January 20, 2013 – Consumer-focused companies have thrived over the last few years using digital and social media strategies to reach their customers. Business-to-business companies, however, have not found it as easy to transition to these new platforms. While B2B marketing models are many times more complex, very little has been written to guide these companies in developing their own strategies.
Bill Blaney, Senior Creative Director and Digital Strategist at Walter F. Cameron Marketing & Communications, has filled that void with a new book: B2B A To Z: Marketing strategies that generate leads for your Business-to-Business company, published through Denham Publishing, Inc. “As a B2B marketer, it’s been surprising to me how few guidebooks have been written for businesses that sell to other businesses,” Blaney says. “While there are a few, they’re either too specific about one businesses category or written by publishers rather than practitioners. This book is an attempt to rectify that.”
Blaney has been at the forefront of digital marketing for over 14 years, leading efforts for B2B clients including JP Morgan Chase, Canon, Capital One Bank, NBC and many others, large and small. The main problem, Blaney says, is that most business-to-business marketers misunderstand how online marketing and even social channels – such as LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, Slideshare, Google + and Flickr – can complement their off-line efforts and actually generate leads.
“Print is not completely dead for many B2B’ers, but it is only one component of what must be a larger marketing canvas,” he says. “The trick is to pick the tools that can actually help companies that, say, sell nutritional supplements to soda manufacturers, industrial boilers to institutions, or fruit to wholesalers. There are so many companies out there that never interface with consumers but still need to reach their customers in multiple sales channels.”
B2B A To Z presents literally that – a set of easy-to-apply principles covering every aspect of B2B digital and traditional marketing today, from online branding to building the most effective website to lead generation, social marketing, email blasts, keyword marketing and more. In addition, the book provides useful background about the current media landscape, debunks some B2B marketing myths, and offers unique ideas such as “category-focused microsites” and innovative approaches to promotion, public relations, affiliations and branding.
Blaney notes that his path to writing this book was an easy one. Early in his career, as an art director working for advertising legend George Lois, he learned the value of thinking outside of the box. “George is known for revolutionizing the advertising industry with work that is always bold,” Blaney said. “There’s a huge value in being the loudest voice in the room. Some marketers today feel that the soft sell, particularly online, is the only way to go. I think both approaches have value. It’s just a matter of finding the right balance.”
An early social marketing success story involves an online campaign Blaney devised for the TNT cable channel. “In 2001, my agency began engaging with comic book forum audiences to help promote the cable show Witchblade. We did more than just shill for the show. We became the audience as well. It helps when you can speak one-on-one with your customers. Our work helped the show gain the largest audience for a cable pilot at that time. I saw how that strategy could work for other companies, including those that market only in the trade space.”
It’s not how much you spend, Blaney emphasizes, but how you spend it. “When it comes to SEO and social marketing, there are numerous ‘tricks of the trade’ to get the most bang out of small budgets,” he says. “There are also so many ideas beyond print ad, press release and brochure. In my book, I show how to leverage all of these strategies to make a real difference on your bottom line.”at this, Cameron renamed the technology RIDE™ – Remote Ice Delivery Equipment – and developed an integrated multi-media marketing campaign featuring an animated “Chewblet” – Follett’s brand name for its chewable ice – as “spokesperson.” A 3D animated Chewblet character stars in an entertaining and educational video demonstrating the benefits of RIDE. The character also appears in trade print ads, an online microsite, collateral materials, sales support tools and trade show programs.