B2B Social Media Marketing: Fad or Frontier?

Pugulistic pundit point/counterpoint.

Foretelling the future of social media marketing in the business-to-business arena has prompted a pugulistic pundit point/counterpoint.

I recently shared a couple articles that offered opposing opinions of the future of social media marketing for B2B:

IN THIS CORNER: Josh Bernoff of Forrester:

Josh Bernoff of ForresterMakes his point with the statement, “If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late.”

Josh cites research of 1,200 businesses to back his opinion.

IN THIS CORNER: Mark Everett Hall of Computerworld:

Mark Everett Hall of ComputerworldCounterpunches with, “…as a tool for B2B marketers, it’s a fad in search of purpose.”

A healthy dose of cynicism and a poor showing of B2B SMM in an award ceremony is Mark’s back-up.

Who triumphs in this battle?

Is social media marketing for B2B companies a time-wasting fad or are we embarking on a new frontier?

Using LinkedIn’s group discussion tool, I posed this question to my BtoB Marketing group colleagues. Here’s my favorite replies:

Jim Bianchi
President, Bianchi Public Relations, Inc.

“Back in the 1990s, some B2B marketers said the exact same thing about the Internet and company websites — “a fad in search of a purpose.” B2B’ers need to enbrace SMM, but do it smartly, for the right reasons, the right way. It’s the most powerful thing going, especially with the economic woes killing advertising and trade show budgets.”

Carol S. Niemi

“Marketing is all about communicating persuasively. So why would we eliminate SMM or any other valid form of communication — especially one that is so affordable (free!) and growing in popularity?”

Jonathan Ward, MBA
Marketing Operations Consultant

“I’ve landed 2 new accounts and am in discussions with two more thanks to social media. Social media networking is great, and what I love most is that it breaks down regional barriers to doing business. Like anything, you have to stay on top of it, and I’ve learned it’s easy to ever-extend and join too many groups or use too many social media tools (for one person), but it works if you can stay focused.”

Vince Saputo
District Sales Manager at Penton Media

“Yes. It is both fad and frontier. As some have mentioned, it is easy to scoff at early adopters since, in many cases, they simply early adopt to the next new thing if this one doesn’t work out. For skeptics, this is tragic since it seems to them more like giddy seventh-graders bouncing off the walls than a substantive discussion of worthwhile premises. For those of us waiting in St. Louis for dispatches from the frontier via Pony Express, we have the wagon and the provisions, we just need to see a little proof. As you see from the answers here, some are successful early adopters, which gives hope to those waiting back in St. Louis for the next dispatch. The fact is LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, et al, will be better as they evolve. No hurry to pack up the wagon just yet. But, I’ll be with y’all soon!”

And the match winner is: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR B2B MARKETING

Clearly, a majority of business-to-business marketers are prepared to venture out on the new frontier versus waiting to see what will happen with these new messaging tools.

Thinking about adding social media to your BtoB marketing mix? MLT Creative can help you begin your venture on the new frontier. We can assist you with your initial social media site selection and create, write, and manage these sites.