How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

April 8, 2014

B-to-B purchases are usually more complex and the selling cycles are longer with multiple decision makers in the mix.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, B2B Purchase Process 2014: What You Need to Know, that highlights findings from the DemandGen’s 2014 B2B buyers behavior survey.

Use of Social Media in B2B Purchase Process 2014

Here are some points of interest that would relate to Manufacturers:

  • Purchasing process teamwork – 55% include 1-3 people and 37% include 4-7 people.
  • 72% use social for research – they are looking for recommendations, expert advice and connecting with potential suppliers.
  • They’re not looking for information, but quality content.
  • 46% of buyers use search engines to start their purchasing process.
  • 37% ranked white papers and infographics on manufacturers’ websites to be the most important info.

So based on these stats, what are you doing to make sure you’re being found and considered?


Communication Vehicles: Then and Now

April 3, 2014

By Scott Bessell, Idea Builder, Sonnhalter

One of my more astute colleagues here at the agency suggested that I might share with you my thoughts on new communiqués of today versus yesterday. She, being a millennial, didn’t consider that I was chosen moreover because I, given my age, probably also created those “old” ads. Apologies accepted.

via Abdullah AlBargan

Driving into the creative cave today I was behind a Cadillac CTS 4. Jet black, LED lights, looking…bad (as in good, you know). Anyway, I was thinking about my former favorite caddy, from those bygone days; The 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. I would look ridiculous in either. Dissecting them both is how I offer up my opinion on today’s ads versus yesterday’s—to groans within (another Scott metaphor), here goes. The cars. Both, the new one and my ‘59, appear to us purely as style statements. Underneath, they both have a drivetrain, steering mechanism, wheels. Internally, both have seats, a steering wheel, pedals to make it stop and go and if we’re lucky, a subwoofer! So, they both did/do their jobs. In its day, the ‘59 was kick-ass no doubt. Radical and (insert 50’s adjectives here). Today the CTS is held in high esteem also. Both are powerful and comfortable modes of transportation for their times.

Ads. Stripping away the “art” and “design” of most of today’s communication vehicles, yes, even those obnoxious banner ads, like the cars mentioned previously, “underneath” they too must have something in common, and usually always do—the message.

What do you want to say to me? What would you like me to do or know? Whether it was an old ad or a new one, at their core is the message. They might date themselves by the language they use—dated colloquialisms and such. And like that last sentence, how much unnecessary BS they contain. Let’s retry that: They might show their age by their use of words and phrases popular with the people of the day. So, common to both is the message. Then, like those cars, we stylize a body for our “vehicle” so people will notice it. Ads from “back in the day” looked like it. Ads of today, at least the professional ones, look like it. Understand too that most all the ads from yesteryear were done by professionals. Back then, they didn’t have desktop publishing. Amateurs or wannabes weren’t charged with constructing the latest ad with the latest anyone-can-use software.

So, my comment about communications of yesterday versus today is they both did/do their jobs effectively in that they communicate to the viewer a message. The good ones, then and now, do it cleanly and thus clearly. The best ones get your attention and are memorable. The ones that ad managers claim were totally their own creations are the ones that get you to act and follow through. Or better yet, place an order—immediately.

 


Noise – I’m Sick of It!

April 2, 2014

manholdingearsI recently returned from a trade show in Vegas. From the time I got off the plane until I got back on, I was inundated with noise. From the one-arm bandits in the terminals, to the larger than life videos in baggage claim, I started to get a headache. So I was looking forward to a quiet cab ride to the hotel – WRONG! As soon as I got in, there was a TV screen in my face with speakers behind my head blasting away on all the cool things I could be doing while in town. I was actually looking forward to going to the show for some peace and quiet.

Thankfully I don’t have to spend a lot of time in Vegas, but it got me to thinking of my daily routine and all the noise that surrounds me in my business life. My wife complains that I’m an email Junky (and I guess I am since I’m in a service industry) because I’m checking emails 18 hours a day. I sleep with my smartphone next to my bed, and I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead without it during the day. A sad commentary.

Technology is great and I know our society is an “I want it now” mode, but we really need to get a life. I think we need to decompress and I’m going to start by limiting my time on the internet for business purposes on the weekend. Hopefully that will help me free up some time for something more quiet and relaxing.

What are you doing to wind down? Certainly I’m not alone in this, am I?


Direct Mail – A Targeted Way to Reach Tradesmen

April 1, 2014

bullseyeSometimes we’re so focused on the digital and social options out there that we forget about what we used to use before these new ones were available. Direct mail is and has been a tried and true method of generating leads and business from contractors.

Yes, I know direct mail is expensive compared to email and e-blast types of tactics. I’m not saying to do mass mailings, but rather targeted ones. Think about what I call the noise on the electronic side of things. How many emails do you get a day? The answer is plenty, and if you’re anything like me, you delete far more than you open.

