Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Impact of Media On Industrial Marketing - Part II

Social Media and The Capital Equipment Buying Cycle
More insights from AJ Sweatt.

The greatest strengths of social media today are found in its abilities to connect like-minded engineers, manufacturers and, yes, technology suppliers like you. Certainly, networking is a critical piece of any business -- particularly in vertical industries like ours, with their distinctive requirements and qualities.

But when research-minded, stealth prospects enter into the buying cycle, they want control.

They want to remain anonymous. They want to consume, digest, compare and assess information on their own terms. The information they seek often must match ultra-strict technical and proprietary needs imposed by their company, customers and industry/government regulations.

With few exceptions, social media aren't useful for prospects seeking legacy information because of content decay in an archival environment.

Using Twitter for example, most information that's shared there has a very short shelf-life - the quick bursts are useful in a time-sensitive environment but not for an industrial stealth prospect looking for specs, performance, capabilities and features to make technology recommendations.

Then, with LinkedIn, it is above all else an employment site. Its primary purpose has been and is to connect prospective employers and employees.

When assessing the benefits of social media to your company you should always ask, "What are our prospects and customers actually DOING there?"

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.