B2B Social MediaWhile listening to the latest episode of FIR Live over the weekend, the concept of “energy efficiency” of marketing and communications campaigns came to mind. No, I’m not talking about how “green” the effort is. This isn’t about recycled paper or carbon emissions.

I’m thinking more like the energy efficiency of a furnace. Is 95% of the energy your’e putting into your marcomm efforts turning into “heat” (leads, sales, supporters, etc.)? Or is a lot of the effort being wasted?

What got me to thinking about this was the discussion by Paul Gillin (co-author of Social Marketing to the Business Customer) about the IBM Watson/Jeopardy campaign. He noted that IBM had done a masterful job of integrating the online component with the traditional media exposure. And I don’t doubt that it is true.

But there’s also no question that a significant amount of energy in the form of time and resources as spent reaching people who are never likely to make a purchase with IBM because of their exposure. In a massive branding campaign like that one, that’s pretty common and there’s little way around it.

Effectively, it’s less energy efficient and more of a shotgun-style marketing approach that may be most appropriate for companies with massive budgets and name ID.

For the vast majority of businesses and organizations in America, it’s important to strive for a much higher level of marketing energy efficiency. Paul and his co-author Eric Schwartzman did a nice job of discussing smaller companies that create much more targeted online content — material that is very likely to be seen by individuals who are or could become prospects.

Small businesses attempt a much more surgical approach to marketing in order to conserve precious resources.

Go ahead and listen to the full episode and think about how the concept of energy efficiency applies to your own marketing and communications efforts.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting post, Chip. Just a couple thoughts:

    First, I suspect the biggest investment was in getting Watson to work, an investment that will be leveraged through multiple technologies. I told my wife as we watched the final Watson episode that the same technology will probably be part of our smartphones in five years.

    Second, getting the word out through a technique like this not only serves to reach B-to-B buyers, who certainly were among the members of the audience, but also investors (and people who call their brokers to say, “Buy IBM!” It reminds me a bit of “IBM and the Future Of,” the IBM podcast that had front-line analysts talking about their thinking about the impact of technology on various things (cities, shopping, law enforcement, professional athletics, TV…). It was funded by the Investor Relations department as a means of showing the investment world that IBM had the talent and the vision to be profitable five and 10 years out.

    All in all, the cost of the investment may well wind up being pretty small compared to the benefit. But you’re right: You need to be an IBM-sized company to do something like this. Medium and small businesses need to think at a different scale.

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