In my inbox this morning, there was an email invite to an AMA seminar entitled “Social Media for B2B.” I scanned the headline and the first paragraph and was stopped by the first sentence. It read:
Like it or not, social media is playing an increasingly important role in B2B decision-making and sales…
And I stopped and thought, is this really what the world thinks of B2B marketers? “Like it or not”? What is it about B2B marketers that would lead the rest of the world to see us as resistant to social media? Just because we don’t sell lattés or lingerie, are we really perceived as being pissed that social media is invading our safe, boring little worlds?
The B2B marketers I know and have the good fortune to work with are savvy and sophisticated professionals. And they’re looking to social media with as much anticipation as any B2C marketing person. Sure, the tactics employed by most aren’t the high-flying, headline-grabbing Old Spice type of initiatives. But they are deliberate, consistent efforts to demonstrate thought leadership, provide value and engage customers in real, insightful dialogue.
Times they are a’changin’
When I speak with B2B marketers about integrating social media strategies, I typically encounter some pushback. But that resistance was much more pronounced in January 2009 than it is in January 2011. The responses have gone from “isn’t social media just for kids on MySpace?” to “isn’t social media just for consumer brands?” to “how do I get this done now?!” B2B marketers DO realize the value of social media. They DO want to relate to consumers as human beings. And they DO realize it’s become a business imperative.
Have B2B marketers been a little late to the social media game? Sure. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to play.