For B2B, Google+ May Be Your Best Friend

For years I worked in business to business marketing in one form or another. I understood how all the different channels worked, loved the way that the newly emerging web brought immediacy to my communications and got a sense that the concept of “branding” was shifting under my feet.

And then I landed in the world of business to consumer marketing – working for an agency on big FMCG/entertainment and QSR brands. Despite years of experience I felt out of my depth. And one of the most challenging aspects was understanding the nature of SCALE. In the B2B world, your focus is on much more narrowly defined audiences – whereas for large consumer brands, scale is what works.

Over the last 10 years there has been a lot of cross-pollinating between B2B and B2C. Much of this has been driven by social media – or by our new appreciation of audiences that are a by-product of social media. Yet, I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that we haven’t learned another lesson of social media – that it’s not scale or reach that is important. It’s the engagement – and the potential to impact BEHAVIOUR – that is vital.

Take a look at this infographic from Pardot comparing Google+ and Facebook brand pages. The numbers are huge. The scale is amazing. But think about it – in B2B you often know WHO you want to reach (I don’t mean “who” in terms of a persona – I mean actual people working in actual businesses). The challenge is to find innovative and creative ways to not just reach, but to engage and prompt them to action. And if you think about that rather than the being dazzled by statistics, you might just find that Google+ is your new best friend.


Internet Trends 2012

Each year, venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers release their research and analysis into the trends they are observing across the web. Compiled by Mary Meeker, it’s packed with statistics and pithy one liners – and will provide plenty of fodder for your upcoming client presentations – especially where you need to reinforce the reports key themes – “internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages”.

There were a few items that caught my attention:

  • Growth in internet user numbers is being driven by emerging markets – with China, India and Indonesia in the top 3, with the USA down the list at number 8
  • Australia ranks 14th in terms of mobile 3G subscribers – with 76% penetration and 21% year-on-year growth
  • While iPad adoption is astonishing (3x the iPhone) – Android is outpacing all devices currently running at 4x the iPhone
  • Mobile web traffic now accounts for 10% of all internet traffic

And while the statistics are fascinating – especially for the data nerds out there – the compelling part of this presentation is the focus on the “Reimagination of almost everything”. The report covers a wide variety of consumption habits, technologies, cultural and artistic production, information and so on – announcing what many of us already know – that the magnitude of change that is coming (or is already upon us) will be stunning.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012

A Coffee Morning Interlude this Friday

When we first started regularly holding our coffee mornings in Sydney, we didn’t know what would happen. We didn’t know what it would be like to actually meet this amorphous collection of “online connections”. But within minutes, we knew we were onto a winning formula – interesting people, good coffee and a sense of curiosity all round.

One of my favourite wildcards in the whole coffee morning experience was Gavin, the guy behind the Single Origin cafe where we hung out. A passionate and energetic coffee lover, he ensured there was always an element of surprise in every roast and every cup.

Now, after a break, Gavin’s back roasting coffee in Sydney. And this week he is letting his first batch loose on the world. So this week – rather than the usual Single Origin destination – I’ll be heading down to Shop 6, 81 Macleay St, Potts Point to sample his latest labour of love. I’d love for you to join me.


And in case you are wondering what coffee mornings are really about … take a quick flip through this presentation. It tries to capture just a little of what makes it all so special. See you from 8am!

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Saturn V RocketsTowards the end of each summer I start thinking about the joys of cooler weather that come with winter. But last summer in Australia was so wet, I really was just waiting for summer to start when winter abruptly arrived. And normally winter is a time of reading – but over the last couple of weeks – a series of colds and fevers has kept me well away from such lovely pursuits. So it was nice over the weekend to start feeling better – and to find that so many smart people around the world keep sharing their insight, intelligence and creativity. It’s like a pep-shot for creative lethargy. Hope you enjoy these:

  1. In marketing, we have become much more focused on niche networks and the power of influence. Neil Perkin explains why you should choose your friends carefully. Especially when they are Friends not friends
  2. Kris Hoet ponders the nature of value and the power of creative work. Sharing a video of TBWA/Chiat/Day’s Lee Clow, he asks how do we create value and value creative?
  3. Are you on Twitter? Does it have a strange hold over you? Does it make you feel alive, connected and energised? Kate Carruthers suggests that this constant ambient connection is creating a new kind of normal
  4. We all talk about the power of stories – and their importance in the life of a brand. But how do you create a brand with values that allow stories to resonate with your customers and audiences? Jonah Sachs has some ideas
  5. Do we want fame or do we want community? Most brands confuse the two – pushing for fans to “like” their Facebook pages or subscribe to their newsletter. But the two are very different. Chris Guillebeau explains some of the distinctions.

Mobile Youth: Cigarettes, Cell Phones and Cars

I first came across Graham Brown many years ago when I was working in youth marketing. I loved the way that he applied serious, insight driven analysis to the fast moving youth markets. And I loved the way that he understood and articulated the tribal nature of youth culture.

In this video introduction to his new book The Mobile Youth, Graham reveals an astonishing connection between the reduction in smoking in young people and the rise of smartphones. Despite widespread public health advertising, it was not until the social value of cigarette smoking (ie not the product but the social by-product of the act of smoking) was able to be released towards another social tool of similar or greater value, that young people began to shift their behaviour.

And this – for me – is the important lesson. So much advertising and marketing is directed towards product with very little focus on the desired behaviour. It’s like we are constantly pushing a “message” without any regard for the “context” in which our audiences live and work. This applies not only to youth segments but to any and all. Until we start to address what Graham calls “the social meaning” we will continue to see advertising and marketing failing to do its job.

You can start to remedy this situation by asking two important questions. Where do you customers belong. And what is the significance of that (to them)? The answers you find will tell you a whole lot about your marketing. You’ve just got to be sure to listen for the answer – even when it’s not what you want to hear.

Get Your VIP Pass to FailCon

failconspeakers I have always been a fan of learning from others. Even as a child I would watch friends and family members get into trouble and then work backwards to find the first point of failure – the moment from which there was no return. As far as possible I wanted to make sure that my own mischief would not land me in trouble.

This sneaky, almost surreptitious, level of observation became useful in the corporate world, where failure can mean the difference between having a job and not. In the world of startups, however, failure is seen not as an end point, but as a building block for future success.

Next week, as part of Vivid Sydney, the Vivid Ideas Exchange is hosting FailCon – “a one day conference for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success”.

There are some fantastic speakers, including:

One of the things I like about this conference is that there are plenty of Australians speaking. Too often we feel the need to jet in speakers from overseas – overlooking that talent that is right here beneath our noses. Having said that, it is a conference about failure … 😉

Get 50% off the ticket price!

For a short time, you can get a VIP pass to FailCon for only $52. Just use this SECRET LINK with the password FAILCONVIP.

Get your ticket before they are all sold out!