I was scanning the latest B2B Marketing Benchmark Report this morning from the MarketingSherpa folks and was stopped in my tracks when I read that B2B marketers are ahead of their B2C counterparts when it comes to adopting social media strategies.
But, the more I thought about it, the less surprising I find this trend for one, core reason. More on that and a look at the chart that caught my eye after the jump.
The core reason these statistics shouldn't surprise us is that B2B marketing is often more personal, more dependent on real, trusted relationships between customer- or prospect-human and partner-human than a B2C relationship between a consumer and a brand or product.
Sure, B2C relationships can be intensely personal. How often have you seen a sticker in the back window of a Chevy or Dodge truck with a little boy doing his business on a Ford logo (or vice-versa)? But the B2B relationship is more often than not core to the initial sale and certainly critical to the ongoing relationship. The people standing behind the RFP or contract and their ability to make the lives of the customer easier or more productive form the foundation of the B2B experience.
For this reason, supporting and improving this experience should be the cornerstone of your B2B social media strategy. If you're simply using social media as an alternative distribution channel for your company and product propaganda, your social media grade can only be passing at best.
Think holistically. Social media isn't only a tool for marketers and PR types. The relationship between customer or prospect and partner is made up of many touchpoints -- or moments of truth as Jan Carlzon, the former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, wrote about years ago. Think about how social media can support and improve each moment of truth. There won't always be an answer. After all, social media are simply tools in the toolbox.
But asking the question is a great way to progress from merely passing the test to acing it.