Last week I had the privilege to attend and present at BtoB Magazine’s Digital Edge LIVE conference in San Francisco. I joined HP’s Alex Flagg and Tellab’s George Stenitzer on stage to talk about what it takes to develop great marketing content for an increasingly digital world. While the number of digital channels increased exponentially since the late 1980s, the challenges around reaching prospects and customers through these channels have not.
At Xerox, we’ve found thought-leadership — featuring specific people with specific points of view — and digital environments featuring our customers and their successes work best to produce content that business-to-business buyers find interesting and relevant. During the conference, I shared some success we’ve had with our thought-leadership destination and Real Business Live. If you’d like to see the slides from my section, you can view/download them from Slideshare.
Creating good content consistently is a major challenge all marketers face as they work to find new ways to engage buyers and feed the growing demand of digital channels. Surprisingly, understanding that good content starts from the buyer’s perspective, not your company’s, is a key lesson many B2Bers still struggle to learn.
For a great summary of the day, visit the Digital Edge Live site, read coverage by Kate Maddox and Christopher Hosford, and scan through the tweets. I thought the panel on social media, featuring marketers from Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems and Royal Dutch Shell, was particularly insightful. Social media continues to push the boundaries into new ways to generate and share content.
For me, the highlight of the day was BtoB’s third annual Social Media Marketing Awards. Top honors went to Aon and CenturyLink Business. In the non-tech category, Aon took the “People’s Choice” award for its “Pass It On” program that featured a contest challenging employee teams in different geographies to share knowledge and create a sense of common purpose by competing online in games that required them to answer questions, upload video, and share details of local events. Winners then got to share the best results with customers and prospects.
In the tech category, CenturyLink launched its “Ultimate Problem Solver” program to challenge technology-oriented customers to participate in an interactive, 50-stage trivia game. Solving problems – where some answers could be found in CenturyLink marketing materials — let participants unlock passwords to get to the next level in the game. The game also encouraged players to interact and share their experiences to earn rewards faster. During the eight-month timeframe, almost 90,000 people played the game with about half registering on the site, giving CenturyLink a valuable well of leads.
I found it interesting how both award winners focused on gaming as a key element of creating innovative marketing programs – one focused on employees and the other on prospects. It also highlights leading-edge applications that use social interaction in the B2B space. And who said social was only for consumers?