It’s a pretty well known fact that B2B marketers have been slower on the adoption curve of social media. We are not breaking news here at all. What’s always of interest though is the degree to which these two groups are separated and the reasons for this gap existing.
eMarketer and White Horse, a digital marketing agency, have done some work in this area and found that it could be as simple as the degree of executive level ‘buy in’ for social media that is responsible for the B2C space being much more receptive to social media as a true marketing / advertising / PR play. One third of the respondents for B2B claimed low executive level acceptance while that only happened 9% of the time for B2C.
Below is a chart showing the differences, and surprisingly, the similarities to these two spaces regarding social media. The biggest difference being that 45% of the B2B crew say they have a presence but do nothing with it vs. 26% of the B2C bunch.
Another area of interest is that of perception as to the relevance of social media. Looks like there are a lot of naysayers in the B2B camp.
Fully 46% of B2B respondents said social media was perceived as irrelevant to their company, while only 12% of consumer-oriented marketers had the same problem. B2Bs also reported a much greater preference for traditional marketing tactics.
I have a simple cure for this one. If you are an executive in a company and you have found yourself or someone else saying “Bah humbug! Social media isn’t relevant to our business!” you need to do this simple exercise. Stop and ask yourself “Is that an opinion or is there data to back up that notion?” If you have done nothing to prove the relevance of social media to your business other than to continue to throw a wet blanket on the idea then you need to have your head removed from a certain cavity. Your ‘opinion’ about social media could be costing your company money. If you can prove that it’s a non-player then you have made a sound decision and no one will argue.
I’m not suggesting that social media is for everyone. That’s just not true. I do believe though, that irrational fear of what social media is has led to many executives to make poor decisions regarding social media use. These are really just avoidance maneuvers because they don’t understand the space and its potential.
So what are your feelings about the B2B space and its relatively slower adoption of social media? Are social media efforts truly less effective in the B2B space or is there something preventing the discipline from gaining greater traction in the corporate world?
What’s your take?