And We’re Full!

I was checking the attendance number for my VMworld 2013 session today and realized it was completely full! Now that’s intimidating.

Preparing for the session has certainly been taking up a lot more of my time than I originally envisioned. The session is BCO5652 – Three Quirky Ways to Simplify DR with Site Recovery Manager and I am definitely planning on erring towards the more technical content. One drawback to this kind of presentation is that there is always way to much information to fit into a single presentation. A corresponding advantage however is that I have some material for the next few blog posts after VMworld!

VMworld 2013

In 2012 I attended VMworld for the first time. I managed to sneak in a breakout session or two amongst a multitude of customer briefings and prowling the Expo floor to see some of the shiny new things from the ecosystem. It was certainly an exciting event and a great introduction to the excitement and passion surrounding VMware. One of the few downsides to last years events was that I missed a lot of the after-hours activities due to the commute back to San Jose every evening.

Well it’s 2013 now and VMworld is rolling around again. This year I am lucky enough to be presenting a session, BCO5652 – Three Quirky Ways to Simplify DR with Site Recovery Manager. Also I will be taking advantage of San Francisco’s hotels and staying in the city during the conference so I can be closer to the action this year.

B2B and Social Media

For my Social Media class I was asked to read an article by Valeria Maltoni called The Truth About B2B Social Media Adoption. The article covers the frustrations that many business experience:

The truth about social media adoption… is that many B2B (business to business) marketers are frustrated and less than satisfied with the performance of their website, social, search marketing and sales conversion efforts. This is especially true in small and mid-sized companies…

Valeria’s article references a survey by Penton Marketing Services that reveals a majority of B2B companies are dissatisfied with the performance of their website in meeting their companies goals: It doesn’t deliver enough leads, doesn’t effectively support customer service etc. Given this fairly poor base it is easy to see why many small to mid-sized businesses are loathe to invest much money or effort in social media.

Determining the Social Media Marketing Mix

Companies that are investing in online marketing need to determine what marketing mix to use, for many businesses it is invested in those channels that have an easily measured impact on the business. Justifying marketing spend on vanity metrics like likes or re-tweets is getting increasingly trickier, tying the impact of social channels into metrics that reflect desired business goals is increasingly important. Ensuring these links are correctly attributing the impact of social media is important, Adobe recently published a report that shows that common methods of attributing the impact of social media can underestimate the impact by up to 94%.

On social media adoption Valeria writes that:

Among those who have social media outposts, Facebook, at 90 percent, is by far the most widely used networks, followed by Twitter at 53 percent, and LinkedIn at 47 percent.

B2B companies are mainly adopting the Hub and Spoke organization for their online properties. Companies can be seen to be using different social media channels for fairly different reasons:

Purpose/Channel Blogs Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube
Customer Service X
Product Marketing X X X
Brand Marketing X X
Company News X X X
Industry News X
Recruiting X X

Some channels are better suited to communicating certain messages. For example the professional focus of LinkedIn has made it a favored channel for recruitment, meanwhile YouTube is often used to provide additional product information or general brand promotion.

Impact of the Right Content Strategy

It is important to ensure that the right channel is delivering appropriate content that supports the business goal. Delivering effective online content and promoting it can dramatically lower the cost of generating new leads. Hubspot have estimated that inbound marketing costs about 62% less than outbound marketing per lead.

What is a content strategy and how do you know you’ve got it right? One of my favorite definitions of content strategy is:

Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Necessarily, the content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we’re publishing it in the first place. Otherwise, content strategy isn’t strategy at all: it’s just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants. (See: your company’s CMS.)

- Kristina Halvorson

If we know why we are publishing something we should be able to tie that into a measurable metric, whether it’s cheaper leads, increased order sizes, shorter sales cycles etc. At the end of the day to show an ROI we need to either show we are either making money or saving money by investing in this pushing content to our channels.

Engage Intelligently

In her post Valeria makes the point that B2B organizations where many subject matter experts reside. If we want to effectively reach them we need to communicate using smart and engaging content.

If we can deliver this we can be influencers within our target industries so that when those organizations are early in their procurement life cycle we are top of mind.

Does Emotional Advertising Work For Businesses?

In my earlier post discussing emotions in advertising I made the point that advertising that connects with us emotionally is more effective than advertising that promotes product features”. This is a fairly accepted point but how true is it? For some campaigns, such as UK Cancer Research, the use of powerful emotional appeals is congruent with the subject matter. However how does this work for Businesses looking to make emotional connections? Coming on too strong would no doubt turn consumers off.

For me Dove’s campaign for real beauty is a great example of a brand that was able to successfully make a powerful emotional connection.

By transitioning their messaging away from the typical features and benefits to a more emotional level Dove’s brand became much more differentiated. This emotional connection ensures customers have a higher recall of the advert and impacted their purchase behavior. These effects have been observed in a variety of advertising.

The ads that performed well on the traditional system two measures (persuasion, cut-through, brand linkage, message delivery) were actually less effective in market than the nine ads performing poorly on these measures. In fact, designing the advertising to perform well on such measures may work against effectiveness. Meanwhile, the nine most emotional ads delivered greater business effects than the nine least emotional ads.
- Let’s get emotional about ads

For businesses making a strong emotional appeal can move the needle, if it is congruent with their brand. So should we neglect rational adverts? Research suggests that actually a balanced approach works best. Emotional adverts tend to outperform purely rational adverts, but a combination of emotional advertising that clearly communicates rational benefits performs best.