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MarketingProfs B2B Forum: Mitch Joel on 'How B2B Connects in a Connected World'

by Jeffrey L.Cohen  |  
May 7, 2010

Mitch JoelMitch Joel, digital expert, author of Six Pixels of Separation and president of Twist Image, an award-winning digital marketing and communications agency, gave one of the keynote talks at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum earlier this week. The following is a live-blogged transcript of his presentation called How B2B Connects In A Connected World.

B2B companies need to focus on the present, not the future. How are companies connecting with customers and growing their business? Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico and burned the ships as a way to say that there is no going back. New media ads are the same tactics with the same objectives as traditional ads, but in a whole new context. Can you burn your ships and really re-invent your marketing approaches? Ctl-Alt-Del to reboot your marketing, rather than burn the ships.

Since 2007 the amount of people clicking on banner ads has dropped by 50%. Maybe these are brand engagements ads, and we're not meant to click on them anyway.

How we got here
81% of online holiday shoppers read online customers reviews. Reviews from individuals, like Sarah from Boston wearing kleenex boxes for shoes, have more relevance than those from the publisher of a book. Many CEOs don't understand the power of social media until they search the web for videos, reviews, Twitter updates about their brand. Engines of efficacy work better for B2B than anything. The iPad can change how your business communicates, as sales people can sit down with customers and more easily show information quicker than ever.

We live in the most branded generation ever and because of digital channels, people become even more loyal due to the expanding relationships. Everyone is getting online. There are more grandparents than high school students on Facebook. It's not longer about passively surfing, but it's about doing, sharing, socializing, collaborating, and most of all, creating. Business people need to understand that everyone has a different experience online, even on the same platforms.

Marketing is getting back to real interactions between real people. Opening up and sharing allows people to find and share your information. Value in digital channels is not how many people you get in front of, but getting in front of the right people. What do you do if no one talks about your brand? This is the opportunity for your company to start the conversation.

The band Journey was one of the biggest bands in the 1980s. And singer, Steve Perry quits for creative difference. How do they replace him? And how does someone get in front of the band to audition as a new singer? The guitarist in the band comes across a video similar to this one of an unknown covering Journey songs. He watches it and leaves a comment that he wants to meet the singer. This unknown singer becomes the new lead singer in the band and they are bigger than ever.

You no longer need permission to go out and find what you need online. The opportunities to build these relationships are more powerful than ever before. What does marketing look like when you expand from one-to-many, or even one-to-one, but in a group expression environment? There may be a loss of control in the online world, but you still control things like products, services, pricing and partners. Customers still control whether they buy from you and they also control what they say about you.

Volume of voice is what has changed. It now goes to 11 and you have more of chance to be heard. Stop marketing and start publishing content, whether it is text, audio, video. Quoting Chris Anderson of Wired, " Your brand is not what you say, but it is what Google says it is." Make sure the experience is real and that it may not take place on your home page. Search results may send prospects to a page 60 levels deep in the site and they never see your home page. Every page on your site must represent your brand.

Mind blowing stats

  • Every day 20% of Google searches are ones that have never been done before.

  • Half of all youtube's audience is over 24.

Marketing money is spent the wrong way. As people are searching for solutions that you provide, are you there and are you great? What if you focus all your marketing budget on getting found by people who are looking for you? You haven't evolved just because you are on digital platform. Digital Darwinism, where you win, occurs by being relevant, interesting and open.

Six Points of Separation
1. Accept It
2. Everything is "with" not "instead of"
3. Don't be fleeting. Build, share and grow
4. Move towards openness between customers and employees
5. It's attitudinal not generational
6. Upload a video to Youtube. Do something new now!

When planning for online marketing, look at these three types of conversations

  • Internal Conversation

  • One-to-One Conversations

  • One-to-Many Conversations

What are you doing in your business to change the way you marketing and move into the digital space to make connections?

