Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friends, Avatars, Countrymen, lend me your ears

David Meerman Scott had a great post the other day on “I do not friend logos”. Very well put, and I agree with him.

As you know we’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with the best way to apply social media in the B2B marketing realm, and David’s post hit on one of the biggest challenges we’re all facing – what to do about Facebook as B2B marketers. The numbers are undeniable, the active population on Facebook is huge. However, the challenge we’ve all faced, as DM Scott puts so well, is that companies are not really “friendable”.

So, how about a personality… in our next B2B marketing experiment, we’re exploring the idea of a corporate “personality” in the social space. For anyone who is part of the Eloqua community, you may already have met Drake. He now has a Facebook page, a growing bunch of friends, and a personality.

Having a personality is a good start, but how can one translate that into real market traction? For one, a personality opens up more avenues for having fun than a corporate logo does. As the first example, Drake has launched his first contest – take a photo with him, and you might win an iPad. Not something that would fly with a corporate logo.

Is this taking the idea of “personas” a bit too far? Will this crack the code on B2B marketing on Facebook? We’re not sure, but you’ll be the first to know. Well, maybe not the “first”; that honor might go to David Meerman Scott – he is, after all, friends with Drake on Facebook.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


David Meerman Scott said...

Hey Steve. Good that you are talking this up and pushing the boundaries. People want to friend people who work at B2B companies. And sometimes they want to become a fan of your page.

I'm very interested in Drake. Yes, I accepted his friendship but only because I know Eloqua. I wouldn't have if I did not know you guys.

Keep me posted on what Drake can accomplish for you.


Steven Woods said...

Thanks, it's an interesting challenge. We're definitely approaching it in an experimental way to see in what manner most people are interested in engaging.

I would agree that a logo is unlikely to work. We'll see if Drake is - but if not, it's great fun to try. :)

Sarah Lyons said...

Love the idea! I can think of a couple factors off the top of my head that will help Drake succeed:
1. He's clearly fictional so no one would feel duped to find out he's not real (dumber things have happened). 2. Eloqua's brand allows for him through your precedented commitment to not take yourselves too seriously.
I think these are both obvious to people like us, but not always for our customers. Across the board, I think we can all agree that we want to be “friends” in business. I think some people are still scared to open up to the opportunity because of the class/age/experience/power disparity that occurs between potential friends uniquely in B2B. Do you agree?
Can't wait to see what happens in B2B social ... whatever it is, it's happening soon!

Steven Woods said...

it's a great question - do the worlds of "business" and "friends" coalesce more than they are today, or stay separate. That, really, is the largest question of today's world in my mind... not sure, my guess is that they stay separate, but that's just a guess.

What's your prediction?