Think about this: in, say, 1998 my company offers high tech widgets using product datasheets and a corporate brochure. Then the internet comes along, and voila… I am using the same materials, the same brochure and product info, only now they’ve been HTML coded and are online. Same words, different format.
Now it’s 2011 and social media hits B2B… guess what? My materials have to change… from sell sheets to blogs, brochures to videos, technical papers to online problem solving for customers, from advertising to information that engages, teaches, inspires confidence and builds trust.
Yes, the internet has changed the way customers find my company and has made it easier for them to research my widgets. These are monumental changes, no doubt.
But social media has changed the essence of what I say to customers, which means the very fibre of how I market and sell. The self-serving corporate brochure (now turned website) and ‘we’re the greatest’ datasheets are mostly meaningless these days.
For companies and marketers, the logical effects of this watershed change are just being realised; but it’s not hard to see that the complete restructuring of the relationship among company/distributor/customers that social media has fostered will continue to have revolutonary implications in just about every aspect of B2B marketing.