When you want to be truly successful in B2B marketing, you should not worry too much about boundaries in what you are doing. Even if it is not in your job description be sure to reach out to your customers via blogs, twitter and social networks. That is how Josh Bernoff, SVP at Forrester Research, stays in touch with his followers and customers.
Visitors of B2B Marketing Forum can win an exclusive lunch with Josh Bernoff. You will have his undivided attention for a whole hour so you can discuss anything you want. Sign up for the B2B Marketing Forum and win a full hour with the VP Idea Development of Forrester Research. Bernoff is known for co-writing the book Groundswell and has recently published a new book called Empowered. In an interview with RTL presenter Hella Hueck, Bernoff explains how he sees modern day heroes.
“Employees need to have the power to reach out. The people within your company with power are the people who are able to reach out to customers by offering service and interact with customers. Clients expect a certain accessibility and staying within the boundaries of your job description will not enable you to be as interactive as you’d want to be“, says Bernoff.
Obviously giving your employees the space to maneuver does not mean your company will have to end up in total chaos with no one doing what they are hired to do. Management should always identify the best way to interact with customers without violating company policy.
Customers disrupt companies by voicing opinions on certain companies online. But it is not just customers disrupting the company. Even your own employees can do it. “Companies sometimes react to this by blocking sites like facebook and Twitter. Useless, since most people tend to have smart phones and are always online via mobile means. If you define a policy on how to act online it will be more effective than banning or blocking content.”
“In the end, you never know when the next person with a problem and a lot of Twitter followers comes along. That’s why you always need to be aware of your customers but also of your employees. Get a dedicated team to interact with customers. If you look at the total instances of people influencing people online, this number is about a quarter higher than the influence of advertising.”Companies should therefore get ready, start listening and start interacting.
Sounds all very liable for B2C companies but does it also apply for B2B companies? “It is even more important for B2B companies. More and more B2B marketers are active on social networks. If you have one there who is negative about your company, it will influence more people more direct. They are more alike in their interests and will influence each other more. And do not make the mistake of only interacting with the people with the most followers and influence. You never know who will become popular fast.”
Josh Bernoff is keynote speaker at B2B Marketing Forum on 15 March in Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.