastructure: Web 2.0, Licensed Software, Open Source and SaaS
  2. Matching platform to objective
  3. Overview of major platforms
  4. Public versus private platforms
  5. Selection grid and decision tree
  6. Examples of best practices
  7. Staff assignments and responsibilities
  8. Integrated campaigns
  9. Mobility (contributed by Christina Kerley)
  10. Risks: Data Portability, Back-up, Support, Service Level Agreements and Attention Siphons

13. Metrics and ROI

  1. How practitioners are approaching ROI
  2. Strength/weakness analysis of major metrics
  3. Working backwards from the goal
  4. Revision cycles
  5. Suggested ROI methodologies
  6. Multiplatform multiplier effect

14. What’s Next for B-to-B Social Media

  1. Expanding internal stakeholder involvement
  2. 2. Creating branded customer communities
  3. 3. Multichannel campaigns
  4. 4. Internal/external program integration
  5. 5. Creating a social media-aware workforce

21 thoughts on “UPDATED: Draft Outline B2B Social Marketing Book

  1. How about consideration of the role of the marketing person? If the new channels require more engagement with actual and potential customers, will that mean that more marketing & comms people are required, or that a significant part of the role of the marketing person will be coaching others in the business, directly and indirectly, to engage effectively?

  2. In the section “Picking Spots” #7 Budgeting, might be useful to specify financial and time budgeting if you haven’t already broken it out into two categories. Time management seems to be one of the biggest obstacles for people to overcome in thinking about B2B Social Marketing– so demystifying the actual time and processes that are necessary to be successful for long-term presences might help those thinking about it to get over the hurdle, seeing that it’s not as big of a time commitment when you’re organized and have a plan. It can become second nature once you get into the groove and have the people involved who truly want to be involved.

  3. I didn’t see anything in there about creating targeted social networks and community management. I suspect that’s an area of high growth and significant returns. The two sections on “peer to peer communications” may address that, but I think it’s important enough to warrant more focus. Hugh tech vendors are also creating their own virtual communities these days, like VMware or IBM. Transmedia marketing might be worth thinking about for the future.

  4. I think it would be interesting to include business model changes needed to extract the most value from B2B social. As a branded community manager, I see first hand how some companies stuggle with the abundance of real-time information coming in from private and public social networks. Many are stuggling with how to deal effectively with insights that might not address a specific and current problem, but may provide insight into future opportunities.

  5. Good outline. While targetted walled-garden networks created by a company for their customers certainly should be mentioned in relation to their research potential – and for thi the work of Communispace in the USA and FreshMinds in the UK serve as good examples – Im wary of their overall representation of the population that may potentially be interested in buying the product, as they are populated generally by self selected individuals. Community Management as a role is, I think, hinted at, but as Alex says, it would be nice to see some detailed analysis of what this role means – I see it as the formal interface and the point of responsibility between client and corporation online, though others may see it differently.
    In covering – or at least mentioning – the other roles that social media has beyond marketing – PR, customer service, market research, etc – I’d say you’ve got a good handle on the wide potential of the medium; might it be that something like “Social Media in a B2B environment” would make a better title, and at the same time show it’s relevance to a wider audience?

  6. I like it. We definitely need to address the question of when branded networks are worthwhile in this context. Anyone have good examples to share?

  7. The publisher wants to stay away from the “B2B” term in the title. I’m also inclined to look at externally facing applications and leave the issue of internal communities to another day. That’s a very different topic. We do need to address communities, absolutely.

  8. Here are some thoughts (on the first section about what makes B2B unique)…

    As B2B marketers, one of the largest issues my clients face is the length of the sales cycle and the number of people involved at every stage. I think it would be useful to break out the sales cycle into stages and discuss what type(s) of social media are most useful and why. Extra points for comparing usefulness/integration with conventional marketing.

    The variety of roles involved in the decision is another unique issue for B2B marketers. You may want to discuss the importance of going where the audience (by role) is–and how to figure that out (using listening technologies).

    It may also be useful to discuss human resource allocation.
    -Who will participate in social media? Marketing? Customer Service? Everyone?
    -What skills do you need to recruit now that content is truly king? What about now that analytics is growing?
    – Will we be hiring totally different people with different skill sets?
    -When do we outsource?

    How about a section where you answer FMOs Frequently Made Objections so that people don’t need to hunt for answers to their management’s biggest fears (Measurement, Firewalls, etc.)

  9. Barbara: These are outstanding comments. Would you be available for an interview to discuss at more length your perceptions of where social media fits at each stage?

  10. How about including how to sell people on the benefits of social media when they have no clue what social media even means….

  11. Of course, let me know what days and times would work for you. In the meantime, there’s an article on my website entitled, “How can businesses use Social Media to Shorten the Sales Cycle” (which was originally published in Marketing Profs on May 5) that covers some of my early ideas on the subject. When we speak, I’d welcome the chance to hear your perspectives on how to flesh this out and operationalize it…

  12. Anyone know any companies that are doing a good job of managing branded B2B customer communities? There are plenty of examples in the B2C area, but not many that I’ve seen for business customers. SAP comes to mind…

  13. Great topic.
    I am interested in a focus on what makes a community attractive to a business person. Someone who answers 100s of emails why would they want more? What compels someone to join in? What are the dynamics that make that happen? A bit of Malcolm Gladwell deep analysis as to what makes people do what they do. So that we have the think behind the tools. So that we will be applying things that work when the newness rubs off.

  14. One interesting area that you might consider including is the growing convergence between B2B social media and leadgen. One of our clients is the CMO Club and they found those to be the top two areas the typical CMO wants to spend more money on in 2010. If you can bring a new company a qualified B2B lead on a lead-gen basis, the floodgates of budget open up.

  15. This is such a pervasive issue that it didn’t really occur to us to make it an outline item. It will absolutely be a key part of the book. Thanks.

  16. I own a sheet metal formability consulting firm (somewhat of a niche market as you might imagine), and among the issues I face is that my peer-to-peer communications are with the engineers/technicians experiencing the shop floor problems. Unfortunately, if they have an issue on which they can use my consulting services, they usually need to move mountains to get their management to approve some budget. My social media efforts (blog/newsletter/etc) all help to increase visibility, but ultimately it’s the one who controls the money that needs to be engaged.

  17. Very informative post. I’ve found your blog via Bing and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your posts. Btw your sites layout is really messed up on the Chrome browser. Would be really great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the great work!

  18. Paul, this appears very comprehensive and I look forward to a sneak peek! Were you planning to include anything on managing social media activities in the context of the quiet period in the run-up to an IPO? Maybe too specialized a topic?

  19. Interesting question, Pat. We certainly will be including material on regulatory restrictions, which are germane to many B2B companies. We’ll make a note to mention the specific conditions around an IPO, although a quiet period usually involves total radio silence and I don’t think social media affects that one way or the other.

  20. Under what’s next, the shift from external to internal. Today, most social media posts are from Marketing or Customer Service and target external audiences. Tomorrow, will social media replace email and application portals used for internal conversations?

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