Marketing Science

I’m back on a social media diet. There’s just too much to do and not enough productive hours. Of course, in digital glutton mode I could use weekends to gorge on all those tasty-looking ‘spray and pray’ b2b marketing messages.

Well, no. Consuming an occasional tweet stream snack or Linkedin group morsel are both OK but gotta keep an eye on my expanding ‘waste’ line.

And I’m doing it with the help of this free and open source Mac app, SelfControl.


FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other edutainment sites my index finger itches to click on to avoid doing any work – they all get added to the blacklist.

Of course the Smartphone is still around but I usually use that when commuting and want to mentally escape rush-hour crowds by skimming RSS blog feeds and tweets from persons of interest.

On one of these ‘work breaks’ I visited a LinkedIn IT Marketing group and became intrigued by this page from VansonBourne, a UK-based ‘intelligent market research’ company. In my line of work it’s always useful to learn more about both the buyers and sellers of B2B IT products and services.

VansonBourne’s 2010 and 2013 market research into the opinions of Purchasers on the buying cycle in a social media world are intriguing. I can understand how this group would want to learn more about multiple vendors’ offerings without contacting the account reps until they’re ready to. (Then again, many large customers are assigned account reps whose job it is to gather news of pending projects and upgrades etc.)

However, what continues to surprise me is why any corporate purchaser of IT stuff would willingly share their ‘secrets’ (and by implication, air an occasional and unfortunate piece of dirty laundry) via social media channels unless they were assured of anonymity. Think of the ‘career limiting’ implications should a competitor learn of your problems with a particular router vendor’s kit, or how much list price discount you managed to wangle.  But if your identify is hidden then where’s the value to anyone listening in on the conversation?

Now, I could be wrong <grin>. But if anyone knows the twitter/LI/FB handles of purchasers “spilling their guts” about all those b2b computer networking purchases, then do get in touch…

And if  social media’s a potential legal and competitive disadvantage minefield  to purchasers, imagine how the poor vendors must be feeling. So little signal hidden within so much noise. Add in yearly reductions to many marketing communications’ budgets and there’s a problem crying out to be measured and defined.


Enter the wonderful world of social media marketing analytics.

This is a marketing speciality that VansonBourne noted will be of great interest to vendors aiming to have top-class marketing teams working with real world data.

I can see how people skilled in analytics, especially in how social media data signals/waves are measured and interpreted, will be of great value to the “do more with less” corporate marketing mantras.

However, the ‘problem’ of what information to create, and in what forms, and via what distribution platforms, has become like the Greek myth of Hydra. For every head loped off the ancient serpent, two more grew back. What if the rapid growth (and decline) of social media tools and their marketing memes continues to twist and turn for many years to come?

For example, will YouTube, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter be around in ten (or even in five) years from now? Will online privacy go the way of the dodo? Perhaps artificial intelligence (AI) will advance so rapidly that vendors will assign one per prospect. Your (wearable?) smartphone becomes a marketing maven when you need it, serving up content snippets mined from your interests and those of similar customers.

A brave new world of marketing science awaits.

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About the Author

Author: Mark McClure – A freelance b2b case study and white paper writer to the computer networking industry. Based in Tokyo, Japan. About the ‘Samurai Writer’.

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