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B2B undergoing "social media transformation"

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9th Nov 2010
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According to Informatica’s chief marketing officer, business to business outfits currently lag behind their business to consumer counterparts in social media, but the gap is narrowing.

Business to business companies are currently behind the social media curve compared to their business to consumer counterparts, but the gap is narrowing as B2B organisations continue to undergo a "social media transformation". That’s the view of Informatica chief marketing officer Chris Boorman, who spoke to MyCustomer.com at the company’s Informatica World 2010 this week.
"My view is business to consumer companies ‘get it better’ than business to business companies," said Boorman. "I think an evolution is happening. Most organisations are going through a transition to understanding social media."
He warned one of the main facets to understand is how it’s "very easy to waste a lot of energy and effort to drive social media for the sake of social media," but argued social media has to be part of the media and communications strategy for companies. Turning to how Informatica uses social media, Boorman explained, "We choose the different parts of social media we want to participate in. Right now we use Twitter for influencing the influencers."
"We know the industry analysts are following; we know consultants are following; we know the press are following," he said, before admitting, "I not sure many customers are really following at this time."
Boorman also cited blogging as an important and useful tool in a number of ways, including having a quantifiable conversation for getting the company message out, and also in regards to search engine optimisation. "Ultimately when you get to things like search, our children are so familiar to using things like iTunes, iPhones, and Google in a way our parents never were. It is such a profound change that enterprises need to embrace the community and the online world."
"My belief," he explains, "is online is king.
"Everybody when researching a business to business solution will go online and look, and what you’ve got to make sure is what they see, they like. We’ve put a lot of effort from a company point of view in building an infrastructure that allows me to know what you’ve bought and what you haven’t bought."
Boorman reiterated his initial message: "A lot of business to business companies are going through a transformation in that respect. I think the business to consumer companies get it more because they have been reaching out to Facebook and so on."
Looking at how wealth management companies can leverage social media, Boorman said, "From a wealth management point of view it’s about how you understand who your client is. So the ability to bring in social media data into a single view of your customer enables you to have so much more insight you can then use to deliver greater value to them."
He argued social media was becoming an "increasingly important weapon in the arsenal of a modern marketer," something that all organisations need to understand how to leverage effectively. "Organisations are now beginning to understand there’s a whole range of data out there they can bring back from a competitive advantage perspective," Boorman added.
"Organisations that are not [understanding the importance of social media] risk significant impact to the brand."

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