The resignation of former Alibaba CEO was an action to save users confidence for the company. It was absolutely a right move because Alibaba is in the business of selling “TRUST”, which is the fundamental value of B2B.
Compared to B2C, B2B has a very distinct characteristic: it is a group-minded decision process which takes longer time to develop buyers’ confidence. Hence, trust is very important and it is a glue to bond people together moving along with the times.
Unlike B2C, where we adopt various marketing tactics for a number of marketing objectives, the goal of B2B marketing is very focused on business returns. It is all about generating leads, cultivating leads, and converting the leads. Lead generation becomes predominantly the only reason to do marketing for B2B.
Now, I like to talk about the relationship between lead generation and social marketing, and why social media is an ideal platform for lead generation.
Let’s focus on three variables: time, group mind, and trust. Time is essential for all kinds of marketing. A group mind is basically about the target audience who shares common needs, also known as “the community“. Trust of a brand is the result of “reliability + delight” as suggested by Marty Neumeier, author of the bestselling book “Brand Gap“. If your B2B marketing plan has the solution using all these three variables then it is social marketing.
Time is essential; we all need good timing and right timing for executing a marketing plan. In B2B, timing is seasonal and it varies from different products and market segments. To generate leads via social media, you must understand good timing for making the approach. For example, start developing a community before a tradeshow so you can convert the online fans to offline visitors whom you can meet at the event.
A group mind is a collective interest and can be inter-influenced. To influence a group mind, you need conversation and second opinion to develop positive sentiment. In today’s marketing term, it is “social“.