Why B2B Social Media Is Driving Integrated Marketing Communications
Given the proliferation of B2B social media, in addition to traditional communications channels, there’s never been a more critical time for integrated marketing communications (marcom). Let’s face it, our marcom messages need to deliver results and support the brand. However, a lack of integration and message consistency diminish the synergies and results from integrated marcom. As a result the organization, sales in particular, is left clearing the confusion in the market. But it gets even worse…
These same un-integrated marketing communications could reduce your online marketing results. Your messaging is an opportunity to differentiate you from your competitors. Are your social communications in sync with your other online communications such as your website and blog?
Keywords are the B2B integrated marcom glue
With lengthy B2B buying cycles, keywords and phrases are important to generating and nurturing leads at every phase of the buying cycle. When a prospect conducts a search, your content, owned or earned, should show up in the results.
A study by Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and his associates uncovered the message disparity of software vendors in the social media management space. Granted, the study objective was to prove little market differentiation between offerings relative to each vendor’s website messaging. However, when you consider how the study included evaluation of on-page messaging and positioning statements, as well as meta titles, descriptions and keywords, you quickly see how important keywords become in the buying journey.
Take a look at your content calendar. Does it map to keywords based on the stage in the buying cycle? For example prospects early in the buying cycle tend to search at a higher, more generic level, e.g., CRM software. Then, as they move through the buying cycle, search strings tend to be more specific, e.g., CRM software integrated with social media.
In addition, B2B buying journeys usually have more than one buying influence such as an economic buyer and a technical buyer. This presents additional opportunities to tailor your content to keywords on which each buying influence would search. Ardath Albee’s Buyer Personas describe buyers at a more personal level than a product category keyword or phrase. Personas can be useful in determining long tail keywords and phrases indicative of a buyer who is further along in the buying journey.
For example, let’s say you’ve published a white paper on the ROI of cloud computing, a piece that was designed to attract CIOs and CFOs in the evaluation phase of the buying cycle. Your marcom mix should be optimized for the phrase ROI of cloud computing including blog posts, banner ads, website content, tweets, G+ posts, bookmarking sites and SlideShare presentations. With this level of integration and the right keywords, your content is much more effective at generating interest and leads.
Your content should be optimized for keywords at each phase of the buying cycle and for each buying influence involved in the purchase decision. When you understand the keywords and phrases for each phase and persona, it becomes easier to manage your content resources and optimize your content across all media.
How do you ensure the effectiveness of your integrated marketing communications?
By: Joan Damico
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