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Social Media In Business – the future is now January 10, 2012

Posted by Rob Savette in Channel Sales Impact, General, Marketing, Technology.
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2012 has arrived and, as with all new years, it brings in the promise of the future as well as reflections on the past. When this happens we tend to get caught up in the line items – caught up in looking at specific things that did, or did not, happen. Don’t get me wrong – I love this level of accountability, and I think we are all the better for it. In fact, I find it so valuable I do it myself every year. However, in this post I’d like to take a brief moment to make a comment about the larger trend, it’s an obvious one, but an important one none the less. Social media in business is no longer coming soon, and it’s no longer about to explode – it is here and because it is here the market is going to go through a huge shift. I can’t help but shake my head every time I see someone publish data about how the growth of social media in business is slowing down and then draw the conclusion that it is not the market it once was. If you take a closer look at the numbers it rapidly becomes clear that the growth of the market isn’t slowing because companies are losing interest, it’s because they are already there. It’s easy to have eye-popping growth when a market is in its infancy but once it’s up and running those growth numbers inherently slow down. I believe the reason we are seeing some slowing in the adoption rate of social media in business is because the market is moving into a new phase – it’s tool time.

Social get’s results – we can argue about what kind of results and we can argue about measuring those results, but it’s pretty apparent that social media can have a huge impact on your business. What will that impact be? The question is, what do you want it to be? The answer will depend on several key questions you have to ask yourself about your market, customers, culture and objectives. Currently there are many powerful tools on the market that can help you pursue, and hopefully achieve, your objectives and there are many more coming to market everyday. It’s hard to keep up with the flow of new things to look at – but that’s because the market has arrived and now it’s time to carefully select the products and services that will allow you to achieve your goals. So we’re back to an age old question – what do you want to do? The clearer you are with the answer to that question the more successful you will be in finding the products and services that deliver results that matter. But be careful – it’s easy to say ‘I want to grow sales’ or ‘I want to have a million customers’ but you won’t find tools that speak to those results. Your mission is to answer the question ‘how do I get from where I am today to where I’d like to be tomorrow?’. In other words, you’ll still be asking yourself the same questions you always have, however now you’ll be shopping for social media tools to help you get there.

Partner programs coming soon to a Facebook Page near you February 22, 2011

Posted by Graham Sumioka in Branding, Channel Sales Impact, Channel Trends, Marketing, Technology.
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A couple of weeks ago Facebook made some very interesting updates to Pages. If you manage a page for your company you have no doubt noticed that the look and feel resembles your personal one, but this is nothing compared to two changes that set the stage for significant b2b interaction.

You can now interact on Facebook as an entity (assuming you are an admin for the Page), and as of March 11 of this year Facebook will require you to use an iframe if you wish to create a custom tab. A company Facebook Page will now be a window to rich and dynamic content hosted directly by the company itself.

E-commerce is of course the juggernaut Facebook is wooing with this move, but partner program portals are obvious candidates to make the jump as well. Currently, company specific partner portals operate as mini networks found through links scattered in random places on websites. Along with great content they need traffic and engagement to continue to live and grow. Time, attention spans, password retention, etc. are all things that can prevent company partner portals from thriving these days.

Enter the recent Facebook changes. Now those companies (and their content filled partner portals) have access to all of the traffic and engagement they can handle with the 500 million plus active users on Facebook. It may not be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but at least you know where the barrel is (and psst – it’s really full). If you could interact with a company in exactly the same way on their Facebook page would you do that over going to their dedicated website?

Channel programs for really small partners January 10, 2011

Posted by Graham Sumioka in Channel Sales Impact.
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Here’s a tough one for which I don’t want to imply there is even a conclusive answer:  What can you do to drive your marketing through the smallest of breadth partners?  Let’s say a component of your channel is hundreds of partners that each have no more than a handful of employees.  BuildingFurther, let’s say you pretty much have no relationship with them and know nothing more than their contact information.  Is there anything you can do to impact sales through them?

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Field vs. channel marketing…never the twain shall meet? November 10, 2010

Posted by Graham Sumioka in Channel Sales Impact.
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We often see prospective customers torn between whether they should invest in field marketing or channel marketing. For some the situation is “I’m doing one or the other” while others are trying to decide on the allocation to give to each. The former may seem extreme to you but perhaps you see the latter as a legitimate tradeoff to work through. Is it? (more…)

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