Social Media for B2B Marketers: Brand Recognition and What Else?


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Several months ago, I commented on my blog about Dell’s social media initiatives and the much touted case study of their “success”. Any good marketer should learn from past mistakes and refine demand generation tactics to deliver greater results and ROI. I thought it worthwhile to look back and see if Dell’s strategy has evolved and improved.

Dell has been running its Trade Secrets campaign using Twitter, Facebook and various blogs. The campaign encourages users to share their experiences and tips about the new Dell Vostro V130. With over 1500 contributions, Dell has gathered enough material to create an e-book with users’ tips. Definitely a successful brand recognition exercise, in my opinion. Did it help the company’s bottom line? It actually would appear so; news reports show that Dell’s Q2 revenues were strong.

Market conditions have been trending towards decreasing demand for PCs with mobile technologies storming ahead. Despite this downward curve in the PC market, Dell is positive and forecasts revenue of $15.76 billion in Q3 (more than what it has reported in the past 5 straight quarters).

Hardcore social media enthusiasts would probably jump on this as a “case study of social media success”. I beg to differ – social media plays a role in greater brand awareness and fuels positive conversations about a brand. I would not rest complacent in deeming it responsible for lead generation or increasing sales and revenue.

Let’s look at what Dell spokespersons have to say:

Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer: “We continue to see great momentum in the high-growth areas of our business, which is a direct reflection of the discipline and strong execution our global Dell team is applying to help solve real-world challenges for our customers. We’re creating efficiency across every step of the IT value chain and ultimately enabling all customers—from home users to large businesses and government organizations—to achieve the outcomes that matter most to them.”

Brian Gladden, chief financial officer: “Our results for the first half of the fiscal year reflect our commitments and are enabling us to accelerate the reshaping of our portfolio while delivering substantially higher operating income. We’re maintaining our focus on developing higher-value solutions and services to drive stronger profitability and smartly manage a balance of growth, increased operating income and cash flow.”

Notice anything being attributed to (social media) marketing? What stands out instead is the emphasis on “discipline and strong execution“, “creating efficiency” and “developing higher-value solutions and services“. It is good to see that the people at the top are focused on these process-driven enhancements affecting the company’s operations. People may pay lip service to social media and yes, it is great for brand awareness, but quality leads come when customers see value and conversions happen when higher value solutions and services become available to prospects that are searching for them. That’s what the goal for B2B marketing should be.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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