Going from B2B to B2C

An excerpt from my latest blog post on Highly Relevant:

Social media is an extremely important customer acquisition tool for B2C companies, and its importance for B2B is not far behind. According to a recent study, 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer specifically through Facebook.

While all social networks are important, a few stand out: Facebook, on average, produces 30 times more customers to an ecommerce site than Twitter, and for B2B brands, LinkedIn accounts for 64% of all visits to corporate websites. The numbers speak to the fact that social media has given brands a viable platform to drive traffic to their sites, which brings up another key component of marketing today: ecommerce websites themselves.

B2C companies need a strong e-commerce site to succeed, and in recent years, B2B companies have begun to follow suit. In a global survey of 400 B2B companies, as many as 92% were already online. Due to the increase in activity in the online marketplace, these B2B brands are realizing the importance of search engine marketing and the optimization of their websites, especially for mobile devices.

Why it makes sense to invest in B2C as a B2B

If B2B companies are already investing in a strong web design, SEO, and perhaps even PPC, it makes sense to use those same channels to sell directly to the consumer as well. After all, every B2B customer is also a B2C customer (because businesses are people, too).

By selling directly to consumers and getting their feedback, B2B companies can learn the best strategies for marketing their products and, in turn, selling to large companies via ecommerce marketplaces. Everything from web design to shipping issues can be solved in the B2C space to better optimize the buyer experience in the B2B arena.

Another economic advantage that B2C for a B2B provides is the creation of brand loyalty among consumers through direct interaction. Once a brand has loyal followers, it’s easier to raise prices on the B2C side—something not as easily done on the B2B side. Therefore, there are potentially stronger profits to be made on the B2C side long-term after a strong following amongst consumers has been built.

Expanding to the B2C space is a natural progression for a B2B company that helps them learn the ecommerce space, develop brand loyalty, and create a supplemental revenue flow from a new consumer base.

Check out the full post on why B2B companies should go B2C: http://www.highlyrelevant.com/road-from-b2b-to-b

Why Google + Matters

My Google + Profile Let me start off by saying I know most people, especially young people are not on Google +, and I get that. However, I feel people overlook the importance and potential of this social platform. It took a really long time for me to understand the benefit of Google +, besides the fact that it felt less saturated that other social networks with cluttered advertising and posts from friends I found irrelevant. The Google + network has 396 active monthly users , which is significant but far from the 1.1 billion plus active monthly users on Facebook.

Understanding Google + 

I often explain Google + as a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter. Google +’s layout mirrors Facebook, though it is considerably less cluttered. The Circles feature which allow you to group friends, coworkers, and family separately reminds me of TweetDeck, a free tool to monitor twitter  activity. Obviously the ease of searching on Google + resembles the Google search engine.

As a social media user ,with many accounts, what’s the benefit of using yet another network that is arguably a hybrid of two of the major ones I already use?

An answer, in short: Google Authorship. It’s the one feature of Google + I think it is slowly going to become very important. It allows you to claim authorship over your content scattered around the web. The more content that is traced back to your common name will help you build authority on the web. You are able to also link your blog posts to your Google + account so that each time someone comments on your blog post the comment will appear on Google +. Google + will then also notify you whenever your content is shared or commented on anywhere the web.Google + is optimizing content marketing. It’s giving people more control over what they create AND share.

Why Google + Will Appeal to Younger Users 

I predict that heightened level of control will appeal to younger generations. There is already some evidence of this, though indirect, in a recent story published by Mashable, written by 13 year-old Ruby Karp titled, “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook.” In the article, which created a great deal of discussion at the time of its publication, Ms. Karp cites the fact that family members constantly monitor activity on Facebook to the point younger users, such as herself, are being held accountable for posts on the social network as one deterrent from using the network. Additionally, those same family members and other adults are limiting the access to social networks such as Facebook so much so that younger generations are adapting different networks instead. Design also plays a part, Ms. Karp mentions the fact that Facebook lacks the simplicity of networks like Twitter.  Google + has the simplicity of Twitter and allows users to control which “circle” content is shared with, addressing the issues of concern with family members seeing everything on Google +.

So, will Google + be the social network of the future?  Google + will reinvent social networks, in the same way LinkedIn has, at least in my opinion. LinkedIn has created a professional social network. Google + I see more in line with LinkedIn, it will be one of those things most will need to have to establish authority on the web. So no, Google + is not the new Facebook. Facebook is Facebook, it’s informal and candid. Google + aspires to be much more than that. It’s aspires to be the hub of all our activity on the web.

Breaking Bad: A Marketing Analysis

Breaking Bad is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon at present. A television show that has captivated the nation, as friends, family and coworkers band together to try and figure out what Walter White will do next.

Working in marketing, I suppose I always have an interest in anything that captivates mass audiences, I mean isn’t that what I’m supposed to do anyway?  I may get mocked for my love of “mainstream” music, but I’ll be honest I admire an artist’s ability to go mainstream. It’s not easy pleasing everyone, and still managing to create something new. It’s really something that a single show of complete fiction can evoke such vivid emotions in people, so much that we wonder if Walter White lived on our very street, ran our local car wash, or taught us chemistry at some point in time?

Breaking Bad captivates audiences because it is incredibly real. The show depicts  OUR lives each Sunday night on the screen before us with a sick twist. And as one becomes more involved in the show, tormented as the characters time and time again struggle to survive, we vicariously ‘break bad’ though them. If a 50 year-old chemistry teacher can become a legendary drug manufacturer in less than a year, what’s stopping us from pushing the boundary in our own lives.

Walter White manages to be real enough for us to relate to, yet risky enough for us to seldom attempt to replicate. The show as a whole is also unsettling in many respects, think about the fact that one of  your local fast food restaurants could be a meth enterprise?

But in all honesty, don’t most of us hope that a real Walter White does exist? We all love seeing a regular guy succeed, of course only when he is motivated by  extradordinary circumstances. What fascinates me is why we don’t perceive Walter White as the criminal he truly is at the end of the day. One might argue it’s because we know him,  we have an emotional connection. That’s a great point.

Hank though, despite his two decade long-relationship with Walt feels no sympathy in trying to bring Walt to justice. So why do we knowing Walt for considerably less time feel more for him than his own brother-in-law?  Especially considering all the crime shows the average American watches, wouldn’t it make more sense for us to identify with Hank as a detective?

I theorize it’s because the average American viewer respects Walt’s sheer genius. Sure his ability to cook is one thing, but his ability to build his drug empire fascinating to watch. I’m also willing to bet a lot of people like Gus Fring, probably because he was a briliant businessman and criminal. Gus and Walt share the same good intention. Walt wants to provide for his family, and Gus wants to bring his friend’s killers to justice (which according to him is murder). Does the end justify the means? In the minds of Americans, at least for Walt, it does. And as he breaks all the rules to do so, as viewers we become more and more impressed with him.

In Walt’s case the means overpower the endgame. I can conclude thus far that the reason this series is so successful is the fact that the audience is able to like someone so bad, so taboo. The show draws viewers in with a relatively good man as he develops though the viewer sees the logical progression. So even as bad as Walter becomes because the audience understands why he did what he did, they are able to root for him. He is a man who uncovers his hidden potential he’s had all this time. He’s a man with a dream that was crushed by a failed business endeavor previously and he found a way to gain fame and fortune decades later. Breaking Bad is the American Dream, Americans love the American Dream.

The real question now is will this American Dream  become a nightmare?