Here’s something to try. On your next new product introduction, send out  the same amount of direct mails as you would an e-blast to the same list criteria. Send them both to a landing page so you can track results. I think you may be surprised that the old fashioned direct mail campaign will outperform the electronic one.

Here are three tips on delivering a successful direct mail program:

  1. Target Audience - Quantity isn’t important; quality of a list is. Ideally you start with an internal list of prospects. If you’re going to purchase a list, make sure it’s from a reliable source. I usually prefer to get one from a trade publication that serves the industry I’m targeting. They usually have several select options that will help you define and refine who you are looking for.
  2. Targeted Message - Keep the mailer focused on one subject and don’t try to squeeze 10 pounds into a 5-pound bag. Mailers don’t always have to be about selling something, but they always have to achieve something. Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoe and come up with messaging that will help him, not you. Are you addressing a possible concern and giving them an alternative solution?
  3. Targeted Offer Define your call-to-action based on the message. This could be a link to a technical piece on how to do something or an offer for a demo or sample of a product. The objective is to stop and engage the potential, and if the message is on target, get them to do something.

If your message is on target to the right audience, you will get measurable results.


Digital Options for the Mobile Tradesman

March 27, 2014

By Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer, Sonnhalter

Print PublicationsThe World Wide Web turned 25 years old on March 12. Do you remember life before that, when you wanted to get the latest news and information, magazines and newspapers were only available in a print version?

How times have changed, and the options to get information are numerous now. These days, if you have time to read the latest issue of your favorite trade magazine, but don’t have the printed version readily accessible, you can read the digital version on your smartphone, tablet or computer. When you subscribe to your favorite trade magazine, most of them offer a digital edition, so if you prefer to get your news and information digitally, you can. And in some instances, trade publications also offer an app that feeds information from those publication’s issues and websites for your reading pleasure.

Click here for a link from Trade Press publications that allows you to download an app for either their Building Operating Management or Facility Maintenance Decisions publications. If you’re in the facility maintenance field, check it out. And keep your eyes open for other trade publications that offer an app as well.


Manufacturers: HVACR Contractors Are Changing The Ways They Interact With You

March 26, 2014

Progressive contractors, I believe, are changing the way they are interacting with their manufacturers. When I ran across this research recently, it verified in my mind that it holds true.

HVACRBusiness recently released a new research study, “HVACR Contractors: Trends in the Adoption of Products/Systems & Management Approaches,” (download here), that highlights new trends on their involvement with manufacturers. I did a podcast interview with Terry Tanker, the publisher, to talk about the results of the research.

Here are some highlights.

They define a “High Yield” contractor as being more active in managing their business, have substantial revenues and are experiencing significant growth. In other words, The “A” players in the field.

  • 93% get involved in the early stages of the selection process of new products.
  • Contractors have even greater expectations for products/systems than 5 years ago.
  • Contractors are expecting manufacturers to do more to help them compete and operate efficiently.
  • The selling environment has become more business like and competitive.

The bottom line is that these “High Yield” contractors have made significant changes in their relationships with their manufacturers and expect more out of them. Among them the top three are:

  1. Making manufacturers more accountable for their products/systems.
  2. Offer more support.
  3. Make more objective decisions about products/systems/brands.

Bottom line – 70% are more likely to evaluate additional manufacturers and their products. You can’t depend on your sales rep going to see them personally to introduce a new product. By the time they get there, the contractor may be well down the selection process. Contractors, no matter what kind, are looking for good information, not a sales pitch, but information that can help them do their jobs. If you can do that, it will help keep you in the game.


Do You Say “Thank You” For A Retweet?

March 25, 2014

twitter (2)If you’re active on Twitter, you probably have received a “thanks for the RT.” Saying “thank you” helps build brand loyalty and brings a conversational aspect to your tweets. We all struggle on what’s the correct etiquette for thanking someone on Twitter. Do you always have to say thanks? Are there other ways to show your gratitude?

Angie Schottmuller from Interactive Artisan recently did a guest post on Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert that was right on target with helpful do’s and don’ts regarding etiquette. Here are some highlights:

DO’s

  • Follow the user - Review their profile and if they are a good fit, follow them.
  • Reciprocate - Scan their tweets and see if one is applicable for you to RT.
  • Retweet a Retweet - This is a good way to recognize the user and put quality content back into the stream.
  • Conversational Mention - Reply with a conversational response about the post to get a discussion going.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t put numerous RT’s back-to-back.
  • Avoid peak content hours.
  • Don’t put out a generic thanks. Always include a hashtag.

If you like this post, you might like:

7 Tips to Use Twitter to Generate Traffic and Leads.


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