Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It's a work-hard, play-hard world out there, and there's nothing better to end a day of deep discussions on marketing than sharing a few drinks or going out to grab a bite to eat.
At Eloqua, we are lucky to have some of the most interesting, fun, and social customers around (they are marketers, after all), so when we started talking about what one might do with Facebook from a B2B marketing perspective, an obvious answer came up. Keep it friendly.
I suspect we're not the only marketing team who was on one hand intrigued by the reach and the buzz of Facebook, but on the other hand not quite sure what would work from a B2B marketing perspective. The idea of discussing the latest whitepaper or marketing best practices did not seem to fit the social vibe of Facebook. When the discussion turned to our customers though, we quickly realized that the social interactions we had with them were as interesting and valuable as the marketing discussions we had.
Another thing that we discussed was that many of our team will work with our clients remotely before ever meeting them face to face. Friendships develop over email and phone conversations far before having a face to face interaction.
So, our Facebook plan developed. We wanted to explore and expose the social side of Eloqua. As we go to events, share a few drinks with clients, or have dinner with marketing groups, we'll post the pictures on Facebook so the clients we are already friends with can get to know us better as people, and the people who have met at user groups around the country can reconnect online.
What is our business rationale for this? That's a great question. The Gallup organization did a workplace poll a few years back that observed that having good friends at work was a significant factor in employee retention (http://gmj.gallup.com/content/511/Item-10-Best-Friend-Work.aspx). Could the same idea hold in client retention? We're not sure, but it's fun to try, and a great reason to get more social with our clients.
Our commitment is that we won't "talk shop". Every marketer we have interacted with who experiences an Eloqua event and feels the vibe and energy of the community is excited to join it, and that is motivation enough for us. Will this strategy work, we're not sure, but as David Armano said the other day, we're all learning by doing - http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2009/03/brands-will-learn-by-doing-get-used-to-it-.html
I'm interested in your comments, whether you're an Eloqua customer or not. What have you seen with this type of a B2B Facebook strategy? What has worked, what has not? What are your first reactions? If you are a customer, what are your thoughts on our Facebook presence? What would you like to see more of or differently about the social side of Eloqua?