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Jeffrey L. Cohen is a Social Strategist at Radian6, a company. Radian6ís social media monitoring software helps businesses listen, discover, measure and engage in conversations across the social web. Jeff works with B2B and B2C enterprise companies to assess their social media strategy and adoption, and advises them on how social media marketing, communications and engagement can help them meet their business objectives. With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Jeff has provided strategic counsel to B2B and B2C companies on both the client and agency sides. He is co-author of The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and More (Wiley), the definitive guide for B2B marketers who want to master social media and drive leads. Jeff is also the co-founder and Managing Editor of, the leading online resource for social mediaís impact on B2B marketing. Find out more information at and follow him on Twitter @jeffreylcohen.

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  • by Mark Delfeld Fri May 7, 2010 via blog

    How is this relevant to the B2b market?

  • by Harry Hallman Fri May 7, 2010 via blog

    Thanks for the post, but to be honest this is the same story we hear everyday from ďgurusĒ. Lots of you should do this and theoretical babble, but very little substance or proven tactics. It is the easy road, because you really cannot dispute what is being said because they are the fundamentals of marketing and have been around since the first Roman potter merchant placed a sign with the words sincerus on his door.

    Of course, you have to be where your customer/client is. Of course, you have to have a reasonable good product or service. Of course, you have to get your message out to the right people. We know all of this. What we really want is to learn about real world cases that resulted in either success or failure. We want to know why it worked or why it failed. We want to know the ROI.

  • by Jeffrey L. Cohen Fri May 7, 2010 via blog

    Mark / Harry:

    Thanks for the comments. This a summary of a keynote address during a two-day event that was filled with practical examples, case studies and lots of applicable knowledge for B2B companies. Mitch was talking at a higher level to inspire those who needed to convince others of the value of social media for B2B companies.


  • by Ann Handley Sat May 8, 2010 via blog

    Thanks for the comments, all. As Jeff said, the keynotes at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum (Mitch was Day 2, and Dave Weinberger was Day 1) were more about inspiration than action. That was intentional, to function as a kind of counterpoint to the heavy how-to focus of the rest of the sessions. Here's an example of one of them, as covered here by Matt Grant:

    In other words, most of the sessions were spinach and potatoes and pot roast: The stuff that fills you up and feeds your system. But the keynote was like dense chocolate flourless cake filled with ganache: Intense, but fun and wholly amazing in a blow-your-socks-off kind of way. And really, it wouldn't be a special meal without it.

  • by Harry Hallman Sat May 8, 2010 via blog

    Ann and Jeff thank you both for your additional information and clarification of the various speeches. I read the article you suggested and I must say that it is an example of what I was stating. Lots of we did this, but not very much this is what happened, especially concerning return on marketing dollar investment.

    First please understand that I am a digital and social media believer. I have been a boaster and consultant since almost the beginning back in 1995. I also spent 25 years running companies that produced large corporate events. I understand how many talks provide suggestions for creating strategy or discussing case studies and then leave out results because the results are bad, non existent or people want to keep them secret. I also understand that no one wants to present the failures they worked on, but as you well know there are successes and failures in marketing and we can learn as much from a failure as we can from success.

    Anyway, all I am saying is that it would be nice to get some real RESULTS that we all can share with our prospects in order to help them decide where to spend their marketing bucks. In fairness I guess I should share a little.

    Client 1- Contextual Ads to promote a business services. Results: I have no idea because once the service takes a long time to sell and many points of contact. I get people to the landing page, but donít have any idea of what happens after that.

    Client 2- Sales of used industrial equipment via contextual ads. Results: Client has had a constant stream of leads and sales directly attributed to the contextual ad program. We know this because it is the only advertising or marketing communications they do. During a recent month the client had a single $330k sale and placed a bid for a sale of $1.5 million, as well as normal lower dollar sales. We are spending less that $3k a month.

    Client 3- White Paper lead generation program for business services. Results: This was a long term endeavor and while some sales were attributed to this program, it did not achieve the level needed to make it viable. This failure resulted in moving from a white paper program to a blog and social media. The jury is still out on this new approach.

    I would bet that most of our pros here have similar stories.

  • by Steve Tue May 11, 2010 via blog

    I thought it was a good article. The admonition to stop marketing and start publishing content was very good and something that most marketers need to take to heart. Content really is king.

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