Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our B2B Facebook Marketing Strategy

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 ( 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 -

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?
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


Christopher Richards said...

Hi Steve,

I found you through your publisher’s website. I’m going to ask the good folks at the Bay Area Consultant’s Network to get in touch with you. I believe you would make a great speaker for their events.

The Gallup’s research on social bonding at work makes lots of sense. Could you go one further than drinks and dinner? Your book is about ‘digital’ body language, but what about real bodies? Educational guru Sir Ken Robinson jokes that we are educated from the neck up and slightly to one side. We suffer from being out of our bodies.

Some of the most fun I’ve had was social dancing (jitterbug). These days I play social, yet competitive badminton at a badminton club in Emeryville. When you interact with people in a physically demanding way, all sorts of things happen. Good things that is. I’m not talking about back aches. Sitting about all day in meetings and then stuffing one’s face with food and drink is not a good employee strategy in my view. Check out Stuart Brown’s, Why Play Is Vital, No Matter What Your Age

There were some studies done about why people should not look for romantic partners in the gym. The reason is people are in a different and endorphin-rich state. They make decisions on how they feel. Now there is nothing wrong with that. We do it all the time, but when we feel good, we tend to like other people better. I bet you can see the connection between marketing, sales, and energetic physical engagement. Even if it’s to get the Frisbee out, you can do better than sitting about.

You are a creative guy. How about some physical play?

Steven Woods said...

A great point Christopher. Perhaps the next generation of technology merges the activity of the Nintendo Wii with the social elements of Facebook... and we end up back to where we were many years back, playing badminton with friends.